My first Roman Catholic wedding experience
Yesterday, one of my best friends got married. It was a really great day. I was present on the day he and his lovely wife first met about 7.5 years ago at a high school house party the Summer after 12th grade, so that made it extra cool for me. It was also really nice to see my friend show emotion, as he usually doesn’t. There was no doubt that this was the greatest day of his life, and that of his new wife’s. It’s really cool to get to watch a close set of friends experience something so great that you can experience with them as a well-wishing close observer. On top of it being a great day in terms of the wedding, it was also great in that I got to meet a lot of really nice people, and see a lot of really nice people that I do not see all that often anymore. And there was an open bar. So, all-in-all, a great day and night.
This was my first Catholic wedding. I’ll comment on it a little bit below.
As an atheist, there were obviously going to be things said that I wouldn’t agree with. I figured that there would be references to Jesus being the Savior, and God being the Creator. That much was pretty expectable. I also expected there to be numerous Biblical references that expressed valuable gems of wisdom. Things having to do with cherishing your new spouse, your friends, your family, and the like. Good stuff. There was one thing, though, that shocked me. I cannot remember where in the Bible this was read from (though I believe that I remember it to have been taken from Psalms; if not Psalms—though I do think it was Psalms—then Second Samuel; both of these are books of the Old Testament), but the message that was repeated numerous times was “Blessed are those who fear the Lord”. This was one of if not the core message of the passage. I really did not get why this was a passage that a Priest would encourage the reading of at a wedding. Why, at a wedding, would a religious community think it a good idea to select a passage which emphasizes fear of the supposed heavenly father? It’s supposed to be a happy day. This passage also brought to mind the issue of morality. Does it really count as morality if one acts in certain prescribed ways—or believes that they are only acting in these ways—simply out of fear of a supposed universal dictator? If one is at a convenience store and the only reason that they do not steal a candy bar is because they believe that a police officer is looking at them, are they really acting morally? I would have thought that moral behaviour came not from fear of punishment, but from a genuine respect and consideration for the well-being of others and society. If I were to write my own moral code and were to use terms such as “blessed”, I would probably say something like “Blessed are those who are willing to fore-go personal benefits out of consideration for the well-being of others”.
As I said, it was a really great day and I’m really glad that I got to share in it. That one passage was the only thing that caught me off guard.