Mystery of Crowning (Marriage)
The mystery of crowning (marriage) is when a man and a woman are wedded to each other. In marriage it is the solemn and public life-long commitment of the bride and the groom that becomes the occasion for divine presence. St. Paul teaches that the love of a man and woman in marriage is the manifestation of the love of Christ for His people, the Church.
The Marriage Covenant
The bride and groom each declare publicly their commitment to each other. After their exchange of vows and with their hands joined, the priest offers a blessing in the name of the Church. He declares that the bride and groom are joined in marriage in the name of the Trinity. The blessing then develops the biblical theme of covenant. It understands covenant as a solemn and abiding pledge. It recalls the covenant by which God created the heavens and the earth, and the covenants between Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, and Rachel and Jacob -- that nothing shall separate them but death.
Giving of Rings
In the blessing of the wedding rings, the priest prays that these rings represent the seal and protection of Christ in whose image the bride and groom are. It prays that the rings be "a wall of protection for their bodies, and shield them from all harm". The rings are then placed on the fingers of the groom and bride.
Marriage symbolizes fertility and the exuberance of God's creation. Flowers and wearing flowers as a crown are an ancient practice. In the context of Christian marriage, crowning can be seen to represent Christ and His kingdom. Just as the groom and the bride symbolize Christ and His Church, so they also represent the kingship of Christ and His kingdom.
The mystery of marriage teaches us that human love and the full range of love between husband and wife has a sacred dimension. Love that seeks the good of the other, to protect and support the other, love that perseveres, love that is never withheld or compromised, love that is loyal and never betrays, love that is unselfish discloses to the one committed to that love the mystery and presence of God Himself.