If someone asked you what was said in the Nuptial Blessing at a wedding, would you know?
This rather lengthy prayer is tucked between the Exchange of Consent and the Our Father and if you aren’t paying attention, you may miss one of the most beautiful prayers of the entire liturgy.
Why is this prayer particularly beautiful?
The Nuptial Blessing not only blesses the couple who are now husband and wife, but it gives us a look into the sacredness of marriage, God’s plan for marriage, and the many blessings He has in store for the couple kneeling before the altar.
O God, who by your mighty power
created all things out of nothing,
and, when you had set in place
the beginnings of the universe,
formed man and woman in your own image,
making the woman an inseparable helpmate to the man,
that they might be no longer two, but one flesh,
and taught that what you were pleased to make one
must never be divided;
O God, who consecrated the bond of Marriage
by so great a mystery
that in the wedding covenant you foreshadowed
the Sacrament of Christ and his Church;
O God, by whom woman is joined to man
and the companionship they had in the beginning
is endowed with the one blessing
not forfeited by original sin
nor washed away by the flood.
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.
May the grace of love and peace
abide in your daughter [name],
and let her always follow the example of those holy women
whose praises are sung in the Scriptures.
May her husband entrust his heart to her,
so that, acknowledging her as his equal
and his joint heir to the life of grace,
he may show her due honor
and cherish her always
with the love that Christ has for his Church.
And now, Lord, we implore you:
may these your servants
hold fast to the faith and keep your commandments;
made one in the flesh,
may they be blameless in all they do;
and with the strength that comes from the Gospel,
may they bear true witness to Christ before all;
(may they be blessed with children,
and prove themselves virtuous parents,
who live to see their children’s children.)
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.
I had just exchanged vows with my now husband and as I knelt before the altar, this prayer helped me to more fully understand the sacredness of the sacrament I had just entered and the significant change that just occurred.
In the very first paragraph of this prayer, we learn that God himself ordained that man and woman be joined together from the beginning of the universe. This covenant between man and woman is so good and so protected by God that it was not destroyed by original sin!
This prayer also highlights the fact that God uses the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to foreshadow the Sacrament of Christ and His Church. On my wedding day, I entered into a mystery, and that mystery is used day in and day out to point to an even greater mystery. It is used to show others the love and fidelity Christ has for His Church, but also the love and fidelity Christ has for me personally.
The way my husband loves me helps me to understand more fully the love Christ has for me. His care and devotion is only a mere reflection of Christ’s, but it has been such a grace to grow closer to Christ by my husband’s example.
As the blessing continued, I could clearly see what God’s plan for our marriage was: to get to heaven. Not only this (as this jumps to the end of the blessing), but how my husband and I are called to accomplish this end goal.
First, we are called to “remain faithful in the Marriage covenant”. We just made vows to each other before God, and we are not to break those. That one is pretty clear, but then the prayer continues on and instructs wives to “follow the example of those holy women whose praise are sung in the Scriptures” and husbands to “entrust his heart” to their wives.
In marriage, we are to grow in holiness through dedication to one another and vulnerability.
The reality is, when you get married, God gives you all the grace you need to not only “survive”, but thrive. We must only ask for an outpouring of grace when hard times hit, and God is sure to deliver.
In this prayer, we hear the woman is blessed with grace and love, that the couple is blessed with the needed strength to bear witness to the Gospel, and in turn, one day enter into paradise together.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is powerful, the grace of God pulses through the relationship between husband and wife, drawing each other closer to Him and their ultimate goal: eternity.
So, next time you are at a wedding, pay close attention to this prayer and reflect on the beauty of the sacrament that has just occurred. And, if you are already married, recall your own wedding day and ask the Lord for an outpouring of grace on you and your spouse.
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