Editors Share | Wedding Readings

It’s our privilege to be invited into your story and vocation. In gratitude, we love to share ours with you, as well. Today, the team shares the meaning behind the readings used at their wedding Masses.

 

Christina, Associate Editor

First reading, Tobit 8:4b-8: When I was single, St. Raphael was one of my most-loved intercessors, thanks to the book of Tobit--one of the most under-appreciated books in the Deuterocanon. That alone was enough to make this reading a top contender, but in the end we chose it because of the important role prayer has played (and will continue to play) in our relationship, and because the prayer of Tobias and Sarah recounts the establishment of marriage by God in Genesis. It’s like getting two Old Testament readings for the price of one!

Second Reading, 1 Cor. 12:2713:8a: For the longest time, I swore I would never choose this reading for my nuptial Mass, simply because everyone chooses it. But, as my husband Kristian and I were praying about which readings to choose, we kept coming back to St. Paul’s famous “hymn to love.” It is the perfect description of the kind of love Christ has for his Church, and the love Kristian and I strive to show each other.

Gospel, Luke 1: 26-38: We chose this Gospel because it is the preeminent example of the fact that “nothing is impossible for God.” Throughout our single years, Kristian and I both struggled to believe we could, like Mary, trust in the Lord completely and place our lives in his hands. When we met and fell in love, our faith in God’s ability to do the seemingly impossible was renewed. In response to this gift,we hope to make Mary’s fiat our own throughout our life together.

 

Stephanie, Co-Founder + Editor in Chief

First Reading, Tobit 8:4b-8: Valentines’ Day of my sophomore year of college, I read an article by the Vatican’s Zenit News describing several individuals who’d met their future spouses after habitually saying a particular prayer to St. Raphael, the intercessor of Sarah and Tobias’ relationship in the Book of Tobit, the patron of “happy meetings,” and of Christian marriage. Honestly, I was skeptical, but having known the ache of singleness and deep desire to be known and seen, I began saying the prayer daily for my future husband.

God is never outdone in generosity. Three years later, I met my husband, and we continued praying to St. Raphael in thanksgiving, and for friends and family, as we dated. When the time came to choose our wedding readings, an Old Testament reading reflecting our devotion to him seemed like a natural choice. This reading from Tobit, the wedding night prayer of Sarah and Tobias, is beautiful to us for its words of love prevailing over lust and life over death. A love that praises the Father and is life-giving is what we strive for in our marriage, and we revisit these words often.

Second Reading, Eph. 5:2a, 21-33: I have to admit choosing this passage as our Second Reading was partially rooted in defiance. St. Paul’s instruction that wives be subordinate to their husbands is so widely rejected or misunderstood. We hoped for an opportunity to shed some light and clarity on what is actually a beautiful framework for self-giving, self-emptying love that imitates Christ’s own sacrifice. Our priest did illuminate the true meaning of this reading wonderfully in his homily.

Gospel, John 2:1-11: From the start, Our Lady has been the avenue of grace upon grace in our relationship. At Cana, as Jesus readies himself to perform his first public miracle, water into wine, his mother instructs the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” My husband and I loved the fact that it’s at a wedding where Christ chooses to begin revealing his glory, elevating marriage to a sacrament, and moreover, that Our Lady speaks not only to the servants, but to us. Seeking to follow Jesus, through Mary, is a constant pursuit in our marriage, beginning with that Gospel right before we said our vows.

 

Andi, Business Director

First Reading, Genesis 1:26-28, 31a: I love this reading for its simplicity. At the time of our wedding in 2007, the definition of marriage was much less controversial. This is where it all began: God creating man and woman and affirming them as good. He then blesses all of creation and commands them to be fruitful and multiply--something we hoped would happen soon after our wedding.

Second Reading, Eph. 5:2a, 21-33: During my courtship with my husband, my girlfriends and I delved into this passage from Ephesians and what it really meant for husbands and wives. When wives submit themselves to the mission of their husbands, whose role it is to die to themselves for their wives and family. We were blown away by the beauty of it all.

The Gospel we chose is same as Stephanie’s, and we selected it for a similar reason.

