Monday, July 10, 2017

On writing the Nuptial Mass Petitions

I wrote the Nuptial Mass Petitions for a few weeks, telling Husband and Number Six, and occasionally Number Three, of my progress. I am not sure how it started, but my petitions--which were commissioned by the bride and groom themselves, mind you--began being referred to as my "encyclical"... good grief--they were not that long! Truth be said, they were definitely reduced in time to an acceptable length, even if Fr. Andrew himself called them "long, as you intimated" when I sent them to him for his approval.

In any event that, I must confess something very embarrassing: after writing (and undergoing the adverb- and adjective-phobic edits of Number Six), I thought I was quite familiar with the poetic, all-encompassing petitions I so laboriously and prayerfully wrote. But then the nuptial mass began, and Husband and I were sitting there, like in a heavenly dream, his arms around me, I incapable of stopping the flow of tears.

I couldn't stop thinking of Mamae, looking from heaven above, present in her beautiful Mother-of-pearl rosary the bride was holding--of how not one of my family members was present--so many siblings, raised in God's love and faith, with her example of devotion: my mom on her knees after communion, my mom kneeling by her bed at bedtime prayer, my mom's words of confidence in God's providence, my mom telling stories of the great saints, and humble, holy acquaintances with their examples of faith. We all grew up under this loving mother, and here was a holy wedding, a fruit of her example and prayers, and not a single of her many children--except for me, mother of the bride, celebrating this most beautiful sacrament with our family. I knew of the practical reasons they couldn't come, and they were definitely important, but I also knew most of them no longer care about this or any sacrament, or believe in their value--but the heart is pierced anyway.

I thought of all that the beautiful young bride has gone through, her incredible resilience, profound faith, and discipline in face of a huge academic load, numerous jobs, and tragedy during her college years... her indomitable faith, the kindness and virtues she has shown from her early years at home. Her childhood years came to mind when she was so helpful at home, how she would be the one waking up very early and going to daily mass with me back when early mass before Husband left for work was such a treat. How this daughter has been the one who has shown so much tenderness through all our years...

I thought of how she was now starting her married life, and rightly switching her priorities to husband and home and family--and never more she would be the carefree daughter, companion, sweet child of mine the same way. How her married life, with its inevitable sorrows and crosses, was about to begin for her. The tears kept streaming, and the guests behind me passed tissues down. 

So here were were, the tears streaming, the heart heavy, and the groom's sister begins to read the petitions. The petitions I wrote, but petitions all of sudden I couldn't even remember writing.

And I sobbed, quite loudly. To the text of my own writing.

Number One, ever attentive and concerned, looked over as if surprised I was actually in one piece and not scattered around the church floor, in mushy heaps.

I heard the petitions, long, poetic, and so beautifully and reverently read, and I thanked God who helped and guided me through the writing process. I pray them again here as I copy them.

Isabel & Matthew’s Nuptial Mass


God, Lord of Love,
we ask you that this faithful couple, Isabel and Matthew,
newly joined in holy matrimony,
may enjoy health and well-being all of their days together.
That they make a happy home, a joyful haven of family love;
that from their home, charity will radiate outward,
bringing light and hope into the world:

We pray to the Lord:
LORD, hear our prayer

God, Lord of Beauty,
we are called to transform our culture today.
We ask that Matthew and Isabel, whom you have endowed with the gift of music, will lead others closer to you,
 by bringing harmony into the world and glory to your Holy Name.

We pray to the Lord:
LORD, hear our prayer

God, Lord of Life,
we ask that Isabel and Matthew be granted fruitful love, welcoming children into their family;
that they bear faithful witness to our Lord Jesus as they raise their children in peace, order, and stability,
And that they may live to see their children and grandchildren thrive as Christian men and women. 

We pray to the Lord:
LORD, hear our prayer

God, Lord of Mercy,
we ask that Matthew and Isabel’s door will be always open,
offering hospitality to the young and old,
the rich and poor, to visitors from near and far.
May their guests experience a reflection of God’s love and life,
and take that Joy with them into the world.

We pray to the Lord: 
LORD, hear our prayer

God, Lord of Light,        
bless Isabel and Matthew’s covenant, and guide them with your Grace through the joys and sorrows of this earthy life together.
That all of us here, united in prayer for the newly married couple,
remain eloquent witnesses to the teachings of the Church
on the sacred role of marriage and family in society.
We pray to the Lord:
LORD, hear our prayer

God, Source of all Life,
we ask you that you bless with eternal life those who have passed from this life marked with faith,
especially those beloved to Matthew and Isabel:
Claudio & Lucia Braga,
Mike Henebry,
Charles Wilson,
and Alvin & Rita Slama.
May they rest in peace, dwelling in the perpetual light of Christ. 

We pray to the Lord:
LORD, hear our prayer

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