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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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  • CHAPTER IV
    • II. The Family
      • 83
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Dignity and role of Marriage

83. GodFather, Son and Holy Spirit — is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8). "The communion between God and his people finds its definitive fulfilment in Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom who loves and gives himself as the Saviour of humanity, uniting it to himself as his Body. He reveals the original truth of marriage, the truth of the ?beginning', and, freeing man from his hardness of heart, he makes man capable of realizing this truth in its entirety. This revelation reaches its definitive fullness in the gift of love which the Word of God makes to humanity in assuming a human nature, and in the sacrifice which Jesus Christ makes of himself on the Cross for his Bride, the Church. In this sacrifice there is entirely revealed that plan which God has imprinted on the humanity of man and woman since their creation (cf. Eph 5:32-33); the Marriage of baptized persons thus becomes a real symbol of that new and eternal Covenant sanctioned in the Blood of Christ".162

The mutual love of baptized spouses makes present the love of Christ for his Church. As a sign of this love of Christ, Marriage is a Sacrament of the New Covenant: "Spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross; they are for one another and for the children witnesses to the salvation in which the Sacrament makes them sharers. Of this salvation event Marriage, like every sacrament, is a memorial, actuation and prophecy".163

Marriage is therefore a state of life, a way of Christian holiness, a vocation which is meant to lead to the glorious resurrection and to the Kingdom, where "they neither marry nor are given in marriage" (Mt 22:30). Marriage thus demands an indissoluble love; thanks to this stability it can contribute effectively to the complete fulfilment of the spouses' baptismal vocation.




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