The Crowns of a Godly Love
A Wedding Homily
(*Homily by Father Benedict Simpson; transcribed by Katherine (Maria) Stephens-Powell)
It has been so good that God has given you to us. You see two people who grew up in different places in the world, who came together by what they think is chance, but it was actually divine providence. Nothing happens by chance, dear ones.
I would like to tell you, who have gathered here to celebrate this moment with these two in this moment of holy matrimony: this is one of the most sacred sacraments of the Church. Marriage is not given by man. It is given by God. It is a sacrament given to us from above where one man and one woman may join together and become one flesh and to reproduce and to make children, a progeny of more Christians.
When Katherine and Eric approached me and they said, "Father, we want to ask you a question." I said, "what is it?" They said, "we want you to marry us." I said, "well, I'm flattered, but I'm already married!" But the thing is, it is an honor for me to do this.
You see, in my ten years of marriage I have learned something: As you heard in the marriage ceremony, "wives submit to your husband." You (*husband) are to be the head of the household. Sometimes your wife will tell you where she wishes to be lead. It's good to listen.
And you (*wife) are told to honor and obey. You are also to be the conscience of your husband. Sometimes - I know it's hard to imagine! - men sometimes make wrong decisions. I know it's difficult to see, and it's almost impossible to believe, but men sometimes make the wrong decisions. Women, believe it or not, you are sometimes wrong. I know, another shocker!
I want you to do something for me. I want you to promise that you will do this. You will remember . . . Look around you right now. Do you see all these people who are gathered? How many of you are married? Do you remember your marriage? Do you remember the love that you felt when you were married? Remember the love that you feel at this moment because days will come where you will argue. Days will come where there will be hardships. Days will come where there will seem to be enmity between you. But do this: Argue with love. Argue based of the facts of the argument and not upon your deep-seated memory of some slight that may have happened years ago. Remember the person you argue with is the one that you love and who loves you. Also remember they know where you're going to sleep!
So when you come back to this moment, and in your mind you see the love that's in these people's faces, these are people who've gone through it before you and made it! They're still married.
"There is no divorce in the Kingdom of God."
We take very seriously "what God has brought together, let no man put asunder." Don't let yourselves be your own undoing. Argue with love.
Frequently make time for each other. Marriage is also known as a martyrdom, for you are called to die to your selfishness and cleave to the one that you have married. You become part of them, and they become part of you. Now, that's what we mean by the knitting together of two into one flesh. So going forth, you die to the self you know and take upon yourself the mantle of husband and wife and all that it entails. You are to share your journey together in prosperity and in poverty, in good health and in sickness. You will share each other's pain and grief as well as their happiness. You are to be there 'til death do you part.
Remember, you're the ones who asked me to marry you, not the other way around. Remember that.
"May God bless you with a happy family. May he give all the benefits of His grace and His abiding Holy Spirit. You see, in this marriage, there are not two people, but three. Christ is in your midst!"
As you see the earliest wedding rings that have ever been found, there are the two beloved who are married, and in the middle there is Christ between them. So Christ is in this wedding. He is in your marriage. There is no way to get rid of Him. Remember that even when you argue.
Brothers and sisters, family, beloved, I give to you the newly wedded Eric and Katherine. I give you charge over them to uphold them in all godliness and all honor. Love them. Cherish them. Give them advice along the way - good advice, not bad! Always uphold them upon your arms and hands, because you know, being married, that sometimes the journey is difficult. But the journey is worthwhile. So I give them to you.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit... Amen
Father Benedict Simpson+
Monastery of the Glorious Ascension