MYSTERY OF MARRIAGE
Marriage is one of seven mysteries of the Church and it is notable that only in the holy Orthodox Church are marriage ceremonies truly holy and heavenly, for they are especially blessed by God. The Lord originally instituted holy marriage when He blessed Adam and Eve, not only did He bless the first marriage, He blesses each individual marriage in His holy Church, where the man an woman are sealed by the Priest in the name of our Lord. Marriage is a mystery where a man or woman leave their beloved father and mother, and unite with someone outside of their immediate family, then having their own children form a completely new family. Some choose to follow the path of virginity, which can also be a blessed state and remaining unmarried but they must serve God alone, and these choices are some of the many wonderful blessings with which grants to those who so desire.
Those who encourage or take part in same sex intercourse mis-naming it as being “marriage,” have placed themselves under a curse by calling fornication marriage for they insult God’s divinely formed institution of marriage which joins one man and one woman. Marriage is a mystery of love and life wherein a man and woman are blessed by God in the Church to live a happy life, and to give birth to children who are provided as fulfillment of marital blessings by God.
Christ calls himself the Bridegroom and the Church who is His Bride. Marriage to a spouse is a type of marriage and though it is delightful, marriage to Christ is a much more important and higher bond and fulfillment of love. The Lord our God who formed us and blessed us with free will, made it so that we could love and be loved, not only with and by our parents but also with a special bond of love for our chosen spouse with whom God has blessed us that we may live our lives together forever. However God loved us first and we learned about love out of His love for us, which also trains us to love good and hate evil.
In His wisdom He created us male and female with the ability to unite and become one flesh in love and marriage and consequently to bring new infantile life into the world. Loving their children and receiving their love in return instills much happiness in family lives for many years. With the grace given by God to the father and mother, who love God first and above all, then by living a good life keeping His commandments, they teach their children to behave the same way and together they all live pious lives, being loved by God and loving Him in return. Children are taught and reminded about death, both its beautiful and ugly aspects, the latter being for the wicked which is the coming fearful judgment.
Those who serve God learn of the reward of living a pure and wholesome life, to worship Him in spirit and truth. This knowledge helps them to grow from good and pious loving children to noble adulthood where they happily live in the smaller kingdom of God which we call family. Such a family obeys the laws of the secular rulers over them, and they live upright lives being honest and good citizens, knowing that God appoints the rulers according to Scripture.
Holy and blessed marriages usually endure until the end of time being firmly established on the rock which is Christ. In Orthodox marriages, Christ is the head of the family, but there is no ruthless domination but continual true love which never ends, for where Christ rules a family therein is divine love and peace. Unlike civil marriages Orthodox marriages exclusively enjoy the blessing of God which preservesand purifies them and increases love between parents and between children. For where the Spirit of God is there is truth and love that is indestructible, however if sins enters This will cause God to withdraw His blessings and He awaits repentance.
The reason why God, who rules over a holy marriage, withdraws temporarily at times because of sin, is that he desires that men to freely serve and love Him without compulsion. Even the love that God inspires into each man, may at times be withdrawn if the man allows sin to enter and pollute his soul. Man freely chooses but cannot choose both a holy life along with a sinful life. The Lord awaits repentance and when that occurs He returns with His numerous blessings. God wills for us that we be completely happy and holy, but we also must will the same thing for ourselves. The Lord’s prayer says: “Thy will be done”. We all must subdue our own sinful wills to God’s will. and live according to His holy and perfect will which makes us happy and leads to everlasting life.
Marriage typifies Christ as the Scripture says. “Christ so loved the Church that He descended from His heavenly Father for her – though He remained equal with Him in unity of essence and divinity – then He came down to earth and to His Church . . .” He suffered for her sake that He might, by His Blood, cleanse her from sin and from all impurity and make her worthy to be called His Bride. He warms the Church with His love, feeds her with His Blood, and enlivens, enlightens and adorns her with His Holy Spirit.
As a man is to his wife, so Christ is to the Church. Man is the head of woman, and Christ is Head of the Church. A woman obeys her husband and the Church obeys Christ. A man loves his wife as his own flesh, and Christ loves the Church as His own flesh. This is a great mystery which is partially revealed and is filled with beauty, majesty, and the wonderful wisdom of our Creator and God.