St. John Paul II firmly believed that love within marriage is strengthened by the Eucharist.
After the “lovey-dovey” feelings go away in marriage, love between spouses changes into something deeper, but for many it can be a difficult time to get through. It can be tempting to turn elsewhere for love.
However, it is precisely during those rough patches in marriage that a couple needs to feed their love with the Eucharist.
St. John Paul II, in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, explains how the love between husband and wife needs to be nourished by the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is the very source of Christian marriage.The Eucharistic Sacrifice, in fact, represents Christ’s covenant of love with the Church, sealed with His blood on the Cross. In this sacrifice of the New and Eternal Covenant, Christian spouses encounter the source from which their own marriage covenant flows, is interiorly structured and continuously renewed.
Jesus loved us so much that not only did he die on the cross, he literally became food for us in the Eucharist. This example of sacrifice and desire for intimate communion remains a model for us to follow. While we will never reach the heights of such love in this life, we can at the very least mirror it in a small way within our marriages.
St. John Paul II continues by pointing out how the reception of Jesus in holy communion can feed the life of charity within our homes.
As a representation of Christ’s sacrifice of love for the Church, the Eucharist is a fountain of charity. In the Eucharistic gift of charity the Christian family finds the foundation and soul of its “communion” and its “mission”: by partaking in the Eucharistic bread, the different members of the Christian family become one body, which reveals and shares in the wider unity of the Church. Their sharing in the Body of Christ that is “given up” and in His Blood that is “shed” becomes a never-ending source of missionary and apostolic dynamism for the Christian family.
If Jesus is the source of all love, then why shouldn’t we go to him to renew our love in marriage?
We don’t always associate marital love with the love that Jesus exemplified, but St. Paul fully understood this connection as well, and wrote about it in his Letter to the Ephesians. His words remind us to love each other as Christ loves us and shows that love most fully in the Eucharist.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).