Happy Valentine’s Day! This is one holiday I don’t really celebrate. For the most part, I think it’s a scam to sell overpriced flowers and restaurant meals. I do, however, celebrate February 15th – when the Valentine’s candy goes on clearance at the store!
That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in love. I thought I’d share my favorite text about love and marriage with all of you today. It comes from the pre-Vatican II rite of marriage in the U.S.:
Because God himself is thus its author, marriage is of its very nature a holy institution, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. This union then is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future—with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows—is hidden from your eyes. You know well that these elements are mingled in every life and are to be expected in your own. And so, not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.
These words, then, are most serious. It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless so willing and so ready to pronounce them. And because these words involve such solemn obligations, it is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life on the great principle of self-sacrifice. And so today you begin your married life by the voluntary and complete surrender of your individual lives in the interest of that deeper and wider life which you two are to have in common.
Henceforth you belong entirely to each other; you will be one in mind, one in heart, one in affections. And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously. There will be problems which might be difficult, but genuine love can make them easy, and perfect love can make them a joy. We are willing to give in proportion as we love. And when love is perfect, the sacrifice is complete. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, and the Son so loved us that he gave himself for our salvation. “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends.”