Bishop Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles
Trinity Sunday 2017
Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Lake Charles, Louisiana

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”   John 3:17

Marriage is beautiful. Often I hear someone point out how beautiful a certain couple are in their marriage. It is almost as though the couple were like an old-master painting in a museum or a finely carved sculpture in a public square. There is something balanced, refined, proportionate, and timeless in what they represent and who they are.  

The Catholic Church is perhaps one of the only institutions left in our society today that defends the beauty of married life.    As Jesus tells us in the Gospel, it all begins with Adam and Eve (e.g. Matthew 19:4).    They are the summit of His Creation.  They are made in His image.   “The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1603).    “God who created man out of love also calls him to love—the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.   For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love” (CCC, #1604).   

We speak of the couple both complimenting one another and completing one another.   This is especially true of Christian marriage.   The Catholic Church teaches us that the union between husband and wife is like the union between Christ and His Church (cf. Ephesians 5).  God wills the Church into being for a purpose.  Simply there is no Church without Christ, and God uses this mystical union between His Son and His Bride, the Church (cf. Revelation 21), to bring His salvation into the world.     

Christian married couples share in this work.   They do this primarily by passing on the truths of the faith to their children.      The teachings of the Catholic Church, articulated at the Second Vatican Council and coming from the Sacred Scriptures, issue the valuable reminder that Christian marriage “… is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of the offspring” (CCC, #1601, cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48) (6).    The couple create, as it were, a domestic Church in their home, reflecting the teachings of Jesus Christ, His call to holiness, the internal discipline of God’s law, both natural and revealed, and the loving Trinitarian life of the God who seeks not to condemn the world but to save it (cf. John 3:17). 

Of course, we know that human relationships in marriage can experience the painfulness of sin.   But all is never lost.  “To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them” (CCC, #1608) (8).   Without this help man and woman will always fall short of the mark, and for this reason the life of faith is so important.  

If marriage is like a work of art, then it needs restoration.   If God has called a couple to marriage, then like a fine artist He can do what a craftsman does.   I recall a specialist skilled in art restoration once say that there are three objectives for restoration:  1) to preserve the original, 2) to stop deterioration, and 3) to enhance what the art work communicates to us.    Isn’t the same true of marriage?    In preserving the marriage, we want the original goodness to remain.   We want to stop what would make it less than what it should be.  And we want the marriage to continue to speak of God’s love as reflected in the lives of two human beings, male and female, who represent sacramentally for us the union of Christ with His Church.

Thank you!   Thank all of you who have so beautifully lived your marriage in fidelity and perseverance.   May God continue to allow you, like a fine work of art, to reflect something of His beauty, truth and love to the world.