Monday, October 06, 2008

Aña and Mike’s Wedding

An opportunity for me to reminisce:

My daughter Aña and her husband Mike Orsi
on their wedding day.

Aña and Mike asked me to read St. Paul's famous passage and offer any thoughts I might have. Several people asked me to post what I said, which just gives me an excuse for indulging in some nostalgia.

First Corinthians 13:1-8
If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am nothing but sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith enough to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is never envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it does not take offense and is never resentful; it does not gloat over the wrongdoing of others but delights in the truth.
It is endlessly forbearing, always ready to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love abides. . . . faith, hope, and love: these three abide; and the greatest of these is love.
On the day of his daughter’s wedding, the father of the bride has a thousand things he would like to say. But Aña knows her Dad quite well, and she and Mike have wisely chosen St. Paul’s justly famous hymn to love as a reading for their wedding. Since in this passage St. Paul says pretty much everything there is to say, there was a slight chance that Aña’s Dad would recognize this and have nothing to add to it. It was a brilliant strategy, and it almost worked. But, alas, when a father’s heart is as full as mine is today – as Aña marries the only man on earth worthy of her – I want to add a word of blessing and encouragement.

Aña and Mike, today you formally enroll in the School of Love. You are not entirely new to it; you have been auditing the course for a while; but today begins the exciting part, when you will be taking the course – not for credit but for keeps.

Mediocre as my performance has been, and slow learner that I am, I am still enrolled in that school myself, and I learn something new every day. But the most important things I have learned took me a lifetime to learn. I am only sorry that I didn’t know them when I was your age. So, by way of a blessing, I want to share them with you, but not before returning to St. Paul to emphasize something he says in the passage I just read.

“Love is patient,” St. Paul said, “love is kind.”

“Love is patient; love is kind.” These six words are pure gold. Write them on your hearts, and repeat them to each other.

“Love is patient; love is kind.”

To that I can only add three things which the world we live in today will try its best to hide from you:

The first and greatest is that the secret of happiness is self-sacrifice. Nothing else can make you really happy. This is heresy in our world today; but it is true.

The second is that the secret of intimacy – which is the heart and soul of happiness – is prayer. God is love, and in drawing closer to God in prayer you will draw closer to each other. Prayer is the key to the hidden chamber in the heart where the greatest love is stored. Nothing else will unlock it. So my word of encouragement is: Pray.

As the French philosopher, Maurice Nedoncelle wisely said: “Every human love that omits prayer loses what is finest and most distinctive in the presence of the beloved.”
Pray in the morning. Pray in the evening. Pray at mealtime. Pray together. Pray with your children. Pray when you’re sad or distraught. Pray when you’re joyful. Pray when you feel grateful, and if you don’t feel grateful, pray for a grateful heart.

For the third secret is the secret of gratitude. Life is a gift from God. Be grateful for every moment of it. Gratitude isn’t a response to happiness; it is the path to it. So be grateful. Be grateful in good times and bad, for happiness eludes all but those with a grateful heart.

So my blessing for you is that you will discover these secrets: the secret of self-sacrifice, the secret of prayer and the secret of gratitude, and that having discovered them you will come to know a joy that flows quietly beneath the surface of life, underneath the trials and turmoil that may come your way, subtly reminding you that even heartaches have a religious meaning, and that the only crown worth wearing and the only one that won’t fall off when you stumble is one that has some thorns on it.

Aña’s mother and I love you and give you our most heartfelt blessing, as I do David and Debbie and all these your friends and family.

I pray that God will bless you and your children with great happiness, that you will grow spiritually in one another’s embrace, and that one day you will experience the joy that is in my heart today.

God bless you.

Aña and her Dad

Aña and her Dad at a Father-Daughter Dance
at St. Francis Solano School in the early 1990s.

Aña and her Dad at a Father-Daughter Dance
at Aña's wedding day.


Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for you and for them. My prayers for them, for you and your invaluable work.

Athos said...

A beautiful testimony to a loving father and his family. Congratulations, Aña, Mike, and Gil, from all of us "Mass'keteers".