Marriage and the three of us

Photo: photoraya/iStock

I usually don’t turn to the last page of a book and read the ending before I read anything else. But this time I did. Here is what I found: 

There will be no faith in heaven, for we will already see; there will be no hope in heaven, for we will already possess; but there will always be love. God is Love! (Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, Three to Get Married) 

For more than a decade, my copy of Ven. Sheen’s modern Catholic spiritual classic has sat unread. I believe it was a gift from (my wife and I met on the website). Finally reading the treatise and doing more reading in general is one New Year’s resolution that I’m making for 2019.

In the spirit of self-improvement, Pope Francis wants the Church to get better about how it ministers to married couples. It’s one of the themes of his papacy: The Church needs a permanent catechumenate for the sacrament of Matrimony. In other words, as Francis told a gathering in Rome this past September, “accompaniment doesn’t end with the wedding.” (For more on this idea, see Susie Lloyd’s article from our January/February 2018 issue, “A new take on an old idea: A neocatechumenate of marriage” at 

In our January/February 2019 print issue, we address marriage on two fronts: 

  • Alexis Walkenstein expounds more on Ven. Sheen’s Three to Get Married and her own experience after finally opening the book. Alexis writes that as she read it repeatedly “and began to chew on Archbishop Sheen’s powerful words, they helped me imagine the mystery and power of this sacrament.” 
  • Nancy Flanders interviewed Catholic author Leila Miller about what she discovered from reaching out to adult children of divorced parents. While her comments are heartbreaking to read, Miller reminds us of the permanence of the sacrament and says, “There are very few marriages that won’t go through a time of serious crisis. It’s about pushing past it.” 
“The Marriage at Cana” by Gerard David (circa 1450/1460–1523). Photo: Web Gallery of Art/Public Domain

As Christians, we should find it comforting to know that the very first miracle of Jesus that St. John records in his Gospel is about marriage. We’re all familiar with The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1–12). In fact, this story is the Gospel that we’ll hear at Mass on Jan. 20. 

At the wedding, Mary informs Jesus that the newlyweds have run out of wine for their banquet and tells the servers to “do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Mary was looking out for the needs of the couple. She sought out her son for help, and he then came to their aid. Just married, the couple needed God to get through a difficult situation. 

What a powerful lesson for all married couples! Indeed, it does take three to get married. And to stay married. 

You are in my prayers, 


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