Reflections of the Spirit


 Comments at the Wedding of D____ and P___ C___

Good afternoon everyone!

My name is Gerald Regnitter.

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 years earlier.

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 and God.
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 us.

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 can see.

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 journey.

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.

Thank you,

Gerald Regnitter

August 27, 2005


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