So ‘tis the season of vows and wows.
Who doesn’t get wowed attending an ordination? People who have attended ordinations speak about how moving it is singing with the congregation the litany of saints as the candidates to be ordained lie prostrate on the Cathedral floor. They tell how fortifying it is to witness hundreds of priests coming forward, one-by-one, to place their hands on the heads of the newly ordained and offer a silent prayer.
In the same way, who doesn’t get a little choked up and inspired to see a man and a woman stand before an altar of sacrifice on their wedding day and, with their hands joined, look one another square in the eye and promise “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part”? Who doesn’t feel a surge of emotion at the nuptial blessing when the priest prays for the newly married couple, “In happiness may they praise you, O Lord, in sorrow may they seek you out; may they have the joy of your presence to assist them in their toil, and know that you are near to comfort them in their need.”
Promises and vows elevate us. To make a sincere promise is to become a better person. Whenever I witness someone making a solemn vow or pledge I feel the presence of God and I believe that God is doing something powerful and new. One could argue that there is little that a person can do that is more noble or more admirable than to make a holy promise and then to make a sustained, whole-hearted effort to be faithful to it.
I’m reminded of a great quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
That’s what happens when someone takes a Christian vow or promise. They express a yearning to enter more deeply into the “vast and endless sea” of God’s love – and they inspire others to do the same.
Congratulations to all of the newly vowed! We pledge to your our prayers, support, and gratitude. You inspire us all to be more faithful and loving people.