Christian Marriage


We must grow in wisdom, as Christ did, by deepening our understanding of the sacramental life through the very substance of every day.

Until there is nothing we see or touch that is not charged with wonder for us, though it is something as familiar as the bread on the table.  And there is nothing that we do, though it be no more than filling a glass with water for a child, which does not sweep the loveliness of God's sacramental plan through our thoughts, like a great wave of grace washing them clean from sin and the sorrow that is inseparable from it.

Then we can increase joy through compassion, even where there is incurable suffering, for if we even want to put on Christ's personality we shall radiate his light, and he is the light which shines in darkness, which darkness cannot overcome.

In matrimony, it is the bride and bridegroom who give one another the grace of the sacrament;  and it goes on, as they grow together in one another's love, a gradual increase of joy, which nothing, ultimately, can take away from them.  In a sense they are one another's priests, because their life is a lifelong giving and taking of Christ's life.  Everything in their lives has a quality of miracle;  all their words of compassion or forgiveness are in a sense little absolutions;  their union a communion with Christ.  Every breaking of bread at their table, a remembrance and more than a remembrance of him.

Human marriage is only a symbol, a shadow of the marriage of Christ with his Church, of the continual growing together in creative love, of the daily transformation of everything that so much as touches the hem of his garment;  and it is we who are the Church!

By our baptism we are bidden to the marriage feast where water is changed to wine.  Cana is an image of our Christ-life on earth, but Christ is not only a guest; he is the Bridegroom with whom we must rejoice, who desires for everyone who loves him "that my joy may be yours, and the measure of your joy may be filled up" (Jn 15:11).




Caryll Houselander. "Christian Marriage." excerpt from The Risen Christ (New Rochelle, NY:  Scepter Publishers, 2007).

Reproduced by kind permission of Scepter Publishers.  This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in August 2013.


Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) was a British Roman Catholic laywoman; a mystic, writer, artist, visionary and healer. Born in London in 1901, Caryll was the second of two daughters born to Willmott and Gertrude (nee Provis) Houselander. Her first book, This War is the Passion, written during World War II, launched her prolific writing career. Houselander's talents included painting and many woodcarvings. Caryll's "divinely eccentric" life was principally a devotion to contemplating Christ in all and men and women and in all life circumstances.  Maisie Ward (a friend of Caryll and author of her principal biography, Caryll Houselander; That Divine Eccentric) states, "Her message can be summed in a single sentence; we must learn to see Christ in everyone."  Msgr. Ronald Knox was quoted as saying about Caryll's writing style, " . . . she seemed to see everything for the first time and the driest of doctrinal considerations shone out like a restored picture when she finished it."  Caryll Houselander has been described as being a mystic in the tradition of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, and Teresa of Avila. She is best known for her works: A Rocking Horse Catholic, The Reed of God, The Way of the Cross, This War is the Passion, The Risen Christ, The Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, and her book of poetry The Flowering Tree.

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