This Saturday, it is likely that billions of people around the world will tune in to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married.
Some people will watch because of the fairy tale nature of a royal wedding as a prince marries a woman destined to be a beautiful princess. Others will watch because of the celebrity factor: Markle was a star even before all the attention brought by her engagement to a member of the British royal family.
I think there’s a deeper reason that will draw billions of people to watch the royal wedding. It’s about love.
Harry and Meghan are choosing love, and their choice, like that of every married couple, is an embrace of sacrifice over selfishness. So when you tune in to the royal wedding, by all means, savor the spectacle. Take in the beauty of people, of flowers, of music, and of the whole occasion. But remember that a marriage is not the wedding.
Harry and Meghan are choosing love, and their choice, like that of every married couple, is an embrace of sacrifice over selfishness.
Marriage is a life of love, whether “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” These two young people are promising to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives. It’s beautiful and holy and against the grain of an all-about-me world.
Especially watching a wedding, it’s tempting to reduce love to a feeling. And, of course, sometimes love is a feeling. We fall in love, and it is wonderful.
In a celebrity wedding, it’s easy to think that Hollywood’s definition of love is the one that counts: whenever we are truly in love, there will be a swelling soundtrack and perhaps even fireworks. If love is difficult or boring, we must not be doing it right. But love is much more than that.
Christian love is work, beautiful work. Christian love means caring for others, even when it is not easy or convenient. Christian love means sacrificing for the good of others. In all that, Christian love brings a deep joy that surpasses all understanding.
Marriage is the sacrament of Christian love, reminding us how Jesus Christ loved his church. A marriage manifests a lifetime of joy, hope, peace, and sometimes work, sacrifice, and sorrow.
In a marriage, not only are two people’s lives made better, but so too is the whole world. For in every marriage, we create an outpost of love. I’ve now been married just over 25 years, and I am always glad to welcome others to this life.
When I was a parish priest, I sometimes thought that newly married couples have no idea what they’re getting into, both the immense joy they’ll receive and the hard work marriage requires.
In this world of violence and degradation, where some people have untold wealth while others starve, it gives a ray of hope to see people willingly commit to a lifetime of love.
The royal wedding preacher, Bishop Michael Curry often says, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” To put that another way, every act of love is all about God.
Thanks be to God for the gift of Christian love. I hope the depth of this love will speak to millions upon millions as they watch the royal wedding. I hope it changes us all, just a little, to make us better. For in the end, it’s all about love.