This weekend my oldest son, Michael, got married. He married his best friend and the love of his live. And we are so thrilled for them!
Due to circumstances, Michael and Frances chose a courthouse wedding. The courthouse would only allow one person to accompany them as a witness. They bestowed that wonderful honor to me!
During the sparse ceremony, many of the elements we associate with a wedding were missing — church, priest, music, flowers, a best man and maid of honor, a father to give away the bride, a room filled with family and friends.
But the essential core to a marriage was there — two people committing to a life of self-giving, self-sacrificing love to each other and the presence of our loving generous God in whom we live, move and have our being.
So alone under fluorescent lights and in front of a desk surrounded in plexiglass, Michael and Frances committed themselves to each other and to a life together. And within a few minutes, the ceremony was over.
St Paul calls the marriage between a man and a woman a mystery, a sacrament. This sacrament is living and growing. Elder Aimilianos describes this living sacrament:
“Marriage is a journey of love. It is the creation of a new human being, a new person, for as the Gospel says, ‘the two will be as one flesh’. God unites two people, and makes them one. From this union of two people, who agree to synchronize their footsteps and harmonize the beating of their hearts, a new human being emerges. Through such profound and spontaneous love, the one becomes a presence, a living reality, in the heart of the other. ‘I am married’ means that I cannot live a single day, even a few moments, without the companion of my life. My husband, my wife, is part of my being, of my flesh, of my soul. He or she complements me. He or she is the thought of my mind. He or she is the reason for which my heart beats… in marriage, it seems that two people become together. However, it’s not two but three. The man marries the woman, and the woman marries the man, but the two together also marry Christ. So three take part in the mystery, and three remain together in life.”
The living sacrament of marriage is a journey of learning to embody self-giving love and mutual submission for the good of the other person within the loving tutelage of Jesus.
And in the sterile environment of the courthouse, my son and his wife committed to a life of this kind of love. It will be a life filled with joy and laughter mixed with sorrow and pain. But each moment together will continue the emergence of this new person.
After the short ceremony, Michael and Frances walked out of the courthouse. They may have been alone inside, but outside Debbie, Cathy, Mike, Danielle, and Chris eagerly awaited them. We received them, celebrated with them, and loved on them. And we embraced this “new person” and wished them well on their new journey together.