The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament (Code of Canon Law, 1055).
Christians see the presence of God in the union of husband and wife. Human love between a man and a woman who marry stands as a symbol of God’s love for the human race and the human race’s love for God. That is why this sacred moment of marriage is celebrated within a community of believers. Each sacrament has its own sign or symbol. In marriage, the couple is the sign of the sacrament. “It is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1623).
The whole Church is also strengthened by the sacrament couples become: Jesus “himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage.” “It is by following Christ and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to ‘receive’ the meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1615).
Therefore the entire community, especially those in attendance at the wedding celebration itself, rejoices in the lifetime commitment that is made in the sacrament of marriage.