the Wedding of D____ and P___ C___
Good afternoon everyone!
My name is Gerald
On behalf of J____
and R______ and L___ and J____, I welcome you to the celebration of
the marriage of their children P___ and D____.
I was asked to share
a few thoughts on this special day. Someone must have thought that
my advancing years had given me a few insights worth sharing on a day
like this. I warn you in advance, that person may have been wrong.
Weddings are about
a lot of planning, attention to a lot of details, taking care of guests,
hoping for good weather and planning for the worst, and a lot of things
that add stress and distract us from what we are really celebrating
today. But now we have come to the time when we are going to focus
on things of the spirit.
Growing up in a Catholic
home and studying Catholic theology gave me many opportunities to consider
what is meant by “matter” and “spirit.” Not
too long ago I came across a distinction I wish I had learned many
We can tell the difference
between material and spiritual things by this simple test; material
things cast shadows when they are placed in the light, and spiritual
things have no shadows, and instead, give off their own light.
Think about this
simple distinction for a moment. We are obviously surrounded by material
beings and we are material beings. We also stand in the presence of
a life and light giver, the sun. After so many days of cloud and rain
we delight in its presence to us. Our religious understandings tell
us that the sun was created by our God to bring warmth and to sustain
all life on this earth. It is a gift of the Great Spirit, our Creator
If the sun was taken away, darkness and cold would destroy all life on this
earth. All who connect to this forest land know, deep within our hearts and
deep within our guts, that , like the earth itself, we need the continuing
support and life-giving spiritual energy of our God every moment of our existence.
Perhaps it is a reflection of our material natures that we seem to forget this
spiritual connection some times.
Like the sun, spiritual
beings bring light and life, and cast no shadows when they are present.
What is true of material and spiritual beings is also true of material
and spiritual relationships.
P___ and D____, you
are both material and spiritual beings and your relationship with each
other is also of both kinds. Think about it. The young, vibrant, material
bodies you give to each other in love will change and get old. If the
only thing that you have to give to each other is a material sharing,
your relationship will change and will not survive those changes. Only
if your deepest relationship is of the spirit will your marriage and
your love flourish and be fruitful.
Unlike material gifts
which diminish or get used up, Spiritual gifts grow when they are given
away. If we try to hang on to them, they will shrivel and die within
Spiritual gifts cast
no shadows but bring light into the lives of those to whom they are
given. They are also what makes the giver of the gift holy, and more
like the God whose life is being shared in those gifts.
As a Catholic I have
always understood that the sacrament of marriage was a spiritual gift
that one person bestowed on the other. Sacraments are special holy
actions that let us share more fully in the life of our God. The priest
and the congregation were only there to be witnesses to what was happening
between the couple and God.
The general culture of our world is very materialistic and denies or ignores
the spiritual. That makes it hard for young couples like you to learn how
to continue to grow in the spiritual part of your relationship. Even when
you give material things to each other, make sure that it is always accompanied
by the spiritual gift of love, and then the gift and the giver both grow.
D___ and P___, even
as I ask you to look on the sun as a great, life-giving spiritual gift
from our God, I am going to ask each of you to commit yourself to be
like the moon.
The moon, without
the power of the sun shining on it would only be a cold and dark object
in space. The moon would have no light to share with the earth. When
the sun shines on the moon wonderful things happen. Some of that light
comes into the dark side of the earth and those who walk in the night
When the moon is
doing its job it is not aware of what is happening. That is how the
two of you are to be to each other. (That is how all of us are to be
to each other.) We are to be a reflection of the light and life of
God to others. Don’t think too much about it, just let it happen
always. Just let the love and life that God brings to you bounce off
you, and bring light and warmth into the human darkness of your partner.
P___ and D____, when
you let that happen in your relationship, you will see your spouse
lit with the love of God, and what you see, will always be beautiful.
Your partner will not diminish or change, or get old and wrinkled.
When the moon looks onto the land of planet earth, it sees the beauty
of the earth even during its night time. P___ and D____, be the moon
for each other, always. Let the love you share be the life of God that
lights your human darkness and which keeps you from stumbling in deep
shadows. Never move away from the light that God brings to you. Then
you will always be beautiful in each other’s eyes.P___and D___
have already established a deep and sustaining love with each other,
and they did not need to call the rest of us together to make that
happen. When they invite us to share this day of their public commitment
to each other, they seek from us an essential support for what they
have begun together. They know we are all connected, and that we need
the support of all who love us. We need the light and life of God coming
from all of our companions and family to be part of the light that
shines into darkness and supports us in our relationships and on our
D___ and P___, on
behalf of your families and on behalf of all your friends gathered
today, we promise you that we will be there for you and we call on
you to live your lives in a way that will inspire us to also grow in
our love. That is the beauty and power of a day such as today. Thank
you for asking us to be here to share it with you.
August 27, 2005