For many years I heard phrases such as: “religious life is a higher calling than marriage” and “those who choose religious life want to live their lives entirely for the Lord.” But I rarely heard language which edified and elevated the vocation of married life. That was until I took a course with Dr. Timothy O’Malley on the Nuptial Mystery. This vocation, which can seem so ordinary, was illuminated through Scripture and the works of many theologians. I finally was able to grasp intellectually that which I had always known to be true—that the Sacrament of Marriage is holy and sacred, an icon of Christ’s love poured out for us on the Cross.
One of the Gospel readings that can be used at a Nuptial Mass is John 15:12–16, the account of Jesus at the Last Supper, in which he tells his disciples to love one another as he has loved them and that “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). At first glance, this is a beautiful passage in which Jesus challenges us to a heroic, saintly love—a love that is sacrificial and self-emptying. Clearly, a very fitting passage for a newlywed couple who is about to embark on a lifelong journey of love.