The joy of marriage does not mean that life will always be easy. Love is not just a vague uplifting emotion that is experienced apart from the challenges and struggles and crises of human life. With Christ as our example, we note that love always carries with it some sacrifice. When St Paul speaks to us of love we recognize in his words a challenge – we must be “patient and kind”; we need to put aside boastfulness, conceitedness, selfishness and resentment. And we know from experience that this is not always easy, but we also know that any temporary happiness or satisfaction we might get from being boastful, conceited, selfish or resentful is short-lived compared to the true happiness of those who learn to excuse, to trust and to hope. And so, if marriage involves making sacrifices for each other, be reassured that this is not simply a burden, but rather the foundation of the happiness that comes from love; this is the only sort of happiness which endures.
Finally, we approach the big moment. Maria, you are entrusting yourself to Michael; Michael, you are entrusting yourself to Maria. You are making a life-long commitment of fidelity to each other, forming a bond that cannot be dissolved. This is both something solemn and joyful, and if you are feeling a little nervous I certainly wouldn’t blame you. Just bear in mind that the bond of marriage is not a bond that imprisons, but rather binds you two together in such a way that makes you both stronger, more free, and opens up new opportunities and a new adventure in your lives. Michael, from this day forth you will live your life knowing that Maria is your support. Maria, Michael will now be your strength. The joy you find in each other will help you face life and to live it to the full; the joy you find in each other will be a foretaste of the everlasting joy of heaven.
In a few brief moments, when you exchange vows, a new family will come into being. The Church rejoices in this, shares in your happiness, and promises you, through this holy sacrament, Christ’s blessing, not just today but every day you live hereafter as husband and wife.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Love is the foundation
~Fr. B celebrated his first wedding today. Here is an excerpt from his homily: