Today one of my sons ( Anthony) served at a wedding, a Nuptial Mass, in our parish.
I sat at the back of the church, praying, reading prayers from my missal, watching, praying at mass, thoughts flowing in my mind . Thoughts about marriage of course!
The priest preached on the sacrament of matrimony, on Faith. He pointed out that Faith, Christan Faith, has everything to do with marriage, wth the life of the couple now and in the years to come.
The Nuptial Blessing
Father, by your power you have made everything out of nothing. In the beginning you created the universe and made mankind in your own likeness. You gave man the constant help of woman so that man and woman should no longer be two, but one flesh, and you teach us that what you have united may never be divided.
Father, you have made the union of man and wife so holy a mystery that it symbolizes the marriage of Christ and his Church.
Father, by your plan man and woman are united, and married life has been established as the one blessing that was not forfeited by original sin or washed away in the flood.
Look with love upon this woman, your daughter, now joined to her husband in marriage. She asks your blessing. Give her the grace of love and peace. May she always follow the example of the holy women whose praises are sung in the scriptures.
May her husband put his trust in her and recognize that she is his equal and the heir with him to the life of grace. May he always honour her and love her as Christ loves his bride, the Church.
Father, keep them always true to your commandments. Keep them faithful in marriage and let them be living examples of Christian life.
Give them the strength which comes from the gospel so that they may be witnesses of Christ to others. (Bless them with children and help them to be good parents. May they live to see their children's children.) And, after a happy old age, grant them fullness of life with the saints in the kingdom of heaven.
I was touched by the priest's emphasis on Faith in his homily. And by the line ~ May she always follow the example of the holy women whose praises are sung in the scriptures.
Holy women of the scriptures?
Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady comes to mind.
St Mary Magdalene, we celebrated her feast day recently. Alongside St Martha.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: 641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One. Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves.
The role of women, is emphasised, for me, in the Nuptial Blessing (her husband puts his trust in her) and in the reminder that women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection, a sign of our important vocation in marriage, in the world, in the Church.
Pope John Paul II echoed St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, in writing of the special role of women, of the feminine genius. And I concern myself here, with the application of this feminine genius to the vocation of marriage and motherhood. And, also, in my life, with its application in the workforce and in my volunteer work. And in all my relationships.
What do I bring to these vocations? Is there a certain element of the feminine in my response, in my actions and reactions?
Should there be?
Most definitely. If I am to emulate those holy women mentioned above.
What set them apart? Prayer, devotion, love, caring. charity, a living faith, faith in action-word-deed.
That Faith word again!
In Mulieris dignitatem I highlighted one aspect of feminine genius, that I would like to stress today: woman is endowed with a particular capacity for accepting the human being in his concrete form (cf. N. 18). Even this singular feature which prepares her for motherhood, not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually, is inherent in the plan of God who entrusted the human being to woman in an altogether special way (cf. Ibid., n. 30). The woman of course, as much as the man, must take care that her sensitivity does not succumb to the temptation to possessive selfishness, and must put it at the service of authentic love. On these conditions she gives of her best, everywhere adding a touch of generosity, tenderness, and joy of life.
3. Let us look at the Blessed Virgin's example. In the narrative of the wedding at Cana, John's Gospel offers us a vivid detail of her personality when it tells how, in the busy atmosphere of a wedding feast, she alone realized that the wine was about to run out. And to avoid the spouses' joy becoming embarrassment and awkwardness, she did not hesitate to ask Jesus for his first miracle. This is the "genius" of the woman! May Mary's thoughtful sensitivity, totally feminine and maternal, be the ideal mirror of all true femininity and motherhood! SOCIETY AND CHURCH NEED GENIUS OF WOMAN Pope John Paul II Angelus, 23 July 1995
And now this wife and mother and worker and volunteer and friend better get her you-know-what out of the chair and cook some dinner! Faith in action!