“In this entire world there is not a more perfect, more complete image of God, Unity and Community. There is no other human reality which corresponds more, humanly speaking, to that divine mystery.” – Blessed Pope John Paul II on Marriage & Family
Today my in-laws celebrate FIFTY years, as in 5-0 or 5 decades, of marriage, life, love, and family — an incredible milestone, and certainly an inspiration!!! Wanting to pray for them and honor them in a special way this day, I found this beautiful “Blessing for a Golden Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Rite” (for full version, follow link).
Beloved of Christ: “Wedlock is a holy thing and it should be dealt with in a holy manner.” This is the teaching of the Council of Trent. Evidently you subscribe wholeheartedly to this solemn pronouncement, because you begin the festivities of your golden wedding anniversary in the house of God. You are come to render thanksgiving to Him for His benevolent favors of the past fifty years, and to entreat His benediction upon you for the years that remain. You return as devout pilgrims today to the altar of God, where in your youth you were made joyful and glad with the marriage sacrament. You were married in Christ, and the Lord has continued these many years to be your portion in happiness and your chalice in sorrow, just as you live in hope that He will bequeath an everlasting inheritance when the journey comes to an end.
On the day of your wedding, so long past, grace was laid up in your souls through the sacrament which you administered to each other. Today you stand before the world as a striking testimony of what God’s grace, conferred in matrimony, can effect in the husband and wife who will work along with the divine treasure that is in them. Our world has great need of the living sermon which your example of fidelity and loyalty dins into its ears. All who validly receive the sacrament of matrimony are meant to be sanctified and strengthened for the duties and for the dignity of their state, but sad to say not all use the powers of grace laid up in the soul by this sacrament. Because so many married folks have gone astray from the living God and turned to the false gods of their own inordinate whims and desires, we are confronted on all sides by the spectacle of overwhelming unhappiness and frustration that plagues our present society. Hatred between spouses, adultery, divorce, race suicide, unbridled selfishness, broken homes, forsaken children — these are the accursed fruits resulting when the grace of matrimony lies unused and its duties neglected. But now that we have mentioned these evils in protest and warning for the ears that can benefit from the Church’s solemn admonition, let us turn quickly from these unpleasant considerations, so offensive to the devout people of God, and instead take inspiration and courage from the lessons afforded by this happy occasion.
We are inclined to believe that you have lived the years of wedlock in imitation of the chaste nuptials of Christ with His Church, that your love for each other has resembled Christ’s love for His spotless Bride, and that as Christ is the Savior of the Church, so you have been to each other a savior, helping each other to grow in holiness and in true love for God and neighbor. Thus it has come about that now there is found in your marriage peace, dignity, happiness, and security. Of course, it is no secret that your way has not been easy at all times. You have had to endure suffering together. You have often been nailed to the cross of sacrifice. There have been temptations to overcome. You have been put to the test of heroic generosity and unselfishness, so that you might patiently bear each other’s weaknesses and imperfections. But because you have been subject to God, you have subdued the rebellion of the flesh. With God’s help you have been enabled to accomplish what of yourselves you would not have been able.
In the name of Christ, of the Church and all her children who are present, as well as in my priestly office, I extend heartiest congratulations to you and all good wishes for your future years together. Shortly we shall offer the Holy Sacrifice in praise and thanksgiving to our heavenly Father for the great work He has wrought in you. In the course of the Mass let us also beseech the Most High to be ever at your side in His full power and glory, assisting you to continue and to persevere unto the end, so that the wedlock kept holy on earth may adorn you for the hour in which the heavenly messenger comes to conduct you to the divine nuptials of the Lamb of God.
Happy Golden Anniversary, Mom & Dad! We wish you many more years of love, joy, health, and blessings.