After "I Do"

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A priest I know shares that at the part of the Mass where he is breaking the Host and saying his personal prayers, he looks at the Body of the Lord and repeats the marriage vows:

I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

I was deeply moved by Father’s sharing.  The privilege I have had so many times of standing with a couple as they give their vows to one another is one of the great treasures of the priesthood.

 The privilege of taking bread into my hands and speaking the words of Jesus is the greatest treasure of the priesthood.

Pope Francis gave a talk to engaged couples awhile back.   As he often does, he said something amazingly simple and incredibly profound:   “ After ‘I do,’ comes ‘May I, Thank you and I’m sorry.’”

As we continue our Lenten journey, this is a good time to remember that it is a nuptial walk with the Lord.   Each day there must be time for communication with the Beloved:  time for prayer; sit-down, face-to-face prayer, where I’m giving this few minutes to focus only on God.

And as I sit or kneel or even lie there with God, a great and loving form of prayer is to say to him in my own words:

  • I DO take you to be my God, the Lord of my life.
  • MAY I have your help in these needs of my life.
  • THANK YOU for the gifts you have given me, especially in the past day.
  • I’M SORRY for the particular times I’ve chosen to sin.

If I’ve been drifting from prayer this Lent or if I sometimes feel like I have nothing to say, I can take this simple marriage formula and go to the God-who-loves-me.

Easter is April 5.   If I have faltered in my Lenten resolutions or maybe never got started, there is no rule against beginning NOW.   It’s never too late to receive God’s graces and blessings.  In fact, sometimes it’s a greater blessing when I am humble enough “to come late to the show” and ask God to help me salvage a little something from Lent.

 And, finally, if you struggle with doubts about God’s love for you, remember that he is the other half of the nuptial dialogue.   Allow him to speak the words of his vow to you:

I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.   I will love you and honor you all the days of my life…which is forever…