It is wedding season, and the joy and beauty are palpable at each and every ceremony we have the privilege of attending. We are blessed to walk with such holy couples on their journey to the sacrament of marriage.

There’s nothing quite like the wedding Mass, is there? The ritual, the emotions, the wonder and awe of God’s provision. I can see and hear the glory of Adam as he proclaimed, “At last this one is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.”

The joining of woman and man is a holy, sacred and utterly beautiful moment. I wish my children could experience this. I wish they could see, feel and hear these moments in their glory.

Unfortunately, the modern evolution of weddings has become quite commercial, an emphasis on an aesthetic rather than a celebration of the union. The expense has become astronomical, taking away the ability to include everyone one might want to be present to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

As a parent of many children, who sees the influence of the world creeping in, I desperately want them to see couples who are willing to lay down their lives for each other. I want them to feel the Holy Spirit Who rushes into the sanctuary blessing the union and all those in attendance.

I want them to see married couples, young and old, holding hands, remembering their vows. I want them to see hands raised in prayer and praise, a father who gives away his daughter, and a groom who stands at the end of the aisle awaiting his beloved, a bride who has eyes only for her soon-to-be husband,

What young people today are seeing are reality shows of “Bridezillas,” “Say Yes to the Dress” and the concept of a wedding being cost prohibitive. They need to be present and witness holy, joy-filled couples choosing marriage.

I have long been pondering how to remedy this, so children young to almost adulthood can be present at both the Mass and the reception. We have attended wedding receptions recently where the dreaded garter toss has been replaced by washing of the feet, where the groom washes the feet of his bride. It is incredibly touching and sacrificial, a visual representation of Christ’s love for His Church.

Our children need to see this. Celebrations such as these need the sound of children, the laughter, the gurgles, the whispers and the awe. The mother who looks at her teenage daughter’s eyes of wonder and smiles and squeezes her hand in understanding. A father who nods to his son, as realization of what the groom is giving to his bride sets upon his young face. Couples who share in the dancing, the merriment, the holy moments.

Jesus chose a wedding for his first miracle. The celebration is important. Somehow, we need to find our roots as a people who celebrate family and children, making it possible for these holy, bright and beautiful couples to share their witness of love and fidelity to the young people.

I see this is as a remedy to a time forgotten where the community was treated as family, and all gathered to celebrate in God’s name. Jesus reminds us all to “let the children come to Him.” He is so very present within the union of two hearts at a wedding!

May we all take up the challenge to find ways for all to be present and experience this joy.

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