 
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Jiza, Co-Founder + Creative Director

Our Lady and the Solemnity of her Assumption played a significant role in our courtship, and since the date of our wedding providentially fell on that day, we decided to have our Nuptial Mass fulfill the Holy Day of Obligation. Our wedding was celebrated as a Solemn High Mass in the Tridentine Latin Rite (Extraordinary Form); within the Extraordinary Form, the readings are on a one-year cycle (vs. a three-year cycle in the Novus Ordo). Therefore, the readings for August 15, our wedding day, are always an Epistle from Judith 13:22-25 15:10, and a Gospel from Luke 1:41-50. It was so special for us to honor Our Lady in such a way.

Your story is a blessing to our community. We look forward to hearing the stories behind your own wedding readings in the comments and on our social media!

Consider a Betrothal Ceremony: What it Is, Why it's Significant + How to Plan One

DOMINIKA RAMOS

 

When my husband and I became engaged, we decided to have a betrothal ceremony. At the time, we knew very few couples who had had one, and fewer people still who knew anything about it. 

A betrothal ceremony, or a Rite of Betrothal, is the traditional way of becoming officially engaged in the eyes of the Church. It's a short but beautiful ceremony, in which the couple solemnly pledges to marry one another on a specified date. We were drawn to the ceremony for several reasons:

As a blessing for our engagement.

My husband and I were both in school during our engagement. In the midst of scouring the web for bridesmaid dresses and trying to keep up with reading for class, it was a lovely pause in our lives to solidify our response to the call of marriage and receive graces that helped make our engagement a period of deeper spiritual enrichment than it might have felt otherwise. 

One element I particularly love about the Rite is that it includes a blessing over the engagement ring. There's a temptation as a newly engaged young woman to scrutinize and compare rings with other engaged friends, yet having your ring blessed can be a powerful reminder to reject comparison. It's a gift to receive your engagement ring again after the ceremony, now transfigured by the blessing into a sacramental. These days when I'm changing diapers or washing dishes and catch a glance of my sacramental engagement and wedding rings, it serves as a reminder to say a quick prayer for my marriage and family. 

As an opportunity for our families to come together to celebrate our engagement.

We tried to keep things simple in planning our wedding, so our betrothal ceremony became the perfect opportunity to get our families together in lieu of having an elaborate engagement party. If you or your fiancé come from a family that isn't particularly religious, the ceremony can be an opportunity to express to them your belief that marriage and family are founded on, and strengthened by, faith.

As a reflection of how seriously we took marriage.

Far more than being a nice thing to do, a Rite of Betrothal contractually obligates the engaged couple to be married on a specific date. What the man has proposed to the woman then becomes a binding agreement, which, if the engagement were to be called off, would have to be formally dissolved by a priest. Thus, for the couple and for the witnesses, the ceremony sets the tone for the gravity of marriage as not merely a declaration of love, but a profound covenant wrought by God.

Betrothals can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish. We held our betrothal ceremony after our parish's Saturday Vigil Mass in the small chapel where we'd gotten engaged, with only our immediate family members present. However, another bride I know had hymns, flowers, formal invitations, and a guest list of fifty.

You might have yours after Sunday Mass with family members and your bridal party and go out to brunch afterwards. You might have a larger ceremony and have a reception in place of an engagement party. Or you might have it at your parents' home, with a private Mass and an intimate dinner, if you have a family friend who is a priest.

Unless your priest is familiar with old and somewhat obscure devotions of the Church, it's likely that he won't have heard of a betrothal ceremony. The priest who did our ceremony (and later celebrated our marriage) happened to be a zealous convert to the faith, so he was thrilled when we introduced him to this tradition. If you're met with hesitation, seeking out a priest who is more comfortable with traditional liturgical practices might be the way to go. 

Engagement is frequently seen as a frustratingly harried waiting period, but it's not. It's a pilgrimage. And a betrothal ceremony is a holy seal and blessing sending you on your way down the path to your vocation--down the path to greater union with God. In a world where the meaning of marriage is constantly misshapen to fit personal desires, a betrothal ceremony is a beautiful and bold way of witnessing to the truth of God's design for this sacrament.

The text for the Rite of Betrothal can be found here.


Dominika Ramos is a native of Houston, Texas though she dreams of spending her days frolicking in the English countryside. She and her husband met at the University of St. Thomas, where she studied English literature, and they were married at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham on the Feast of the Visitation in 2014. Her life is currently composed of running Pax Paper, a hand-lettering and illustration business, blogging about the transcendental aspects of motherhood (among other things) at A Quiet Quest, and chasing after her rambunctious and delightful toddler son.  PAX PAPER | BLOG | INSTAGRAM