Married life is a tangled, beautiful mess of a man and a woman journeying together toward heaven.
Looking back on a marriage, I can’t even keep track of the times I have failed at being a good and holy husband. There are countless times when I went mad about the smallest thing. Usually, something that happened at an inopportune time and I reacted from a vulnerable and broken state. Failure occurs regularly, and it undoubtedly adds to the challenge of the life-long pilgrimage.
Growing older, I find myself looking more at the example of my parents and even more at the rich traditions of my passionately-Catholic, Mexican culture.
Over the past year, my vocation has gained some new clarity. Two elements in the Holy Mass wedding ceremony, the Nuptial Blessing and the Blessing of the Lasso, express deeply symbolic Truths that I am only now beginning to truly appreciate.
2 Elements from the Nuptial Mass for Reflection
After the Lord’s Prayer in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, there is a Nuptial blessing prayed over the newly married couple before they receive communion. Ours was given by the deacon, and there is one section that speaks to my heart
“Look now with favor on these your servants, joined together in Marriage, who ask to be strengthened by your blessing. Send down on them the grace of the Holy Spirit and pour your love into their hearts, that they may remain faithful in the Marriage covenant.”
It’s as if the Church recognizes that we can’t do it without His grace.
All Christians have the command of love, but marriage takes its extreme. Our spouse is a gift that we are responsible for loving like Jesus. There are many times that take everything you have to give in order to love and forgive like Jesus. No matter how horribly or how often we fail, Jesus is there to love and accept us back with open arms. Just like Jesus paid it all upon the cross, it takes all of me.
Blessing and Placing of Marriage Lasso
Mexico, along with other Hispanic cultures, has a centuries old tradition of tying the newly married couple together before the altar. Even as a child, it was my favorite part of the wedding because it was such a visible sign of what was happening in the souls of the bride and groom.
Here is the blessing said at the Holy Mass during the placing of the marriage lasso over our shoulders by the padrinos.
“Esposo y esposa, que eu unirlos con este vínculo, el Rosario de la bienaventurada siempre Virgen María, sea una inspiración para ustedes dos. Recuerden que la santidad necesaria para preservar esta nueva familia, como familia de Dios, sólo se obtiene por medio del mutuo sacrificio y amor. ¡Qué la sagrada familia de Jesús, María y José sea su ejemplo durante toda su vida!”
“Husband and Wife, may the joining together with this lasso, the Rosary of the always Blessed Virgin Mary, be an inspiration for both of you. Remember that the holiness needed to preserve this new family, like the family of God, can only be obtained through mutual love and sacrifice. May the Holy Family — Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — be an example to you during your entire life together!”
There’s a beautiful symbol of the placement on the shoulders that makes it look like a yoke uniting the two in mission and purpose. We have to walk in step and pull together to do the job.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
The shape of the lasso is also in the shape of an 8, similar to a Möbius strip that reflects a constant union.
Married life is hard work, but it is blessed. Marriage leads me more to Jesus because it’s a constant accountability for living out the Christian call to imitate Christ. It’s more than just a romantic ideal of what romantic-comedies idolize.
“And grant that, reaching at last together the fullness of years for which they hope, they may come to the life of the blessed in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through Christ our Lord.”
– From the conclusion of the Nuptial Blessing