Pope Francis said in his weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square today that the married couple, as man and wife, are a unique sign of the love of God in the world today. The Holy Father is continuing a series on the sacraments for his Wednesday Audiences, and today he reflected on the sacrament of Matrimony. “Married couples carry out this vocation in a full and definitive communion of life. As ‘one flesh,’ they become living icons of God’s love in our world, building up the Church in unity and fidelity,” the Holy Father explained. Holy Matrimony, as a sacrament, is an outward sign “which brings us to the very heart of God’s loving plan for the human family and introduces us to the design of God, who created man in his image, capable of loving,” said Francis.
The Pope then turned to the Augustinian theology which under-girds the Church's ideas about marriage, saying that we were made in the image of God, a Trinity of Persons. “The Triune God created us – men and women – in his image and calls us to mirror the mystery of his love,” explained the Pope, “married couples carry out this vocation in a full and definitive communion of life.” Pope Francis went on to explain that marriage builds the Church in "unity and fidelity," and that “Christian marriage also reflects the mystery of Christ’s own faithful and sacrificial love for his body, the Church.”
Pope Francis said that married couples in the Church receive graces needed to build the Body of Christ. “Christian spouses thus receive a special consecration and a special mission: to manifest in simple and daily things the love of Christ for his Church, giving themselves in fidelity and service.” Although Christian marriage is something the Pope called "a noble vocation," he was also quick to remind his listeners that being noble does not equate to being easy. “It must constantly be strengthened by a living relationship with the Lord through prayer,” reminded the Pope, “mornings and evenings, at meals, in the recitation of the Rosary, and above all through the Sunday Eucharist.”
Pope Francis also asked for prayers “for all families, especially those experiencing difficulties, so that by God’s mercy they can always be joyful models of faith, love and generous service in our communities.”