I was mesmerized, along with half the world, as William and Catherine said their vows last month. I had just visited Westminster Abbey the month before so I couldn’t wait to see how they’d transformed the church. I expected to be impressed by the style and the pageantry, and I was. It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony. What surprised me was the depth and spirituality of the sermon, given by the Bishop of London. I had no idea anyone could paint such a vivid portrait of the gospel within marriage in such a short homily. Amazing!
He began with a quote from St. Catherine of Siena: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” And said that we are each meant to help our mates become their truest selves. He spoke of weaning ourselves from self-centeredness, about giving of ourselves to enrich our own souls. Sounds like the gospel to me.
And then what really impressed me, he spoke of the fading reality of God in the lives of so many of us in the West, and how it’s led to increased expectations that our partner will complete us and make us happy. True. We’ve come to worship romantic love instead.
C.S. Lewis says that “God is Love” is not the same as “Love is God.” The former has God at its center, as the source of the Flow. With Love is God, the thing we worship is our own idealistic expectations, which inevitably, will let us down.
A royal wedding is undeniably romantic. Watching two people learn to surrender their expectations and grow together into who God meant them to be is even more beautiful.
Do you think most people view love as self surrender or as something more conditional? As a feeling or a choice? What do we do when the romance fades?