Doug and Amy asked me to read at their wedding. Today’s the day. May 23, 2015, 5:00 pm, Central Daylight Time.
They also asked me to say a few words after the reading. This is what I will say to them in just a few minutes.
When you asked me to read and gave me a selection of readings to choose from, and then asked if I would say few syllables after the reading, I read over each one, I jotted a few notes, and when I read this one, the letter to the Corinthians, I just started writing — and writing and writing and writing! — I just knew this was the right reading for today. For you. For both of you.
Love is not easy. Love ain’t just flowers and chocolate and jewelry and other nice “things.”
Those are nice. They’re not bad. They help express love. They’re not love.
Love is not about me.
It’s not about you…
Take a look at the person next to you. At the people around you. It’s about them. Love is about them.
Doug, Amy… take a look at the person next to you. It’s about them.
Love never fails. – First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 13:8 (beginning)
We fail. It’s easy to fail! And it’s easier to not admit to failure.
Pompous. Inflated. Rude. Quick-tempered. Brood over injury.
Sorry, honey. Thanks for loving me.
Do not ever stop praying.
Do not ever stop learning.
Do not ever think you have it all figured out.
Love is work.
But love is the reason for all of this.
Love is the reason for everything.
Love is the reason for new life. Love is the reason for all life.
Love sustains us in death. And when we mourn the death of a loved one.
Love is the reason for everything in between.
Love is hard.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child… – First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 13:11a
Don’t think that just because you’re an adult… and you think you reason as an adult, it gets any easier.
You will disagree.
You might argue.
You will be tested.
And… you’re human! So sometimes you will fail!
Pick yourselves up. Dust yourselves off. Admit your mistakes. Ask God for help. Pray to Him for forgiveness.
Never forget His Divine Mercy. Never hesitate to ask for His Divine Mercy!
Love never fails.
Father Leo Clifford was a Franciscan Friar. He passed away in 2012. In the early 2000s, he recorded five seasons of Reflections, brief… 6, 7, 8 minute thoughts… homilies. He had a melodious Irish accent and an almost lyrical manner of speaking. He touches your heart. Grabs your emotions. In one of his Reflections, Philosophy of Life, Father Clifford says:
By definition, you cannot keep love. Love must be given away. You cannot buy love. You cannot barter it. You cannot sell it. You cannot store it. You can only give it away.
A song is not a song until it is sung. A bell is not a bell until it is rung. And love is not love until it is given away…
Isn’t that beautiful?
Sounded so poetic, I wondered if those were his words or a quote. So I did a little research.
My best guess is he borrowed it. Paraphrased the words of Oscar Hammerstein II.
Hammerstein wrote these words for the Broadway musical, The Sound of Music. Before the Reprise of Sixteen Going on Seventeen, Maria says (sings) the following to Liesl:
A bell is no bell till you ring it
A song is no song till you sing it
And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay
Love isn’t love till you give it away…
God is Love. God gave us Love so that we can give it away.
Look around. See all this? It’s His. And it’s ours because He loves us!
We give it all back to God. We leave nothing behind. We give everything back to God.
Welcome to our family, Amy. We’re honored to have you.
Never stop honoring and loving your wife, Doug. Even through difficult times.
Congratulations, Doug and Amy. Lots of love to both of you.
Here’s the reading:
A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians
1 Cor 12:31-13:13
Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The Word of the Lord.