Daniel Kaminiski-Laurel Ianni wedding (29 May 2010)
Tob 8. 5-7a; 1Co 12. 31-13. 8; Mk 10. 6-9
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
For the World As Well As Each Other
Laurel and Dan, today you inaugurate your noble purpose in life. You, as well as family and friends, may be thinking Christian marriage. Yet, your noble purpose Christian marriage shapes you to do and graces you to do readily in your life together. It’s profound and not complicated, though it challenges us all. Your noble purpose is to receive each other’s love.
Giving love is much easier than receiving love. One reason is that when I show love I am in control. When I receive another’s love, I am not in control. The temptation exists when I show love to get something, to influence another or to be noticed. Receiving love—from the smallest kindness to another sharing in my joy or sorrow—happens to me as I am, deserving or not.
From the beginning of my priestly ministry I have shared that with couples as I assisted them to prepare for marriage and in homilies at their weddings. My Jesuit life—which began after I was ordained 12 years—allows me to see receiving love as a noble purpose, indeed each one’s vocation, as St. Ignatius of Loyola would remind you and your families and friends today.
I offer this to you, Dan and Laurel, because your John Carroll experience was grounded in this Ignatian vision. Think of it! Ignatius made accessible from his 16th Century to our 21st that receiving God’s living love transforms us; helps us live and love as Jesus taught us; and saves us.
We receive God’s living love in numerous ways, including: the sacraments; through prayers said for us; through the example of family and friends; and by the good done our way by people we know and people we don’t. Receiving love shapes us and equips us to show love to others.
The marriage vows which I asked you to ponder throughout your marriage preparation process can sound as though giving love is the goal of each of you. Friends, you will hear them express more than to love; they will honor each other. Marital honor is the highest esteem each spouse can show the other. Further, that mutual esteem belongs to you alone! Marital honor welcomes the spouse and the love the spouse offers. Your bodies, minds, emotions, likes and dislikes and deep desires will shape your mutual honor to be uniquely yours. Jesus recalled Genesis to describe your uniqueness as one flesh. I join to it another image favored by the apostles: your are two individuals with one heart and one mind.1
That is friendship language of the highest order, Laurel and Dan. The marriage friendship, St. Paul reminds us, puts flesh and blood on the mystery of God with Jesus together with their Holy Spirit among us. From today your married love will make the divine mystery accessible to the world in still one more way.
Because love never ends each of you will always be able to receive it from one another. As you grow in your married life together, you will notice you will receive one another’s love more steadily. As you grow in your married life, you will also notice moments when you won’t receive love so gracefully or gratefully. Take heart! Especially because love never ends, in moments of self-importance, rudeness, envy and simple irritation each of you will be able to start again to receive love gracefully.
As you gracefully welcome each other’s love, an amazing thing will happen: you will notice your love flowing beyond one another to your children; to your families and friends in new ways; as well as to strangers and people in need more freely. This will happen as you apply yourselves to your noble purposed and remain sensitive to one another and to the way God with Jesus with their Spirit works in you.
Dan and Laurel, I am proud of you, and I wish you every good thing. I congratulate you on behalf of the church. You demonstrated to me and to others, who help couples prepare for Christian marriage, that you are ready to assume your vocation. As you are patient with each other, also be eager to see the best in each other and build on it. As each of you experiences a difficulty or question or setback, endure it, not alone, but as one. For so has the God of our ancestors created you: as one for the world; for one another’s joy; and to help you savor life in your future together as well as in the age to come.
1. See Acts of the Apostles 4.32. They made theirs the ancient proverb that friends hold all thing in common. Some variations from Aristotle and others: friendship is life together; the friend is another self; friends are one soul.