Aren’t weddings wonderful? Think about all the hard work that’s been done to get us to this moment, and how much fun the reception will be. Times like these are great opportunities to pause for a moment and reflect on what this day is all about, don’t you think? And not just for Charlie and Michelle.
I’m reminded of the story about the middle-aged man who had a doctor’s appointment. He was getting agitated because the doctor was running late. Noticing that the man was getting agitated, the doctor asked him if he had another appointment. The man replied that his wife was waiting at home for him. The doctor asked, “Surely she won’t be angry if you’re a few minutes late.” The man replied “You’re right. She’ll be fine. We had lunch together.”
The doctor nodded and said, “I thought so. Just give her a quick call and tell her your doctor was busy.” “I could do that.” The man replied, “But you see, she’s in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. She wouldn’t remember I called. She doesn’t know where she is most of the time.” The doctor said, “Does she have a caretaker?” “Oh, yes. I’ve provided the best.” Well, if she’s doing well now where she is, I think she’ll be fine until you get there.”
The man replied, “You don’t understand. I’m not rushing home to make sure she’s OK. I’m rushing back home because I love her, and I want to spend time with her.”
St Ignatius of Loyola said “Love always shows itself more in deeds than in words”. The husband in this story doesn’t want to talk to his wife about love. He just wants to love her. And it’s those actions that move our heart, fill us with joy, gives us hope.
We have another story, just like that one, starting today. Sure, the specifics are different, but the action is the same.
And maybe that’s why Michelle and Charlie chose these readings for us. They all talk about a love so powerful that people are willing to sacrifice everything for another person. What a wonderful road map for their marriage!
I mean, just look at the Beatitudes. Three of them ask us to bear a burden, a sacrifice. Being poor, being sad, being persecuted. Something we weren’t expecting. And because we weren’t expecting them, we depend on love to get us through. It’s God blessing our reactions, our responses.
And in the other five – being meek, being a peacemaker, being merciful, fighting for what’s right, remaining clean of heart – those are things that we do. Things we do with our love. That’s when God blesses our pro-activity, our actions, as well.
In both instances, action is more important than words. And I’d like to suggest that they challenge to ask ourselves: how have I loved today? What actions have I done that show, and not tell, my love for God and creation?
Maybe it was choosing the perfect wedding gift. Or, you’ll be driving someone to the reception. Or, telling someone how lovely they look. Or maybe next weekend you’ll volunteer again at the soup kitchen, the nursing home, the homeless shelter.
In a way, these things we do are our answer to all the stories in the newspaper. Syria, ISIS, racism, the anger, the violence, the pain. Putting our love in action – no more evident than this public declaration of love — this is our antidote. These are the things that remind us that love is more powerful than hate.
In a moment, Charlie and Michelle will exchange their wedding vows. Like a white canvas before an artist, there will be so many different experiences, so many acts of love in their painting. But you know Michelle and Charlie will not be the only two people on that canvas. We will all be in the picture. Our Church will be in the picture. Christ will be in the picture. Our deeds, our presence, our support, will speak so much louder than best wishes or good intent. They need all of our actions to complete their masterpiece. All of our actions, together.
So, happy are those who rush home to their spouse from the doctor’s office. Happy are those who seek God in all things. Happy are those who are blessed to fall in love, and decide, together, to let their actions on August 20th, 2016 speak so much louder than their words.