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Having been blessed with attending two weddings this year, including the Christmas time ceremony uniting my son and his beautiful, wonderful bride, I have witnessed true love given and true love expressed. The couples knew very well what was expected, and what they should expect from each other.
That said, I was struck by the message Jesus gave his disciples as he sent them out to spread the Good News. He gave them powers of healing and powers to preach, but he was very specific in how his followers were to approach the daunting duties he was assigning them. From Luke’s Gospel: “He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.’”
If I were given an opportunity to address newly married couples, or those planning their wedding, I would deliver the same message:
Take nothing for the journey.
You are preparing for a life together, joining as one. Your lives, as you’ve known them, are no more. You are still the same individual the world sees, your family sees, and, physically, the person you are marrying sees.
But in your hearts, souls, and minds, God has given you the command to begin your journey together with none of the “old ways”, the material, the “worldly.” Yes, you are in the world, but not of it, as St. Benedict instructs us in The Rule. You are as much formerly of the “old” as any person being ordained to religious life. You have possession of a sacrament as much as any religious man or woman. You are making a vow to God, to each other, to the Church, and to the world that you are beginning a journey like no other, and you have your paths to pursue.
Of course, you have material things, and they are part of everyday life, yes, including all the digital devices.
But your new journey also requires you to leave the past behind, shaking the dust from your feet when it comes to people, places, and things that do not accept the “new you.”
You are child of the Light. God has put you here for a reason, a reason which will often be joyous, sometimes, be painful, sometimes, not clear in moments of darkness, sadness, and pain, and please know, those moments will be there.
But the path of your journey has its beacons along the path that will guide you both safely.
We prepare to wave “goodbye” as you head out to present yourselves to the world as God’s witnesses to faith, hope and love. The “shining city on a hill” is always ahead to guide you and bring you safely home each day.
“Things” are temporal. Love is eternal. You have expressed yours, and the future will be very, very bright.