Why am I in Southern California? A former student from my days at Thomas Aquinas College invited me to witness her wedding at her home parish in Guasti. Let me say how privileged we priests are to be a part of so many good peoples’ sacramental lives. Few things encourage a priest more than witnessing the vows of two devout Catholics. The union of good Catholic families gives us joy today and hope for tomorrow. Thank you, dear young people for getting married! Thank you, dear parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, for preparing your children to shoulder the sweet yoke of Christ through marriage!
At the heart of marriage is silence: an intense love that words would only betray. Weddings can be noisy affairs, but on either side of the raucous reception is the silence of consecration. The priest consecrates bread and wine at their nuptial Mass, and the couples consummate that consecration later that night in wordless self-offering.
Among the reasons marriage is roundly rejected today, I think, is its silence. The world cannot tolerate the quiet sacrifice of self that lies at the heart of marital love. We are a culture addicted to noise. In every airport, in every Uber, in every hotel and restaurant lobby, noise painfully assaults us. At 6 o’clock this morning I thought I would escaped the hotel lobby’s sound sytem by sitting outside. A silent sunrise was unfolding over the eastern hills. To my horror, the hotel had equipped even the taxi rank outside with high-definition speakers. Rap driveled from them as rosy-fingered dawn spread over the mountains. My Uber arrived, and I got in the car with a nice young man at the wheel. Hip hop emanated from the radio. No escape.
Back home I spent an hour in our church before the Blessed Sacrament. Although I could hear the soft sounds of people coming and going, each respected the beautiful silence of God’s presence. How blessed to pastor a church that understands silence! All we did was expose the Blessed Sacrament on the main altar, and the parish grew still, and deep, and beautiful. Jesus will push back the noise for all who come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament. May our newly-married couple stay close to His silent presence, before whom they made their vows yesterday.