Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wedding: Sarah and Tom Krawczyk: 2/11/2012

Readings: 1) Tobit 8, 4-8: On the evening of their marriage, Tobias said to Sarah, "you and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and protection." They began praying for protection, and this was how he began: "You are blessed O God of our fathers; blessed, too, is your name for ever and ever. Let the heavens bless you and all things you have made for evermore. It was you who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born. It was you who said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make him a helpmate like himself." And so I do not take my sister for any lustful motive; I do it in singleness of heart. Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me and bring us to old age together." And together they said, "Amen, Amen."
2) John 2, 1-11: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”  4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”  5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b] 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.  8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”  They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.  11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
From the first reading we see that Tobias takes Sarah with purity of heart, i.e. for herself not for himself so that he is not “take” but gift. Together they say “Amen. Amen.” Tom and Sarah chose February 11 for the day of marriage, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes where she declared herself “the Immaculate Conception.” The Gospel reading is the changing of water, filled to the brim (36 gallons) into excellent wine.

            Christian marriage is the changing of complementary opposites into one. It is not forging compatible individuals into a unity. The difference between the man and the woman is such that the ancient Greek Pythagoreans thought that they were different species. Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote that marriage was not the gift of friendship between two compatible persons standing/walking side by side with a common interest, but rather facing each other with an interpenetrating glance giving birth to a mysterious fusion of their souls – making new wine. He wrote further that “the giving of self [is] the specific characteristic of spousal love. “It is not simply a compound of friendship and sensuality”[1] but a unique communication of self gift. This is the meaning of human sexuality and the prayer of Tobias and Sarah to become transformed into excellent wine as one.

On the differences between men and women... (Dave Barry)

 Let's say a guy named Roger is
attracted to a woman named Elaine.

He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few
nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves.
They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of
them is seeing anybody else. And then, one evening when they're driving
home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she  says it

"Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for
exactly six months?" And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it
seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder if it
bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our
relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of
obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of
relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space so I'd have
time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are,
moving steadily toward ... I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to
keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward
marriage? Toward children?  Toward a lifetime together?  Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: ... so that means it was... let's see.... February
when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the
dealer's, which means ... lemme check the odometer ... Whoa! I am way
overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm
reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship,
more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed-even before I sensed it-that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why
he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of
being rejected….                              

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission

Conclusion:  We are really different!!

Opposites as Total Gift Not Mere Compatibilities: Roger and Elaine are the image of the divine reality of the One God constituted by the three Persons who are not compatibilities but opposites. The Rather is not the Son, the Son is not the Father (“The Father is greater than I,” Jn. 14, 28; and yet “I and the Father are one,” Jn. 10, 30). In the case of human persons like man and woman, a powerful metaphor is the transformation of water, in jars filled to the brim, into a new and excellent wine. “Filled to the brim” is the involvement of their whole selves.

            The characteristic of marriage is this totality – “to the brim” – which is the gift of oneself, not just talents, time, money, attention, affection. Or even sex. The first one to speak tin these terms, “self-gift” – was Dietrich von Hildebrand in 1929 and it was echoed oby Karol Wojtyla in his “Love and Responsibility” and became the Church’s definition of the human person in the Second Vatican Council where it said that there is a parallel between the union of the Divine Persons and human persons. Concretely, “man, the only earthly being God has loved for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of self. Wojtyla wrote:

            “Spousal love differs from all other aspects or forms of love…  The essence of spousal love is self-giving, the surrender of one’s ‘I.’ This is something different from and more than attraction, desire or even good will. These are all ways by which one person goes out towards another, but none of them can take him as far in his quest for the good of the other as does spousal love… When spousal love enters into this interpersonal relationship something more than friendship results: two people give themselves to the other.”[2]

You Never Marry the “Right” Person: Marriage is not about the union of compatibiles  and self-fulfillment, but the gift of self: (nuclear fission).

Example: an allegory

"Leaf by Niggle:" (Only by giving it all away do you get it all back +)

          This gift of self could perhaps be best presented by J.R.R.Tolkien –author of “The Lord of the Rings” - in his “Leaf by Niggle” that Sarah seemed to have enjoyed hearing in the retreat two weeks ago.

            Niggle was a painter, an artist. In his studio, he began working on painting a leaf that he saw in his imagination. Soon the leaf became many leaves, then trees, then countryside and finally a whole landscape.

            Next door lived a poor man with a sick wife and child. One rainy day, the neighbor asked Niggle if he had anything that could be used to cover a hole in his roof since the rain was coming in. Niggle had nothing at hand, and the poor man was beside himself with anxiety. Suddenly, he realized that he had one thing: the large canvas on which he was painting his leaves and the landscape, and into which he was pouring his talents and self. Begrudgingly, he brought it next door, climbed the man’s roof and nailed it over the hole.

            Niggle then takes a trip – which is really his death – and he overhears voices speaking sternly about him, the facts of his life and conferring about his fate. He was mean at times and sinful but a skilled artist: “a leaf by Niggle was a great work of art.” Suddenly there is a kind voice that interrupts the somewhat harsh consultation and reminds about the quality of a leaf by Niggle, and that Niggle had made a gift of his master work ot cover a hole in his neighbor’s roof for protection against the rain.

            Niggle is then taken by train, with his neighbor who had also died, out into the county. When the tan stops they both step down and behold an immense countryside with grass nad water and trees all bearing the prized leaves by Niggle. They entered and explored together Niggle’s masterwork now become reality because he gave it away.

            Is such a gift o self possible? Not without Christ, and therefore not without the sacrament in which each of you is the minister. You are uniquely here “priests of your own existence.” The prototype of matrimony is the oneness – identity – of Christ and the Chruch (Eph. 5, 25) for whom He gives all that He is as God-man which is the Mass we are about to offer. And one-flesh union between Christ and the Church is the Eucharist that we are about to receive. Therefore, it takes three to get married. Sarah, Tom and Jesus Christ in the sacrament. My mission is simply to assist you in executing the sacrament as its minister.
Finally, the miracle of changing water into wine, which was the raising of marriage to a Christian sacrament, was initiate ad by Our Lady whose feast we celebrate today. May she preside in her humility over the miracle of this union of Sarah and Tom. She is pleased. It snowed.

[1] Dietrich von Hildebrand, “Marriage, the Mystery of Human Love,” Sophia Institute Press (1991)19.
[2] K. Wojtyla, “Love and Responsibility,” Ignatius (1990) 96.

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