O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Fire of Love

I recently "shared" this photo on Facebook and thinks it needs more exposure. This is what the Sacrament of Marriage is designed to look like. A man and a woman, after a period of discernment (called "betrothal") as to whether marriage is their vocation or not, present themselves to God in Church, that He might conform them to His love that they might take care of each other and lead each other to Heaven. It is not based on their emotions and desires toward each other, but rather on the love God places between them to join them together. It is not something the couple does themselves or accomplishes themselves, but rather something God does to them.

As to the picture itself, I love the canopy over the tabernacle. It is a bit peculiar that the altar seems to be set up for Benediction instead of Mass, but oh well. I'm sure the front of the altar is very beautiful when there aren't four people and an Apparition in front of it. On Fb I commented on the windows in the picture, which teach us a good bit about the Sacrament of Marriage (teaching after all is one of the main functions of Sacred Art):
I particularly like the two stained glass windows. On the Epistle side, there is what appears to be a vine with branches. That passage is read in the Rite of Betrothal (to remind the couple that with God they can do anything, but without Him they can do nothing).

On the Gospel side, there is a dove, two tongues of fire and two chalices. The chalice is a biblical symbol of suffering, and fire a biblical symbol of love and the Holy Ghost, Who is also represented by the dove. This reminds us that Marriage is a vocation from God, and love, if genuine, is a grace of the Holy Ghost. This symbolizes love far more precisely than the tacky symbol of two rings on a cross.