This weekend I had the privilege of being in a dear friend's wedding party. I wanted to write about the beauty of a traditional wedding ceremony and the Nuptial Mass. I have been to a few, but not in a couple years and this time I was really struck by the beautiful prayer that is recited for the new couple. Here is part of it:
"O God, who, by so excellent a mystery hast consecrated the union of man and wife, as to foreshadow in this nuptial bond the union of Christ with His Church: O God, by whom Woman is joined to Man, and the partnership, ordained from the beginning, is endowed with such blessing, that it alone was not withdrawn either by the punishment of original sin, or by the sentence of the flood: graciously look upon this Thy handmaid, who, about to be joined in wedlock, seeks Thy defense and protection."
There are so many beautiful blessings given to the bride and groom to set out on their new life together, and this particular blessing stands out to me that marriage is something so sacred that it has endured throughout the ages as established by God . . . and because of that fact God defends and protects the couple who seek to establish their marriage in Him, that it may reflect His love of the Church.
The witness of the gift of the bride and groom to each other, and ultimately their gift to God, should inspire us that a loving sacrificial commitment for life is an example to us all that holiness is achieved by a daily commitment to die to ourselves. It is so moving to experience the exchange of vows, and then even more so to watch the new married couple attend their first Mass together, the Nuptial Mass, one that is specifically designed to pray that the two become saints. May God bless my dear friends and all those preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony!