A sacrament is any visible sign of God?s invisible presence. Matrimony is a sacrament of vocation and commitment to a life of mutual love and service. In the Roman Catholic Church the institution of holy matrimony was raised to the level of a sacrament due to the origin of the divine grace that made an indissoluble union, the union of Christ with his Church as his mystical body.
The creation story in Genesis is the root of the Church?s understanding of the sacredness of marriage. ?The Lord God said: ?It is not good that a man should be alone?. ?Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh? (Genesis 2:18,24). God himself created marriage ?in the beginning?. His will ?that man should not be alone? and command to ?be fertile and multiply? (Genesis 1:28) is directly linked to the union of husband and wife.
It is also from this command that marriage in the Old Testament functions primarily for the begetting of children to preserve the husband?s clan. The Old Testament Jews considered children to be so important to marriage that not having children was something of a curse. ?Peninnah, her rival, would torment and humiliate her, because the Lord have kept her from having children? (1 Sm 1:6).
Marriage was seen and understood to be holy by the Jews because they see the goodness and the presence of God in ordinary events of daily life holy. It was also seen as a sign of the covenant of love between God and Israel, where God is the lover and Israel is his bride (Hos 3:1-5).
Much of the teaching on marriage during the first century is based from the Old Testament. For example, Jesus quotes the Old Testament in affirming the...