Nicholas Kacsandi-Annamae Heiman wedding (10 Jul 2010)
Sgs 2. 8-10, 14, 16a; 8. 6-7a; Ps 128; Col 3. 12-17; Jn 15. 9-12
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
When Not If
Annamae and Nick, today is your when. As you told me, you intuited as you began going together that you would marry. It was a matter of when not if, to use your phrase. Your intuition is felt knowledge, to use a phrase of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Felt knowledge consists of what we know and appreciate deeply. I recognize your when not if because from a young age I knew I would be a priest. Regardless of age, what we appreciate through felt knowledge we are wise to pursue because through felt knowledge God communicates to us. Through felt knowledge God communicates to us our vocations in life.
Never lose your sense of awe and God’s vivid grace in these words from the Song of Songs. We Catholics believe that God brings spouses together. The Rite of Marriage praises God’s loving action with the words: By your love and providence you have brought [spouses] together.1 The Song of Songs gives dynamism to our conviction. From a distance the bride caught sight of her spouse: my lover, here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills, until he was near enough for her to hear his constant call, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!” Always keep your love fresh like that. Always be surprised by it. Give to your relationship in the days, month, weeks and years to come the priority you have been giving to it in the time you have called when not if.
How to keep your love fresh? to keep it supple? to give priority to it in the future? Nick and Annamae, you recognized St. Paul’s words as “good advice.” His clothing metaphor offers you ways to receive each other’s love not only to give it. To enlarge his metaphor your married love fashions compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience as your Christian as well as your married wardrobe. Each of St. Paul’s ways of receiving love is not a technique nor is it good manners. Each clothes love in a definite situation.
It’s a challenge to receive love because when I do I am not in control. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience will help you receive each other’s love graciously and freely. That is vital because receiving each other’s love graciously and freely equips you to give love the same way: to one another; to your children; to family and friends; and people you may never know, especially those in need.
You will notice moments which will challenge you to receive each other’s love and to give love to one another in those gracious, freeing ways. In those moments take heart! Remind each other that receiving your love and sharing it together is your when, your Catholic vocation.
Each one’s Catholic vocation, lived in ways proper to each person, shares in coming to know Jesus better and to desire to make him present. We make Jesus present by fulfilling his commandment to abide in [his] love. Your marital vocation revolves around love: God’s love for you, which has drawn you together to make one life together; receiving God’s love from one another; and giving God’s love to others graciously and freely. Solemnly pledging your love in a few moments through your wedding promises is as much your gift to us and the world as it is your gift to one another. Your when not if is a sacrament for the world as every marriage is.
Annamae and Nick, I'm 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. Praise God each day for bringing you together. As you show each other patience be eager to see the best in each other and build on it. As each of you experiences a difficulty or question or setback, shoulder it as one. Let edifying one another and being united in adversity as well as in joy be your signature,2 identifying you as friends of Jesus as well as one another for the sake of our world.
- Rite of Marriage, Prayer Over the Gifts, 112.
- “Signature” is what the seal in the first reading suggests. A signature-seal was worn on the arm, wrist, as a ring or as a pendant.