“The Sacraments are not just medicine; they are more like the hospital itself – a place of healing and renewal… So too in marriage, there is a sacramental bond that can encompass all of one’s life, even the most difficult and painful situations of illness, suffering, and abandonment. Forgiveness and mercy are always present, not simply as an ideal or in spite of the supposed failure of the marriage, but in and through the undying marriage bond that remains a sign and source of mercy and a real symbol of Christ’s victory over death.” (Healy, Communio [Summer 2014], p. 329)
Drawing from Pope Francis’ analogy of the Church as a field hospital, Nicholas Healy expands upon how Sacraments themselves are more than just nourishment, they are renewal and healing. Marriage, then, is not just some contractual burden formed merely to satiate the desires (physical, non-physical) but are a reflection of God’s Love, expressed in covenant. As we see in the Book of Hosea, which uses the faulty relationship between Hosea and his less-than-reputable wife Gomer as an analogy, God’s love is not broken by unfaithfulness, but draws us in to constant renewal; covenant is not broken like a legal contract, but is a institution of constant growth, healing, and renewal. It sets a framework in which we can mirror (though imperfectly) a God-like love towards the Other all while realizing more deeply how God loves use as a subject of his eternal and unfaltering Love.
Since the Summer 2014 edition of Communio discusses issues pertaining to the upcoming synod on marriage and family, the articles for this edition are all public access. The link to the article the quote is drawn from is below: