Sunday, March 11, 2012

You're My Everything: Powerful Words

Now that I had made my way up the aisle, it was time for the ceremony to officially begin.  Our priest quietly whispered if we were calm and OK to begin, which we were.  He began by welcoming all of our guests to this special ceremony.  To be honest, I don't actually remember much from this part of the wedding.  But I have a good reason!!  I was so elated to be next to Mr. Snow Cone's side again that we pretty much spent the first few minutes whispering to each other about how excited we both were and how much we loved each other.

 Photo by family friend F

During this bit of conversation, Mr. Snow Cone spied my purple pretties and was truly shocked at them.  He said they made me so rebellious!  Keep in mind, he's not an avid consumer of wedding blogs, so colored shoes were truly revolutionary to him.  It was also during this conversation that I realized that Mr. Snow Cone's friends were directly over my right shoulder.  I hadn't processed that they would be sitting right there, so I was really excited to put it together and see them.

However, once we got into the real meat of the ceremony, we settled down and paid attention.

Above two photos by my brother P
The first reading was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which our dear friend J1 read.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Next, our cantor K lead the congregation in the Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 128, "Blest Are Those Who Love You."

Response: Blest are those who love you,
Happy those who follow you,
Blest are those who seek you, O God.

Happy all those who fear the Lord,
and walk in God's pathway;
you will find what you long for:
the riches of our God. Response.

Your spouse shall be like a fruitful vine
in the midst of your home,
your children flourish like olive plants
rejoicing at your table.  Response.

May the blessing of God be yours
all the days of your life,
may the peace and the love of God
live always in your heart.  Response.
 Our other dear friend J2 read the second reading, Colossians 3:12-17.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
Finally, our priest read the Gospel, Matthew 7:21, 24-29.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.

And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.
 After the reading, the priest provided some perspective on love and marriage... by referencing Auschwitz.  Yes, that's right, the homily at our nuptial mass was centered around a concentration camp.

Now, hear me out.  I, probably like you, was more than mildly aghast when the Holocaust made an appearance in the homily.  Thankfully, as soon as the priest mentioned Auschwitz, he followed up with something to the effect of "I'm sure most of you are thinking, 'Rreally?  A concentration camp?'"  That little extra "I get this sounds weird, just go with it" sentiment set everyone at ease, and rightfully so.  The homily developed into a beautiful narrative about the importance of love that Viktor Frankl describes in his book Man's Search for Meaning, detailing his psychological ups and downs while held prisoner at Auschwitz.  While suffering the horrors that we all associate with concentration camps, Viktor came to the following realization:
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."

At the conclusion of his homily, the priest gave us simple directives to guide us in our marriage.
"Miss Snow Cone, help make Mr. Snow Cone the man he is supposed to be.  Not the man you want him to be, but the man he is supposed to be.  Mr. Snow Cone, help make Miss Snow Cone the woman she is supposed to be.  Not the woman you want her to be, but the woman she is supposed to be."
With that piece of advice delivered, it was officially time for us to step up to the altar and say the most important words of the entire day - our vows.

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber unless otherwise noted

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