‘Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is strong as Death, jealously relentless as Sheol. The flash of it is a flash of fire, a flame of Yahweh himself. Love no flood can quench, no torrents drown’ (Song of Songs 8:7).
The fire of love is ‘a flame of the Lord himself’. Every human person was created by the God of infinite love, not only to be loved but to live with that fire of love for others. As St Thérèse of Lisieux put it, ‘My vocation is love!’ The sacrament of marriage, above all else, is the fruit of love between a man and a woman, and the context in which their calling to love, faithfully and without reserve, finds its anchor and expression. This love, and the blossoming of family life that comes with it, is intended by God to be a reflection of His inner life, an image of His creative love.
As a sacrament, however, it becomes so much more. It is a path of holiness, a genuine means by which Christ gives us the grace to live out the journey of discipleship. It is a calling that helps quicken and deepen our love for Jesus and His Church by becoming ‘a domestic church,’ a little community of love in Christ.