HOSE OF US who perform concerts realize that what happens in the practice room has little to do with what happens on the concert stage. Musicians must practice performing, because playing something perfectly in the practice room doesn’t guarantee a pristine performance on stage. 1 Like musicians, priests must “perform” their homilies in a compelling way. (The best sermon in the world is spoiled if the delivery is poor.) Father Valentine Young, OFM, gave our wedding homily on 14 April 2007. As expected, Father Valentine “hit it out of the park.”
Download the full sermon:
* Mp3 Download • The Full Homily
—A marvelous Wedding Homily delivered by Fr. Valentine Young, OFM.
Father Valentine went to his eternal reward in January. Please pray for the repose of his soul.
UR WEDDING on 14 April 2007 took place during the Easter Octave, so a votive Mass (Missa pro sponso et sponsa) was not allowed, because Easter week “trumps” the votive Mass. The Mass formulary for each day of Easter week prescribes the Victimæ Paschali Laudes. On my wedding, it was sung from two different choir lofts, and I was allowed to conduct the piece:
All the polyphonic music was conducted by Dr. Lucas Tappan (he was not yet “Doctor” in 2007), who did a fabulous job. I am so grateful for what Lucas and his wife, Katie, did for us. Here’s a clip from the rehearsal:
The musical booklet was about 70 pages…yet there was time for one rehearsal only. (Gulp!)
To this day, I’m so grateful for the marvelous wedding present Dr. Tappan gave us! 2
Jeff & Cynthia’s Wedding Homily
14 April 2007 • “Immaculate Conception Chapel”
Corpus, Christi, Texas
ERHAPS the most thought of word on the occasion of a wedding is the word “love.” And that is certainly very fitting, because it is love which causes two people to commit and give themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. In one of his more memorable sermons or TV presentations, the late Archbishop Sheen once pointed out how the Greeks (in their language) had three different words for love. There is the word eros, which brings out or stresses the sensual aspects of love. (Our English word “erotic” is derived from this.) Then there is the word philia, which indicates more the love that family members have for each other. (Our English word “philanthropy” is derived from this.) Then there is the Greek word agape, which my English dictionary said “indicated God’s love for us.” This last word is the one used by St. Paul in his memorable discourse on love found in Chapter 13 of his First letter to the Corinthians. There is, however, another Greek word for love, found especially in the writings of St. Paul. The word is charis/charitos. (Our English word “charity” is derived from this.) We are all familiar or know that we often substitute the word love for charity and vice versa. The Franciscan theologian, Blessed John Duns Scotus (d. 1308AD), taught there was no essential difference between “charity” and what we know as “sanctifying grace.”
Much could be said to define and to describe “love.” All would agree that the most important element is not so much what is written or said, but what is done. In this sense we can say that the word love is an “action word.” It is shown and proven by what we do—not by what we think or say. One of the best descriptions I ever heard of love would be to say that if you loved someone, you wished and did for them what you would wish and do for yourself. I do believe that this covers all the important aspects of love.
Love is the one virtue or thing that we can do in imitation of God. Oh, yes…we certainly have the virtues of faith and hope. But God does not have faith or hope—because He doesn’t have to practice faith or hope. But God practices love, and that is the ultimate or final explanation as to why God made us. There is a short Latin philosophical principal about love: Amor est diffusivum sui. It may be a little awkward to translate, but the phrase basically means that love tends or wants to extend or spread itself. That is what led God to create us and the world. My own St. Francis of Assisi used to spread hours in prayer, pondering over—and weeping over—the fact that “love is not loved.” Very simply put, this means he was weeping over the fact that so many of us do not love God in return for His great love for us.
We are all probably familiar with what we Catholics refer to as “devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Without going into a lot of detail, we know that our Lord Himself promoted this devotion through St. Margaret Mary. The main thrust or focus of this devotion is our love of and reparation for the fact that Christ’s great love for us is so often not appreciated or repaid. People do not love in return—nor repay—Christ’s love for us. Actually I like to think that St. Francis himself (about five centuries before St. Margaret Mary) was promoting this idea when he would complain that “love is not loved.”
It is love that causes two people to give themselves completely to each other in marriage. Everything else about marriage flows from this fact. The need for fidelity, permanence, and unity in marriage all flow from this fact. Yes, it is quite a commitment that two human beings take upon themselves when they give themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. That certainly has to be one of the main reasons why the Church wants us to surround this act or ceremony with our highest form of giving honor and glory to God, and invoking God’s help and blessing; viz. with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Similarly, organists must practice on the actual organ that will be used, because there’s more to playing the organ than pressing keys. A good organist constantly makes “adjustments” to the registration—and even the chordal voicings!—based on the acoustics of the church and the choral sound.
2 If you look closely in that excerpt, you can see my brother Mark who is now a priest. Mark filled in at the last second for an organist who canceled—and he sight-read the entire thing perfectly. It was amazing! Mark is an organist, pianist, conductor, and singer.