Medjugorje: - Marriage Prayer

Now let me tell you about a most beautiful tradition the Croatian people have for marriages.

In the town of Siroki-Brijeg, not one single divorce has been recorded among its 13,000 inhabitants. Not one single family has broken up in living memory. Does Herzegovina enjoy a special favor from heaven? Is there a magic formula that keeps the demon of division at bay?

The answer is very simple! For centuries, because of the pressure from the Turks and then the Communists, the people suffered cruelly as their Christian faith was always threatened. They knew through experience that salvation comes through the Cross of Christ. It does not come from disarmament plans, from humanitarian aid or peace treaties, even if these things may bring limited benefits. The source of salvation is the Cross of Christ! These people possess a wisdom that does not allow them to be duped over questions of life and death. That is why they have indissolubly linked marriage with the Cross of Christ. They have founded marriage, which brings forth human life, on the Cross, which brings forth divine life.

The Croatian marriage tradition is so beautiful that it is beginning to take hold in Europe and America!

When a young couple is preparing for marriage, they are not told that they have found the ideal partner. No! What does the priest say?

"You have found your cross. And it is a cross to be loved, to be carried, a cross not to be thrown away, but to be cherished."

In Herzegovina, the Cross represents the greatest love and the crucifix is the treasure of the home.

When the bride and groom set off for the church, they bring a crucifix with them. The priest blesses the crucifix, which takes on a central role during the exchange of vows. The bride places her right hand on the crucifix and the groom places his hand over hers. Thus the two hands are bound together on the cross. The priest covers their hands with his stole as they proclaim their vows to be faithful, according to the rites of the Church.

  Fr. Jozo Zovko explains that the bride and groom do not then kiss each other, they rather kiss the cross. They know that they are kissing the source of love. Anyone close enough to see their two hands joined over the cross understands clearly that if the husband abandons his wife or if the wife abandons her husband, they let go of the cross. And if they abandon the cross, they have nothing left. They have lost everything for they have abandoned Jesus. They have lost Jesus.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds bring the crucifix back and give it a place of honor in their home. It becomes the focal point of family prayer, for the young couple believes deeply that the family is born of the Cross. When a trouble arises, or if a conflict breaks out, it is before this cross that they will seek help. They will not go to a lawyer, they will not consult a fortune-teller or an astrologer, they will not rely on a psychologist to solve the problem. No, they will go straight before their Jesus, before the cross. They'll get on their knees there and in front of Jesus, they will weep their tears and pour out their hearts, and above all exchange their forgiveness. They will not go to sleep with a heavy heart because they will have turned to their Jesus, the only One who has the power to save.

They will teach their children to kiss the cross every day and not to go to sleep like pagans without having thanked Jesus first. As for the children, as far back as they can remember, Jesus has always been the friend of the family, respected and embraced. They say "nighty-night" to Jesus and kiss the cross.
 (As Fr. Jozo says, "They go to sleep with Jesus, not with a teddy bear!"). They know that Jesus is holding them in his arms and that there is nothing to be afraid of, and their fears melt away in their kiss to Jesus.

Dearest Gospa, please extend the blessing of this beautiful marriage to the whole family of your children!

Sr. Emmanuel February 1, 2002

This is the prayer that they use in Medjugorje while holding the Crucifix during the marriage ceremony. ............................................................................

Before_______and_______say their vows to one another, I want to bless this crucifix, which they hold as they say their vows (priest says this)

The Crucifix is the symbol of our Christian faith, ___________ and _________ will keep this crucifix as a precious memento placing it in a special place in their home. In the years ahead, hopefully this will be their place of family prayer; the place where they will bring to the Lord their sorrows and their joys, their hopes and their disappointments.

This crucifix will be a constant reminder to them that we all have to die, in order to live. _________ and __________ will have to die to their individual single ways of life, in order to come to a new life together.

This crucifix will be a sign to them that no matter what the offense, no matter what the hurt, there is forgiveness. It will be a sign that no matter how bad things get, there is hope. It will be a sign to them that
love is more important than any issue in their lives.

And so we bless this crucifix and ask that it be a blessing on the home of __________and ___________.

(After blessing the Crucifix)

I hold the base of this crucifix and bow as the representative of all of you in the Church, the Body of Christ, ___________and________, please place your hands together over the Body of Christ as you say your vows to one another.

(After saying their vows the Bride and Groom can each kiss the crucifix. It is then placed on the altar for the rest of the mass.)

For Those Who Are Already Married:....

When we tell the pilgrims what a wonderful tradition Croatians have for the sacrament of marriage, people who are already married express some sadness.  They tell us that if they had known, they would have loved to apply this tradition to their own wedding! Fortunately, with the Living God, nothing is ever too late!

Here is what we suggest to those who want to take advantage of the grace: for your wedding anniversary, ask your priest the favor of renewing your wedding promises during the parish mass, in a more or less discreet manner, according to what the priest judges appropriate. On this day, he will bless you as a couple.

 Bring a beautiful crucifix with you as the Croatians do. The priest will put it in his hand, on top of his stole, the wife will put her hand on the cross and the husband will put his hand on his spouse's hand. Then, pronounce your prayer and renew your vows to each other.

 Jesus will be the cement of your unity and your greatest friend. Your love will be grounded and anchored on His fidelity to communicate to you the Divine love He has in store for your family. Jesus will be your center, your rock and your citadel! Back home, hang up the Cross on your bedroom wall. Pray together every night in front of the Cross and, if necessary, ask each other for forgiveness. Then, no need to fear the Destroyer for, as St Paul tells us: "If God is for us, who will be against us ?!"


Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

St. Rita, our patron saint this year, is the patron saint of
parenthood, infertility, difficult marriages, abuse victims,
loneliness, widows, the sick, wounds, and impossible

mackyton said...

This post was just brilliant. I am happy that I found this wonderful post. Well, we also would like to host a grand wedding reception but are going to have wedding ceremony at the church. The reception will be held a day later at one of our favorite Chicago wedding venues.