Father Williams finished proclaiming the Gospel. The time had come to hear what Theresa’s friend of many years would share in his homily for her wedding day. Friends since orientation at Benedictine College, Theresa had watched Father leave BC for seminary, and last year she witnessed his Holy Orders. There we were, at Theresa and Eric’s wedding, with her good friend readying himself for his homily. We all sat in anxious anticipation and excitement to hear what he would say.
“While preparing for my ordination, my spiritual director gave me some advice. He told me that at my ordination Mass I would lay prostrate on the floor in front of the altar. Doing this would symbolize me laying my life down for the people I would serve. His advice: once you lay your life down, try to never pick it back up again.” At this point, the silence in the church was chilling. The beauty of this sentiment fell on the hearts of all gathered. Father continued by presenting his own advice to Theresa and Eric, tailored to their own vocation’s responsibilities.
Father talked about the vow exchange, and how difficult it is to look directly into another person’s eyes for more than three seconds. It’s awkward. You feel exposed. Nothing is hidden. It’s a very vulnerable feeling. But the partnership required for marriage is a very vulnerable relationship. To succeed, Father encouraged Theresa and Eric to never lose that eye contact with each other. Keep your gaze fixed on the other. Reveal your full self to them, and allow them to do the same.
At this point, Amy was wiping tears from her eyes while looking around the church to find Kyle. Of all the homilies we’ve heard during weddings, this one really got us. Remaining in that moment of intimate eye contact during your wedding vows and throughout your marriage is a tremendous challenge, but one that can no doubt be accomplished with the help of the Lord.
Theresa and Eric, thank you for inviting us to share in your wedding day with you! Our own marriage feels renewed after hearing Father’s exceptional challenge to you during his homily. We’ve taken his advice to heart, as I’m sure many others have, too. Father mentioned seeing the two of you looking and smiling at each other during the rehearsal dinner and said that you seemed to be drawing energy or peace from one another. That sentiment puts words to what we’ve also noticed about the two of you! You seem to truly come to life when looking at each other. If you accept Father’s challenge to remain in that place of intimate eye contact that you were in during your vows, you’ll continue to benefit from the tremendous graces that come with this vocation! We are praying for you!
Amy and Kyle
A big thanks to everyone who helped make Theresa and Eric’s wedding so amazing and perfect for them:
Officiant: Msgr David LeSieur
Church: Saint Peter’s on Capitol Hill
Florist: M&M Wedding Solutions