Below is the beautiful “Exhortation Before Marriage” from the 1962 Roman Ritual. In the Catholic marriage rite before Vatican Council II, many priests used this to form at least part of their sermon.
As a little boy, I remember my mother pointing me in the direction of the night sky to view the moon and the stars. I recall her enthusiasm for me to appreciate the moonlight and the myriad of stars populating the darkness. She told me about moon phases, the North Star, and the Big Dipper. I could tell she found beauty and consolation in the night sky. Her delight in the heavens became mine. In those days, there was less artificial light to interfere with stargazing.
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Some days in the Liturgical season, by their cultural and religious nature, lend themselves better to celebrating as a family than others—such as Christmas and Easter. Yet, every Solemnity, Memorial, or Feast in the Catholic Church is worthy of acknowledging in some special way. For families, additional feast days can offer beautiful teachable moments and the creation of lifetime memories. This month, the Church will celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, commemorating the entry of Mary into heaven—body and soul. The Assumption falls into the category of “Solemnity,” which means it is among the highest rank feast days celebrating a mystery of faith.
When we are in the company of younger family members, we often pose questions about school, interests, and summer activities. Favorite subject? College major? What are they reading for fun? What are they doing for the summer? There are so many things about which to ask.
The first morning glory blossom recently appeared in our garden. The plant climbs and clings to the fence in the background. Each year, we await the invisible seeds to sprout, and we watch as the plant begins to trail and bring forth flowers. We marvel at the depth of color and the vitality of the growing vine. The background is an important part of the picture.
Today’s gospel is one that gets a reaction. For some, it’s a justification to say God is unreasonable. For others, it’s a reason to look more deeply into our relationships with God, our families, and our friends.