Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Marriage Blessing

Recently, I ran across what you are about to read below.  Years ago, at the very end of the wedding ceremony in the Catholic Church, the priest extended his hands over the newly married couple and pronounced this blessing.  I found it to be a moving and profound prayer and a marvelous summation of what the married couple had to look forward to.  Please read the blessing slowly and think about its various components, reflecting either on your marriage or someone else's marriage that you are familiar with.  This is really quite beautiful and really quite simple.

"May almighty God bless you by the Word of his mouth and unite your hearts in an enduring bond of pure love.

May you be blessed in your children, and may the love you lavish on them be returned a hundredfold.

May the peace of Christ dwell always in your hearts and in your home; may you have true friends to stand by you, both in joy and in sorrow.  May you be ready with help and consolation for all those who come to you in need; and may the blessings promised to the compassionate descend in abundance on your home.

May you be blessed in your work and enjoy its fruits.  May care never cause you distress, nor the desire for earthly possessions lead you astray; buy may your hearts' concern be always for the treasures laid up for you in the life of heaven.

May the Lord grant you fullness of years, so that you may reap the harvest of a good life, and, after you have served him with loyalty in his kingdom on earth, may he take you up into his eternal dominions in heaven."

I believe that this is not only a blessing for all newlyweds, but a blessing for all who are contemplating marriage or who may have been married for many, many years.  A husband and wife are responsible for each other both in time and eternity; this is what this blessing truly means.  Perhaps if the elements of this blessing were better known and better adhered to, there would be less divorce and the family would begin to resume its rightful place as the backbone of society!