The Holy Matrimony was instituted by God when Adam was created. He formed Eve as his helper and blessed their union. This is evident in Genesis 1:28 which states that "Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth." As such, God manifests himself his will to us that marriage is for one man and one woman, thus appropriate to reproduce and propagate the human race. Furthermore, God willed that man and wife should be faithful to one another and be in a stable union (Church).According to Genesis 2:24, God commanded that "Man shall leave his parents and cling to his wife and they become one and later Christ adds that "What God has put together, let no man put asunder" (Mathew 19:6). This long-lasting union is a means of holiness for married couples.
When the church teaches marriage, it is done in a way that details the representation of the institution in the context of man's relationship with God. For instance, the Catholic Church teaches that marriage between two persons is a sacred ceremony (Gilbert). It goes ahead to note that it is indeed a sacrament does represent the relationship that man has with God which is often detailed in the sacrament. The sacrament is an expression of an unbreakable bond between God and mankind is supposed to be reflected in marriage. Just as it is with another sacrament, there is a direct relationship between marriage, sacrament and Jesus Christ. In this case, the sacrament of marriage is expected to expound more on the character of Jesus Christ. To a great extent, the love of Christ is detailed in the sacrament (Welch and Perry 320).
In the context of the canons of the New Testament, the sacrament of marriage is detailed to a great extent. Jesus was very clear on the same and started by discussing the betrothal to marriage. The ceremony which involved the making of merry in a large banquet would last for days (Marchese). After the ceremony, the bride would then be escorted to the new home. From another point of view, the marriage between the two parties was a contractual agreement between their fathers (Marchese). The seriousness of the institution of marriage is detailed in the intended stay of the partners in the institution.
According to the teachings of Jesus, the institution of marriage was a lifetime bond that was not to be broken (Welch and Perry 314). The only time that separation between the parties was to be allowed was when death occurred. In Mark 10:2-6, the Pharisees probe Jesus on the matter concerning divorce. In this context, the Pharisees determined that they would trip Jesus. In their question, they deferred Jesus to the undertaking of Moses. In response, Jesus discussed the reasons for Moses' actions. He noted that Moses' reaction to the situation was because the people had refused to follow the will of God. In other words, Moses was not formulating the law rather was conceding to circumstances.
The rite of Marriage rejoices in the human capacity for love and complete devotion. This sacrament also serves as a witness to Jesus's love for humanity. It encompasses all facets of life: physical, mental, and spiritual (Schillebeeckx).While starting with a wedding service in God's presence, man and wife continue to represent the sacrament of marriage whenever they offer themselves in the service of other people and the community at large community. Therefore, marriage is an enduring sacrament. Should the union be blessed with kids, the God's grace is there to strengthen the duo as parents as well.
In a sacramental marriage, the love of God becomes present to the husband and wife in their total union and flows through them to the community. By their faithful giving to each other, represented in sexual intercourse, the pair reveals an aspect of God's everlasting love (Welch and Perry 315). The rite of Christian marriage includes their whole life as they journey together through the good and bad times and become freer to give and receive from each other. Their union becomes sacramental to the point that the couple cooperates with God's plan in their lives and sees themselves as living in Christ Jesus.
When one is sick, it is often a time of loneliness and isolation. As such, the Holy Unction reminds us that when we are experiencing pain, be it physical or spiritual, Jesus is present in us through the church ministry. He resides within us to give us the strength to face the hardships of life. St. James describes this sacrament in the Holy Book. He says, "If anyone among you is ill, let him call the church leaders and let them pray for him and anoint him in the name of the Lord; and the sick man will be saved, the Lord will raise him up and he will be forgiven( James 5:14-15) (Antiochian Orthodox). From the text, it is evident that this Sacrament serves two purposes-healing and forgiveness of sins. As such, Gods will and not man's prevails in all circumstances.
The Holy Unction normally takes place on Wednesdays evening during the Holy Week. The anointing of the sick for purposes of healing can be done at any time in the year, when necessary. Also, extreme Unction is done any time of the year. The anointing oil is mainly olive oil. In this regard, oil is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures one hundred and eighty-seven times. "Anoint," the keyword is mentioned one hundred and fifty-seven times, and healing, using a combination of keywords: heal, cured, cleaned and cast out, is mentioned also mention one hundred and fifty-seven times in the New Testament only. To a certain extent, anointing with oil is pretty standard throughout the Bible. Today, we can find the same grace and healing bestowed upon the Apostles by being anointed by an ordained, Priest.
Interestingly, the Holy Unction can be traced back to the New Testament. Interestingly, the New Testament focuses on the Spirit to a great extent. Since the Holy Unction focuses on the healing of the spirit, it is highly associated with the New Testament. On the other hand, since Jesus focused on the healing of the body and the spirit. He indicated that there was a connection between sickness and sin (Plesca and Gheorghe). The bible is evident in the aspect of sickness being as a result of sin. On the same note, it issues remedies to the issue which is mainly is the repentance of the sick subject. The sick person should repent honestly and return to the ways of the Lord. Often, such persons would receive their healing.
The process of healing as detailed in the Holy Unction sheds more light on how God wants to relate to his children. In the Old Testament, there are times when God came forth as being a mean God and at times too harsh towards his people. In the New Testament, the situation was reversed. Seemingly, God came across as one that is caring and more inclined towards the restoration and healing of his children. The oil that is used in the ritual is considered to be holy and a representation of God's Grace which is detailed in the New Testament. This oil is bestowed with the power to restore the health of the body as well as the cleansing of the spirit (Plesca and Gheorghe).
Overall, the primary aim of the sacraments is to bring human beings closer to God and the building of the body of Christ with the intention of offering better worship to God. Moreover, they also have a teaching function. Not only do they presuppose our faith, but by words and actions, they also nourish and strengthen our faith. The sacraments teach us to be gracious, and the act of practicing them disposes of the faithful to receive grace and practice charity. As Christian, worship is an integral part of our lives. When we engage with God through prayer, we form the Church, and our sacraments are of utmost importance while we are gathered. In that capacity, the first step to salvation is bridging the gap separating God and man. By means of the Church, Christ makes his grace sufficient for all. As indicted and enacted in the New Testament, the sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Unction are critical and an expression of how God relates with his people.
Antiochian Orthodox. Holy Unction. n.d. http://www.antiochianarch.org.au/Holy-Unction.aspx.
Gilbert, Leonardo. "Holy Matrimony: Reclaiming The Sanctity of Marriage In An Immoral Divorce Culture." (2016).
Marchese, Veronica Leandra. Wholeness and holiness in marriage: The Catholic sacrament of matrimony as a container for individuation. Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015.
Plesca, G., and A. M. Gheorghe. "Healing Effect Of The Act Of Holy Anointing Oil In The Ritual Of Holy Unction." Sgem2014 Conference On Anthropology, Archaeology, History And Philosophy. Vol. 1. No. SGEM2014 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-29-2/ISSN 2367-5659, September 1-9, 2014, Vol. 1, 757-764 pp. STEF92 Technology, 2014.
Schillebeeckx, Edward. Christ, the Sacrament of the Encounter with God. Rowman & Littlefield, 1963. Print.
Welch, Lawrence J., and Perry Cahall. "An Examination of the Role of Faith in Matrimonial Consent and the Consequences for the Sacrament of Marriage." Nova et vetera 16.1 (2018): 311-342.
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