Michael Raguso-Minerva Ahumada Torres wedding (28 Dec 2010)
Tob 8. 5-7; Ps 103; Col 3. 12-17; Mk 10. 6-9
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
For the World and for Each Other
Minerva and Michael, today you inaugurate your noble purpose in life. St. Paul offers practical advice, and Jesus elevates the practical to align with the divine desire for you. First, my word about your noble purpose. While marriage is a human vocation, you recognize that it is also more. Sharing your vows with each other in the presence of this faith community indicates you recognize marriage participates in the life of God, which flowed into you at your baptisms.
Catholic marriage acknowledges that. Its rite begins to testify to that, as you and your guests will shortly hear: “Michael and Minerva,” I will begin, “Christ Jesus has already consecrated you in baptism and now he enriches and strengthens you by [this] sacrament” for your married life together “in mutual and lasting fidelity.”1 What is the hallmark of mutual and lasting fidelity? It is your noble purpose: 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.
I mention receiving love to deepen your convictions and awareness about the mutual operation of forgiveness and love in your married life together. They are, as you described them to me, the “lifeblood of marriage” and your “tools” to make your life together thrive. Our Christian lives remind us that God loves us first.
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 you have been considering before today can sound as though giving love is the goal of each of you. Friends, you will hear Michael and Minerva 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. Words, bodies, minds, emotions, likes and dislikes, suggest concrete things not ideals. Here St. Paul’s clothing-image offers you vivid aid.
The total of pieces of material given particular colors and arranged in particular fashion is a garment. In a similar way love is more than techniques. Ways of learning each other and ways of handling difficult situations, which you incorporate into your daily living, shape love as your living garments. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience are not techniques, they form the wardrobe of your married love. They also are ways of receiving love, which is your noble purpose from today.
Jesus reminds you that your loving union is God’s desire for you. Your movement toward deeper union will see many faces. Some of those faces are here; others could not be here; still other faces you have yet to behold.
Remember and relish God’s desire in bringing you together because God’s desire begins your vocation to grow as one and gives you courage to allow your noble purpose to open the eyes and hearts of other people to notice their vocations in ever brighter and clearer light.
Michael and Minerva, I am proud of you, and I wish you every good thing. I congratulate you on behalf of the church. 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; as an incarnation of the new and everlasting covenant2 Jesus has secured by his dying and rising; and to help you savor life in your future together as well as in the age to come.
- Rite of Marriage, 23.
- Words said over the chalice at the consecration at mass.