Eleven years ago, I married my wonderful wife, Michelle. I have it on good authority that her dress shopping some months before our wedding was an overall positive experience. Emotional, yes, but positive.
It seems, though, that plenty of similar shopping trips don’t go as well. If you’ve not experienced one of those yourself, there are ample examples on television. Shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” could be retitled “Say Yes to the Stress” or, perhaps, “Say &%$! to your maid of honor”. Some people, I’m sure, are just overtaken by the emotion or caught up in the excitement. But I think its clear that at least some of those brides take their special place too far. It’s another sign of original sin. It’s an aspect of our concupiscence – our tendency to sin – that we’re tempted to take advantage of the spotlight. Sin makes us all stupid. It can make a bride into a “bridezilla.”
It does that to members of the Bride of Christ, as well. It is all too easy to let The Way become My Way. “Thy will be done” becomes “Thy will be done, when it doesn’t inconvenience me.”
As a groom, it was my pleasure to yield the spotlight to my beautiful bride. The day was hers – not because she was winning such a prize but because she was (and is) so prized. It was a joy to let her shine as she came down the aisle, as she stood with me before the altar, and, later, as we danced at the reception.
That role is just a faint echo of Christ as the Bridegroom. He, too, lets the spotlight fall on His bride, the Church. In addressing how God comes to meet man, the Catechism cites Dei Verbum, saying:
“God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church – and through her in the world – leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.” (CCC para 79; DV 8)
Dei Verbum‘s matrimonial language is found in the writings of Sts. John and Paul. St. John quotes John the Baptist (Jn 3:29). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all quote Jesus describing Himself as the bridegroom. (Mt 9:15, Mk 2:19, Lk 6:34; cf Mt 25:1-13)
It’s almost like they’re trying to tell us something.
Let’s consider just one drop in the ocean of this analogy. The citation from the Catechism tells us that “God… continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son.”
Why do Catholics put intermediaries between God and men? Because God does. Why does He? Perhaps it’s because He loves His Church so much.
He loves to let her shine.
God cannot be outdone in generosity, and He loves to share His goodness and power with others. What happens, though, when someone assumes on that generosity? They forget, if only temporarily, what it means to be in the Bride of Christ. They become a “bridezilla” that has forgotten what its really all about – that while the spotlight is on the bride, the day is about something, and Someone, more.
Copyright © 2013, Joe Wetterling