Let us pray.
Master, our sight is made so vivid in this, Your light, that we can see clearly Your meaning, as far as you set its limit; therefore, dear Father, I beg you tenderly to show us love, to which you have reduced every good action and its contrary.
Your presence now makes the occasion of this wedding one of rejoicing. In Your favor look upon ___________ and ___________, about to be joined in marriage, and grant that they, rejoicing in all Your gifts, may at length celebrate that marriage feast which has no end.
Heaven and earth attract each other and thus all creatures come into being. From the attractions they exert we can learn the nature of all beings in heaven and earth.
We call this attraction Love.
In Paulís first epistle to the Corinthianís we read:
Love is always patient and kind;
it is never jealous;
love is never boastful or conceited;
it is never rude or selfish;
it does not take offense, and is not resentful.
Love does not rejoice in what is wrong,
but rejoices in the truth.
There is no limit to loveís forbearance,
its trust, its hope,
its power to endure.
We are taught in the Bible to serve God. To serve the God of love one must be free. The freedom that is our nature is our ability to love something, someone besides ourselves, and for the sake, not of ourselves, but of the one we love. There is an innate tendency, an inborn capacity for disinterested love. This power to love another for his/her own sake is one of the things that makes us like God, because this power is the one thing in us that is free from all determination. It is a power which transcends and escapes the inevitability of self-love.
In Platoís Symposium , Socrates says:
He who ascends under the influence of true love begins to perceive that beauty is not far from the end. And the true order of going, or being led by another, to the things of love is to begin with the beauties of earth and mount upward for the sake of that other beauty, using these as steps only, and from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions s/he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is.
The highest perfection of our nature is loving God: loving Him not simply because He is our highest good, but more especially because he is infinitely good in Himself. It is this pure and perfect love that is the glory God asks of us, and it is our highest reward, the ultimate in all happiness possible to man.
In the Song of Solomon we read of such love:
My beloved spoke and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with tender grapes gives forth fragrance,
Arise, my love, and come away.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.
If a man would give all the substance of his house for love,
he would be utterly rejected.
_____ and ____, if it your intention to share with each other your laughter and your tears and all that the years will brings, by your promises bind yourselves now to each other as husband and wife.
_____, do you take ____ to be your wife from this time onward, to join with her and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all circumstances of your life together to be loyal to her with your whole life and with your whole being?
____, . . .
[I do] respectively.
[This ring is a sign of my love and faithfulness.]
____ and ______, by their promises before God and in the presence of their friends and family, have made themselves husband and wife.
You may extend a sign of peace.
Let us pray.
Faithful Lord, Father of Love, pour down your grace upon ____ and ______ that they may fulfill the vows they have made this day and reflect your steadfast love in their life-long faithfulness to each other. From your great store of strength give them power and patience, affection and understanding, courage and love towards You, toward each other, and toward the world that they may continue together in mutual growth according to Your will in Jesus Christ our Lord.