“There is no greater accompaniment on the road to heaven than the accompaniment that spouses offer to one another and to their families,” Archbishop J. Michael Miller told 200 couples gathered at St. Francis Xavier Church in Vancouver for the annual Marriage Anniversary Mass.
“On this Mother’s Day, the good Lord has brought us together to give him thanks and praise for the 6,800 years of married life,” he said. “This includes two couples married for 70 years or more; and a great many more who have been married for 60 plus years.”
The archbishop applauded the couples for their commitment to “patience, a willingness to forgive and gentle kindness,” the “virtues that are necessary if love is last.”
He thanked the couples for bearing witness to the truth of these virtues and for making their families “a domestic church, where the Lord is recognized as the bond holding all its members together.”
“Each of you brings to this Mass your own story about the disappointments and joys that have marked your married life. Today it is good to recall with gratitude where and how you first met, the details of your courtship, how your love for each other survived the times of trial you undoubtedly faced, how your families have grown and, for many of you, how your children have spread their wings, blessing you with grandchildren and even great grandchildren,” he said.
“Marriage makes visible what love really means. True love, to which our jubilarians bear such eloquent witness, is sacrificial, faithful, and fruitful. True love gives life and is a reason for joy,” he said.
Above all the archbishop commended couples for their fidelity to each other.
“On the day of your marriage, you solemnly promised to each other and before the Lord himself that “for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health,” he said. “These promises sealed your covenant with each other and before the Lord.”
“Whereas our culture prizes the right to constantly change one’s mind, your witness reminds us of a deeper truth: that human beings are made for a love which is lasting, one that is not merely passing, one that is not just temporary,” he said.
“On the day of your marriage, dear friends, by your promise to love each other until death does you part, you received this awesome vocation of giving expression to God’s divine love. While this vocation might not have been evident on your wedding day, it has, I hope, grown clearer over the years. As you have been growing in love for each other, remember that each one of you has the calling of leading your spouse – your husband or your wife – with God’s grace, to a deeper and more intimate relationship with him. Marriage has been – and still is – your path to holiness. You are each other’s companion and guide on the way to the Father’s house,” he said.