Monday, July 4, 2011

Homily for The Holy Marriage of Jody David Lent & Rachel Louise Keller


Matthew19:4-6; Ephesians 5:1-2, 22-33; Genesis 2:7, 18-24

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

St. Clement of Alexandria said that “Marriage is more than human; it is a microbasileia (a miniature kingdom), which is the little house of the Lord (a little church).” This is most certainly true, for Holy Marriage is the premiere human institution, instituted by God in Paradise when His creation was new and pure and when man and woman and marriage where unblemished images, icons, of the Holy Trinity.

God instituted Holy Marriage that we might know something about our Holy Triune God by experiencing and participating in His life, His dominion, and His love. God created our First Parents in His image with an intellect and will unique amongst all His creatures. He created them in holiness and in righteousness, with the capacity to give life and love and to lay down their life in selfless, sacrificial love for the other. God created Adam in a special way distinct from all else that He had made and then He made Eve in a distinct way out of Adam’s side so that when God brought her to Adam he recognized her to be his own bone and his own flesh. Both the man and the woman recognized the other as the completion of their self, and God reunited the two that were separated and blessed their union declaring them to be one flesh.

Though, after the Fall, the image of God in man became tarnished and corrupted, it was not destroyed, and still we catch a glimpse of God’s life and love when we act in selfless love, mercy, charity, grace, kindness, peace, and forgiveness toward others. But the union of a man and a woman in Holy Marriage as instituted and blessed by God is an icon of the Holy Trinity in a unique and special way. Husbands and wives together are an icon of the Holy Trinity in their one-flesh union in which neither is greater or less than another, but together they share dominion as kings and queens of the microbasileia (the little kingdom, the little church) that is their home and family. For, Holy Marriage is a kingship, but a kingship, not of tyranny and subjugation, but a kingship of stewardship and of martyrdom, that is, a kingship of love. God crowned His creation by creating man, male and female He created them, and God crowned our First Parents as king and queen over all of His creation. God crowned them to be stewards of His creation and stewards of each other’s body and life. And God crowned them to be martyrs, called to die to their selves for the sake of the other in perfect, selfless love. And then, at last, God crowned them and He blessed them that they would participate with Him in the ongoing creation of life as the two, sacrificially united in selfless love in a one-flesh union, would bring forth a new and third life that would be the fruit of each of their bodies and lives bearing forth new life in communion with, and to the glory of, the Holy Trinity.

Holy Marriage is an icon of our Holy Triune God, for it is a communion of persons who give to and receive from each other, who are so closely bound together by their love for each other that, in a way that we cannot understand, they are one flesh. Just as there is no human equation in which 1+1+1 = 1, so neither is it possible according to human reason and understanding that 1+1 should = 1 or that two should become one flesh. For, just as the Holy Trinity is a mystery, so too Holy Marriage is a lesser mystery. And yet, our experience in Holy Marriage, as two become one flesh, offers us, not only a glimpse into the mystery of the Holy Trinity but also an experience of the selfless and sacrificial love that is the essence of the Holy Trinity.

Jody and Rachel, as we your friends and family together behold you this day, just moments away from giving yourselves to each other in Holy Marriage, we are blessed to behold in you an image, an icon of our First Parents in the Garden of Eden. We are blessed to behold in you an icon of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Bride the Church. And we are blessed to behold in you an icon of our Holy Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For, that is what you are becoming, a new image, an new icon of selfless, sacrificial love in the one-flesh union of holy marriage that our Triune God has created and instituted and even now calls you to. God will place crowns upon your heads; they will be crowns of dominion, crowns of love, and crowns of martyrdom, and yet they will not be multiple crowns, for they are all but one crown, the Martyr’s Crown, the crown of Jesus Christ, and they will make you to be an icon of God’s holy love in the one-flesh union of Holy Marriage, the sweetest martyrdom.

God is love. And God has revealed His love in creation, in redemption, and in sanctification. And, your Holy Marriage is to be a reflection of His love and a participation in His love in creation, in redemption, and in sanctification. For, Jody, today you will be crowned a king in a new family. You will be a king like your King Jesus, a Servant King, a Martyr King, as you sacrifice yourself for the sake of Rachel, your wife, your body, bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh. Your only desire every day of your life will be for her salvation that she may be presented to the Lord just as He has made her to be in His holy, innocent, shed blood, in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. You are to be the steward and husband of her body and soul and you are be her king and pastor and love and serve her as the queen of your kingdom and as the little church that is your home just as Christ loved His Bride the Church and gave Himself up for Her.

And Rachel, today you will be crowned a queen in a new family. You will be a queen like unto the Holy Church of which Jesus Christ is the Head. You are to stand by your husband as his helpmate, equal to him in all things, yet you are to willingly submit to him as your head just as the Church submits to Christ Her Head. By submitting to your husband you show him love, honor, and trust as you likewise do to the Lord. And, as Jody will guard and protect the salvation of your body and soul, so do you have stewardship of the salvation of his body and soul.

Jody, Rachel, today you will be crowned with the Martyr’s Crown, for today you will die in the sweetest of martyrdoms. Each of you will die to yourself, for the sake of the other, and you two will become one flesh. The words of St. Paul on marital equality are clear: “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” For a husband and a wife belong to each other as martyrs, they belong to God as royalty, and they are called to treat each other accordingly. For, that is what it means to love, to die to yourself. This is why, and this is how, Holy Marriage is an icon of God, because Holy Marriage is an opportunity for you to show selfless, sacrificial, life-bestowing love to one another, and Holy Marriage is an opportunity for you to receive such selfless, sacrificial, life-bestowing love yourself.

No one is created to live for himself. It is not good that the man should be alone. But, love requires an object, a lover requires a beloved, and a sacrifice requires a cause, and the cause is love itself. God has revealed Himself in love, in creation, in redemption, and in sanctification, and your Holy Marriage will be an icon of His love and a participation in His love in creation, in redemption, and in sanctification.

Jody, Rachel, always remember that your Holy Marriage, instituted and blessed by our Holy Triune God, is an icon of God’s own Divine Family. As you sacrifice yourselves one for the other, two becoming one flesh; and as, if God should so bless you, you are fruitful and bear children – remember always the third partner in your marriage – your Lord Jesus Christ. It was God who brought Adam and Eve together because He desired for them to know the love and fulfillment of His own Divine Family. He is the love that binds you and makes you one flesh; and He has promised to be with you always. Call upon Him daily for your needs. Thank Him daily for your blessings. Make Him the Lord of your hearts and of your Holy Marriage – and He will bless you and your Holy Marriage. You will be fruitful. And your one flesh union will be “very good.”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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