Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Does anybody love anybody anyway?" H. Jones

Even though the sculpture above may, at first glance, smack more of eros than agapé, we must keep in mind that in Christian marriage, eros is tempered and ultimately transformed into agapé. Anyway, below is the last paragraph of a wedding homily I completed this morning, in which I seek, in my own limited way, to do some justice to agapé in the realm of marriage.

Dear friends, I have spoken to you a lot about agapé. So, you might be asking, just what is it? What is the succinct definition of this strange, Greek word? To answer that question we need look no further than the reading from St. John’s gospel (Jn 15,12-15) which you have chosen for this, your special day. Agapé means laying down your lives for each other. Agapé always calls you beyond yourselves to live for each other. In marriage you are the ministers of the sacrament. It is by freely giving your consent that your life together will become a sacrament. The sacrament of your marriage only begins today. After today and for the rest of your lives, your marriage is your vocation, the calling God gives you. Just as some are called to be priests, nuns, brothers, and even deacons, you are called to be each other’s spouse and the parents of your children. This calls on you to pour yourselves out in service to each other, your children, your families and friends. When people see the two of you, they are to see Christ. Now, this is a very tall order. Be assured of God’s grace. Grace is nothing more than God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - sharing divine life with you. The divine life God shares with us to strengthen us in our vocations can, once again, be summed up by the one word- love. St. John tells us elsewhere, "everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. . . . for God is love" (1 Jn 4,8).

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