May 12, 2016

Amoris laetitia: Mary

Nor would it be good for them to arrive at the wedding without ever having prayed together, one for the other, to seek God’s help in remaining faithful and generous, to ask the Lord together what he wants of them, and to consecrate their love before an image of the Virgin Mary. (216)
This quote reminded me of the many weddings I had back in Yonkers that included a little procession of the newlyweds to offer some flowers to Our Lady on her side altar. During rehearsals I would advise the couple to take it slow and spend a good moment on this little pilgrimage, perhaps saying a Hail Mary together and asking Our Lady's prayers for their new life together.

Now early on in my service as wedding presider I established the rule that there could be one, and only one, bonus feature. E.g. unity candle, coin exchanging, sand pouring, extra procession of toddler ring-bearer being pulled up the aisle in red wagon, etc. But also early on I decided that the 'Flowers to Mary' didn't have to count against this limit, both because I thought it was a good and devout business and also because I knew the organist pushed it a little bit when planning music with the brides.

St. Francis calls Mary the Virgo ecclesia facta, the Virgin made church. The Church imitates and continues the mystery of our Blessed Mother through history by holding and nourishing the Word made flesh in her members, by bearing the mystery of his incarnation to the world, protecting and keeping it, by standing and mourning at the Cross of his Passion and death, and by witness of his Resurrection.

So married couples, as they embark on making of themselves and their openness to new life a new domestic church in history, entrust themselves to the prayers and protection of Mary, who is their model in their vocation of being church.

As Pope Francis prays at the end of Amoris laetitia:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love;
to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic churches.

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