Does that sound strange to the ear? What about to your spirit? We would be remiss if we did not say that makes us say, “Hmmmm.” Well, it is exactly what is at the heart of our God… He truly does want to marry us - every one of us, both male and female.
When we hear these words, most of us who live in this world and in this culture of today’s broken society, immediately think of a worldly marriage. As Catholics of faith, this means one woman and one man who join together in the Sacrament of Matrimony to be together until death they do
part, for better or for worse. This definition barely scrapes the surface of the true definition of what God intends when He speaks of marriage; of the nuptial union of God to His people. It is a deep and extremely mysterious union which Christ desires for each of His Brides and we can look to Scripture to see just how God intends this to happen.
The Bible presents to us many beautiful connections to marriage. The Bible is literally bookended in marriage. We see clearly in the first chapter of Genesis that man is joined to woman as one flesh (Gen 2:24) and that God is the creator of marriage (Gen 3:20) when we read how Adam calls his wife, Eve. Many thousands of years prior to the establishment of governments and courts, we see that the beauty of marriage was created by God, who created it as a bond of unity and love. It is only in today’s meaning of the word marriage that we see it has been distorted, redefined and not truly understood as the pillar of our society which God originally created it to be. It’s no wonder that the rates of separation, divorce, adultery and all that corrupts marriage is at an all-time high. We do not understand the deep and God-given meaning of what it means to be a spouse.
Scripture continues to point us to this beautiful marital imagery. The marriage desire is seen throughout Scripture as God likens His people to a Bride and when she has been unfaithful to Him, He likens her to a prostitute who takes other grooms and makes an idol of herself.
“For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you,” (Is 62:5).
“I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine,” (Ez 16:8).
“On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, ‘My husband,’ and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord,” (Hos 2: 16-19).
Scripture points us to the middle of the Bible to the Song of Songs which speaks to the beauty of the Bride and the Bridegroom. This book is a deep and beautiful journey into the heart of God Who desires that we each be united to Him in the bond of matrimony. In the simplicity of our human minds, we find it so difficult to understand this concept of being wedded to the Lamb, but taking the time to pray and discern this deep theological truth will deepen our desire for God and will draw us closer to His Sacred Heart. He has created us for this reality and yet many truly do not understand the depth of this desire of our hearts. It seems incomprehensible that God would want this from me, the small and broken woman that I am. But this is reality and this is the depth of the sacrifice of God when He allows His Son to not only come as Man, but to suffer, be crucified and die upon the cross so that I can be truly wed to Him in an eternal spiritual marriage.
New Testament Scripture speaks directly to Christ as the Bridegroom. He is the One Who has given His very life for the Bride, of which we see many references. The Bride is not only each one of us, but also represents The Church, of which we are each a member, and also refers to Mary as the perfect witness to what Bride truly is. St. Paul speaks to this when he writes to the Ephesians in his letter. He references that very first chapter of Genesis when God tells us of the one flesh union and he brings this full circle in his call to becoming one with Christ in this spiritual marriage.
“For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the Church, because we are members of His body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband,” (Eph 5: 29-33).
At the conclusion of the Bible, we see in the Book of Revelation, again the marriage imagery as we are called to union with The Lamb. This beautiful imagery appears within the apocalyptic book and directly speaks to the marriage of the Lamb in Heaven when the Bride will make ready herself to be united to Him for all eternity.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready,” (Rev 19:7).
As we spend our days, months, years, whatever God has given us, here on this earth, I am encouraged and edified in this call to marriage with my Bridegroom. None of us knows truly how much time we have here to prepare our souls to meet our Bridegroom. As an earthly wife of nearly 30 years, I know that the depth of my marriage is not nearly what it will be when I am fully united to my Christly Bridegroom, but I do know that my marriage has been strengthened and my earthy bond to my husband has been sanctified knowing what it means to be truly united in the bond of marriage. While no husband or wife can be everything to his spouse, I am uplifted knowing that I truly belong to Him, my Bridegroom, who IS everything to me. He strengthens me in His perfect love so that I am able to live a holy marriage. I know that I cannot attain holiness in spite of my vocation as wife, but that I will attain this holiness to which I am called as a result of being a holy wife… each day, little by little, living out the fullness of my wifehood through Christ who gives me strength.
Copyright 2024 - Nicky Verna