Living your Nuptial Mass everyday
by Fr. Peter deSousa
Why did you get married during a Mass? Very simply, because what was being
celebrated on the altar, the mystery of Jesus' life-giving sacrifice is what
you are called to live everyday in your domestic church, your home.
We greet the priest as he enters the Church while singing a joyful entrance
hymn. We celebrate Jesus humbly entering into our world, giving up his power
and wisdom to become a little child, who is totally dependent on human
parents. You also enter into each other's world everyday, not triumphantly
but humbly, in a non-threatening way, to say: "I love you and want to walk
with you today." Spouses cannot enter each other's world, if they want to
impress, use, put down or manipulate the other. But if they come in love and
humility, they will be welcomed.
We then come to the penitential rite of the Mass. I say: "I confess to you
my brothers and sisters.". But the first person I should seek forgiveness
from is not some stranger who happens to sit near me in the pew, but my own
spouse. I do not say "sorry but you asked for it when you were rude." Being
defensive is not being sorry at all. I ask pardon without any excuses or
justification. "Forgive me for." I also need to give forgiveness, for in the
measure that I forgive, I am forgiven. There is no score-keeping of past
injuries. I must not allow the sun to go down on my anger. Forgiveness leads
At a silver jubilee celebration, a couple whom I had instructed before
marriage, to be reconciled every night before they slept, held me
responsible for their seven children!! Reconciliation can indeed be
life-giving in more ways than we dream of.
We now come to the Word of God. The Spirit of God is the breath of God who
makes the word of God intelligible to our minds and hearts. A couple should
pray to the Holy Spirit to help them be open to the Word of God, so that it
may bear fruit in their relationship. Listen and share the life-giving Word
with each other for a few minutes everyday. Then your words to each other
will also be life-giving and not death-dealing. You will express affection,
kindness, appreciation, concern, forgiveness, trust etc. You will not
berate, find fault, nag, complain, accuse, condemn or gossip.
You are invited to join your sacrifices to the sacrifice of Jesus. We are
not speaking of not taking sugar in your tea. It is the sacrifice you make
to give up your pride, self-righteousness or anger.
Do not try to win or prove you are right or to insist on your own way. Your
sacrifice is offered on the altar of your cooking range and office desk. It
could be your marriage bed when you decide to be fully involved in loving
your spouse instead of just submitting passively.
Now, we come to praise and thank God for Eucharist means thanksgiving. A
couple who is ever grateful to God for all his many blessings, gifts and
graces, will not take any of them for granted. So count your blessings again
and again everyday. How blessed you are indeed to have faith in Jesus, to
have the Holy Spirit as your helper, advocate and companion, to have Abba to
hold you in his arms tenderly, to have Mary and the saints praying for you.
Thank God for your spouse and children and home and job. Thank him for the
cross through which he prunes you to bear more fruit. Sing your praise and
thanks with hymns and canticles and fill your hearts and home with the joy
of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit transforms the bread and wine, work of human hands into the
body and blood of Christ, at the epiclesis. Let us ask him to transform us
into the body of Christ in this domestic Church we live in. He gives us the
gift of peace to share with one another. Be practical in the ways you share
this peace in word and action or it can be an empty gesture, like a puppet
Your dining table at which you gather to break bread is your family liturgy.
Hold hands around the table and thank God for his blessings. Invite the less
fortunate to share your meal. He truly multiplies loaves and fishes when we
share his love with others who are lonely or sad. Mine was a family of eight
children. We had an open house and many joined us at meals and shared what
we had. If too many came at the last moment, my eldest sister would say
"FGS" which meant "Family go slow." Let the guests eat first. We were
blessed a hundred fold. Today she is a Sister and I am a priest and truly
the seeds of vocation are sown at home when we learn to share with love. Our
eyes will be opened to recognise Jesus in the breaking of bread and in the
least of his brethren who are our guests.
Recognise Jesus in the domestic helpers who lovingly prepare our food.
Treat them with love, respect, consideration and kindness.
Finally we are sent forth to share Jesus with others. In the home, family
members often take each other for granted. When someone dies, we express our
regret that we did not say thanks. Now is the time to make our domestic
church into a happy and loving home, where there is sharing, caring and
bearing one another's burdens.
"The family that prays together, stays together", we were told, by Fr
Patrick Peyton. Praying together is more than mumbling prayers together. We
gather together in his presence and in his name. We share his love and
kindness with each other. In such an atmosphere, we will be conscious that
he has a message for us and listen to him with our hearts. His word will
become flesh and dwell within us. We will be Christ- bearers to each other
everyday, as we celebrate our daily, domestic Eucharist.
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For Better or for Worse copyright © 2004 Fr. Peter deSousa. All rights reserved.