About a month ago, I was looking for something in the box in our closet that holds the remaining items from our wedding. Inside are my wedding shoes, both the pair I wore down the aisle and the Keds I switched to during the reception, the knife and server we used for the cake, extra programs, etc. It is amazing how much work and time and money and stress can go into one day, an important day, but still just one day that begins the rest of your life. I remember picking fonts for the program and candles for the favors. But I could only remember one of the readings, the second reading, because, being a solemnity, it was the only one we picked.
The first reading was from Numbers, chapter 6, verses 22-27:
The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Over the years, I've come to love this blessing more and more. I find it so wonderfully lovely it was read at our wedding.
The Psalm was Psalm 67, verses 2-3, 5-6, and 8:
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation. May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
We were certainly calling for blessings on our wedding. I don't remember if I ever realized just how much we were imploring blessings. Some would argue, 5 children in 9 years, we were heard. :)
The second reading, which we chose, was Ephesians 5:2a, 21-33:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
I love this passage. I love the parallel between Christ and His Church and the husband and his wife. I know many people bristle at this passage... that word subordinate gets to them every time. But consider for a moment what Christ did for His Church. He didn't just suffer and He didn't only die... He did both and to the extreme. He chose the most brutal, painful, horrible way He could to suffer and die so there could be no doubt of His love for His Church. But, seriously, if your spouse was as loving, tender, and self-sacrificing as Christ, who wouldn't want to be submissive to such a spouse? This passage is a calling and a challenge to both spouses. In fact, James and I each have a phrase from this passage, in Latin, engraved on the insides of our wedding rings as part of our promises to each other. This passage is a lifelong vocation to every spouse and elevates the marital bond to a divine one.
The Gospel, being during the Christmas Season and on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God was from Luke, chapter 2, verses 16-21:
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,and the infant lying in the manger.When they saw this,they made known the message that had been told them about this child.All who heard it were amazedby what had been told them by the shepherds.And Mary kept all these things,reflecting on them in her heart.Then the shepherds returned,glorifying and praising Godfor all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.It was interesting trying to tie Christmas and a wedding together and, maybe it is just me, but somehow circumcision is not something you usually want to hear about on your wedding, but this passage has a great importance that relates back to the second reading. It is through His circumcision and being named Jesus that the Incarnate God unites Himself to His people; it is, in a sense, His betrothal to His Church.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision,he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angelbefore he was conceived in the womb.
The blessing of God, Christ's love for His Church, the birth of our Savior and Mary pondering these things in her heart... I love the readings for our anniversary. There is always something I need to hear, something that speaks to me and for me to reflect on.
I'd like to do something special for our 10th wedding anniversary, but I've honestly no idea what. We don't have a lot of money to spend on trips or anything and I don't know that either of us would want to spend a lot of time away from the kids.... good thing I have a whole year to think about it. ;)
Thank you for 9 amazing year, James! I love you!
Update: James found a copy of the homily from our wedding. Here is an excerpt he posted to Facebook this morning:
"Like Mary, you have responded to this call with a resounding 'yes'! With Mary's yes, 2000 years ago, salvation came into the world as a tiny child lying in a manger. With your 'yes' today, salvation will continue to spread in the world. Marriage is your party to salvation. But God's plan for you in marriage doesn't concern just you two. As Christian spouses, you are called to go into the world and be apostles of God's truth and love. How desperately this witness is needed today. You may, at times, feel anxious about living up to this. You may wonder, "How faithful will I be to my promises?" If ever you feel this way, remember Christ's words to us, "BE NOT AFRAID!" Without Him, you cannot be faithful. But with Him, you can and will be. When you exchange your words of consent today, know that our Lord will be speaking them with and to you. 'James and Katherine,' He says, "I will be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor your consent, all the days of your lives.' This is your comfort and hope. This is why we call marriage holy. Holy Matrimony. The Lord must be an intimate partner in your union."