We fielded an apt question from a commenter yesterday about choosing the right reading for a wedding. It is very heartening to see engaged people take the selection of wedding Scripture seriously. This is a topic that I find difficult to handle in a general way. So much depends on the personality and faith of the couple.
I want to commend and recommend my friend and fellow blogger, Father Austin Fleming, for his fine contribution to ministry to engaged couples. My wife and I were given Prayerbook for Engaged Couples and it suited us very well.
Fr Austin covers some, but not all of the readings, prayers, and elements of the Rite of Marriage. But for each one, he presents the text, then a few sentences of reflection. Following that are usually two or three faith-related questions for the couple to share. Each reflection is concluded with a prayer shared by the couple.
The commenter mentioned she and her fiancé were considering John 2:1-11, the first miracle of Jesus at the wedding at Cana, as the gospel reading at her wedding. Fr Austin’s reflection and questions on that reading are:
Can you imagine how happy Jesus was for this couple? Just so, the Lord loves us. There may not be any dazzling miracles at your wedding reception, but he is ready to be with us in our times of need, now and always.
- The Lord took what the couple already had, just water, and turned it into the finest wine. What needs to be transformed in our lives? In our relationships?
- When do we ask the Lord for help?
I think this is just about right. Read the reading together. Discuss two/three questions. Pray the prayer at the end, plus the Our Father. If the discussion and sharing goes well for a couple, then maybe that will be a meaningful Bible reading for the wedding day. If not, then move on to another possibility.
Even for couples who have already determined their readings and prayers, this is a genius method for preparing for the wedding liturgy. Praying the elements of the wedding, especially a few weeks before the date, could permit the Holy Spirit to seep into the final days of preparation.
A few other thoughts on wedding readings … I tell couples that wedding readings are about one of three things: God, people, or qualities. Any or all of them are quite appropriate. It largely depends on the inspiration of the couple. If there’s strong reflection on the qualities of love or union or loyalty, then by all means pick Genesis 2 or 1 Corinthians 13. If on the couple, then Psalm 128 or Genesis 24. And if on the Lord, then something from 1 John. Couples can read these readings ahead of time, and sift through what “sounds” right. It’s less an intellectual thing (ideally) than trying to gain some sense of God and getting to know one’s life partner and what her or his sense of God might be.
Enough for now. How have any of our readers chosen Bible readings?
And by the way: Fr Austin’s book? Big thumbs up. I keep a few copies on my shelf for couples who seem to need it.