As I Have Loved You
Medium: Mixed Media
THE BEAUTY OF WEDDED LOVE
The human person was made in the image and likeness of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27). As we were created in God’s image, we are also called to love in His image: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
The Church is the virgin bride of Christ, her divine Groom, and Christian marriage the symbol and incarnation of Christ’s spousal love for His Church. In the Eucharist, Christ consummates His love for His bride through a physical union of two bodies: the Body of Christ, and the body of the baptized soul who receives Him into her heart with joy. He gives Himself up for her, and she responds by surrendering herself to Him.
This Eucharistic love is meant to animate every Christian marriage. As Saint Paul exhorted the first Christians: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
In this image, husband and wife unite with a kiss. The backdrop is a monstrance, unveiling the Blessed Sacrament, from which emanate the rays of Divine Mercy – a sign of the transforming love of the Holy Spirit. The human body is the monstrance of the soul. What we do with our body matters, because our actions testify to the spirit that dwells within. This is why the sexual embrace is holy, reserved for only husbands and wives in Catholic sexual morality. Through their physical union, man and wife announce with their flesh the words of Consecration: “This is my body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). With their vows, they pledge a total self-gift to one another; and with their bodies, they consummate this mutual gift, enfleshing their commitment to one other and opening it to the gift of new life.
The Body of Christ, namely, the Church, is the monstrance of the Holy Spirit, the Soul of the Church. When we love in God’s image, we unveil the Face of Christ to the world. Therefore, solid Christian marriages are the supreme vessel that exhibits the marriage between God and humankind, a marriage in which every child is welcomed and nurtured unto Christian maturity through the Word of God and the power of the sacraments. May the Holy Spirit be the Breath sustaining every marriage and family, shining forth the love of God through the love we bear to one another.