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Thursday, 18 October 2018 07:00

Lessons from Newly Married Brides to a Consecrated Sister

 mel josh em

It sure is a year of weddings in the circles of people that I move in! So far this year, I have had the privilege and joy of joining in the celebrations of five couples as they have given themselves to each other in the sacrament of marriage (there is one more to come!). Each wedding had many beautiful and unique expressions of the individuality of the couples, but the common themes of love, desire, commitment and joy radiated powerfully each time. Far from choosing consecrated life because we do not like marriage, consecrated women highly value the gift of marriage and family, and in this way, these celebrations have greatly encouraged me as I live out my own call and vocation as a consecrated sister. Here, are a few reasons why……

  1. No matter what individual vocation we are called to, we all have a common vocation to love by virtue of our baptism. At one of these weddings, the bride chose to honour all those who had a birthday in her wedding month by giving them a beautiful cupcake in the middle of her speech. This wedding happened to be in my birthday month, and I felt deeply blessed by the focus this bride chose to place on others during her special day. She was a beautiful witness of the joy of spreading love by focusing on others – something each of us are able to do no matter what our vocation.
  1. In her speech, another of the brides said something along these lines – that in the loyalty of the man she had just married, she had found freedom. I found my eyes welling up with tears at those words, and they invited me to reflect deeply on the loving loyalty of the one I am wedded to – Jesus. It encouraged and reminded me to always be vulnerable and real with the one that I love above all, so that I too might discover ever growing freedom.
  1. At one of these weddings, I was privileged to read the second reading, taken from Romans where Paul speaks with conviction, saying that there is nothing that can come between us and the love of Christ. This was such a fitting reading for this bride (and her groom), for as well as being one of the most magnanimous people I know, her life and trust in God has always been a tangible witness of the truth of these words of St Paul. On this day, I was blessed to be reminded of this all-powerful aspect of the love of God.
  1. One of these brides has a beautiful relationship with Mary, our Mother (well probably more than one of them, but the story I tell here relates to one in particular) and she has often challenged me to entrust myself to Mary more fully – most likely without realising it. During her wedding Mass, she joined her husband in entrusting herself and their marriage to Mary. I was reminded of a moment I had shared with her months previously. I had prayed with her, and had an image of Mary stroking her face, reminding her that she is always present and close. I felt like that for me was a moment of Mary reminding me that she was close to me as well as I live out my own vocation. At the wedding reception, I was able to spend some time with her new mother-in-law, and this sense of the mothering love of Mary was also powerfully shared with me through the witness of this woman.
  1. Finally, I recall with joy the speech made at one of these weddings by the mother of the bride. She spoke with such joy about the gift of her daughter, and the many ways that she has brought life to others through the person that she is. One of the ways this bride has brought life to me and inspired me is through her willingness to serve. She models what it means to step beyond what seems comfortable or easy. And what’s more, her mum’s speech encouraged me to reflect on the way God the Father would speak about me if he were to give such a speech.

So, thanks to these newly married women in my life who have blessed me with insights and profound moments which have greatly encouraged me in my own call as a consecrated sister.

Mel Edwards