Spiritual Marriage

Jesus Christ came – that we may share His Divine Life; that we may be one with the Father as Christ and the Father are one – a divine union. Jesus came to tell us that our God has also created us to love and to be loved, as part of the preparation for the infinite loving that is our ultimate destiny. Learning to love here on earth prepares us for the ultimate love for which we all yearn in heaven. Thanks to the incarnation, “fully human-fully divine”, and because of this, human love can be suffused through and through with the divine.

Whenever I come across wedding feasts mentioned in the gospel, I am reminded of the great spiritual writers who speak about the spiritual marriage. Through the spiritual marriage, human love will be suffused through and through with the divine. St. Alphonsus Liguori says: “In the spiritual marriage, the soul is transformed into God and becomes one with Him, just as a vessel of water, when poured into the sea, is then one with it.”  At baptism we have all been called to the spiritual marriage.

Every Sunday this spiritual marriage is renewed and strengthened in Holy Communion. Every Communion that we receive reinforces our love and surcharges it with the power to continue expressing our love for God.  Spiritual marriage is not possible without total knowledge and repentance of all that is sin within us even if we are living an apparently good life. Recognition of hidden sin – in the deeper levels of the attachment of our will to unacknowledged sins – is only possible by an infusion of Divine Light.

During Baptism, at the clothing with the white garment, the celebrant says: “you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.” Yes, we are given a garment to take to the heavenly wedding. We can keep that garment unstained only through an intimate and profound union with our loving God.

Although God takes the first step and initiates this relationship, we know that every relationship involves reciprocity.
Saint Francis de Sales explains this reciprocity with an image of an infant nursing at his mother’s breast. The child learns to press himself more tightly to his mother so as to draw more nourishment, while the loving mother draws the child to herself and so helps the baby whose own feeble efforts would not be sufficient to the task. So it is with spiritual marriage: God draws the soul to nurse, and the soul uses all her might to respond.  Every day is given to us to work to keep our union with God thus to have the garment ready, clean and unstained. Let us  not delight to roam away from God saying that there is still time. Let us live everyday as the only day given to us, otherwise, we will be as Saint Francis de Sales says: “Like the bees that make less honey amid the abundance of early spring  flowers than later on, because they delight to roam about amid the general abundance, and do not pause long enough to gather the precious fruits with which they fill their comb.”

~Fr. Augusty