We had the privilege yesterday of attending the wedding ceremony of a couple whom we have befriended since moving to Australia. The wedding ceremony, a traditional Nuptial Mass, was absolutely stunning...the incense, the traditional architecture, the Latin chant...it was all stunning. But the most stunning thing of all was to really experience for the first time how the marriage celebration actually fits within the Eucharistic celebration.
I am sure that when I was younger I probably attended a Catholic wedding (I think...) but I would never have appreciated it. Firstly, because even from a young age, I thought Catholics were just weird; and secondly, because I really didn’t appreciate the full significance of what marriage is.
My wife and I were married in the Baptist church, and we were fortunate enough to have been taught in our particular brand of Baptist theology, that marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church. But, as much as I understood that I really don’t think that I ever really appreciated just how significant this understanding of marriage is.
Yesterday, we were able to experience firsthand the beauty of the marriage ceremony where it really belongs – that is, in the Mass. It is during the Mass, in Holy Communion, that our Lord Jesus Christ unites Himself in the most intimate of ways with us His Bride. That is why St. John refers to Holy Communion as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. When a husband is being joined to a wife, and they are only but a picture of the reality that is the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church, then there is no better place to witness the marriage ceremony than in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Because it is in receiving our Lord in the Eucharist that we become One Body (i.e. Communion) with, through, and in Him.
So, Greg and Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your very special day with us. And our prayer for you is that as you grow in your marriage, God would continually pour out His grace upon both of you through this glorious Sacrament. May you always grow in being Christ to each other, and may you always experience Christ in each other.