by Athanasia Papadimitriou
The Sacrament Bonds between the Priest and His Wife
Two events in the life of a priest’s wife stand out:
- her wedding day, and
- the day of her husband’s ordination.
These two events in the Church form the sacramental bonds between the priest and his wife.
First, with the Sacrament of Marriage, the couple makes a commitment to each other for life. One fulfills the other:
“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman” (1 Cor 11:11).
They also make an unconditional commitment to serve God for life. This commitment forms a triangle:
Second, with the Sacrament of Ordination, the priest is ready to serve God. The priest’s wife is present to share his ministry after his ordination.
These sacramental bonds can help clergy couples live through difficult times. But sometimes, priests’ wives forget that they are married to priests. Or they forget that they made a commitment, first to God and second to their husbands, to share in their husband’s ministry. When things become difficult, some priests’ wives feel that it is impossible to continue in their marriage or share their husband’s ministry. Difficult days are like a rough sea, but the stormy waters will eventually calm down. Because God is part of the sacramental bonds holding the priest and his wife together, God will send the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom and strength to overcome the difficulties. They must be patient and keep looking up to God to ask for His help:
“The Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you'” (Lk 17:6).
God allows things to happen in our lives for reasons known only to Him. All we need to do is to pray and to say,
“Let Thy will be done.”
From A.:Papademetriou’s “Presbytera” The Life, Mission, and Service of the Priest’s Wife.” Ed. Somerset Hall Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 2004.
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