I learned three things from lectoring yesterday at my niece’s wedding, and a fourth I don’t want to forget.
The first is that the same old readings are never the same and never old. First and second readings were the two most popular Catholic wedding choices going, Genesis and Corinthians. You’ve heard them so many times you think you know them by heart (though you probably don’t).
But this time, standing before this couple, certain words pop out and resound and suddenly make sense in a way that almost feels like they were waiting all these millennia for the right two people to come along and make you say, “Aha! So that’s what this reading is about!”
It’s always like this when you pray the Scriptures, because you aren’t reading some old story, you are stepping into an interaction between the eternal and the pressing present.
Second: If you can only pray one prayer, try the Litany of Humility. I’m not convinced it’s even necessary to pray the thing all that often, because it’s that powerful of a prayer. Something that struck me as I was reading through the “Love is . . .” series in Corinthians 13 is that all the different aspects of love are fruits of humility. Thus the litany is a two-fer: You can quash your miserable ego and accidentally find yourself becoming a loving person into the bargain.
Try it. You’ll hate it. Until you don’t.
Thirdly, about that liturgy! The Catholic liturgy is extraordinarily dense, and thus exquisitely suited for use by we the extraordinarily dense. I could not help but notice how little anything at all depended on we the people present doing the work, other than that we show up and do it. I don’t mean that it’s anything-goes for the humans: When we cooperate with God, making the effort to know what we’re doing and do it as well as we’re able, the liturgy is better. It’s always better when you work with God rather than against or apart from Him.
I think because I was up there reading (which I only really do at family weddings and funerals), I was more conscious than usual of the part we humans bring to the Mass, and this allowed me to see how much we humans aren’t the ones bringing it. God does the work, we cooperate. The Catholic liturgy is in this way completely opposite of anything else.
And the fourth thing that’s so hard to get through thick human skulls:
Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:8, for your memory-verse purposes.)
That’s the one weird trick.
We try all the other things. We go on and on and on about how we have to do all the other things, because the one thing needed just won’t cut it, quit being so pie-in-the-sky.
But of course, there is pie in the sky, which changes everything. The Persons putting on that party know their business. We dense ones have all these other methods for chasing after human happiness, and it turns out there’s just that one thing that always works. Never fails.
So my feast of St. Lawrence* resolution is to try the one thing.
*Why yes, in keeping with the feast day, it was in fact a barbecue reception.
Infographic courtesy of Together for Life.