Monday, November 19, 2007

60 years: "the ornament and lodestar of the Crown"

Sometimes a couple would come to me saying, “Father, we’re celebrating our wedding anniversary soon. We’ve been married so many years and we’d like to ask you to bless our marriage.”

Usually I’d ask them if we could have the blessing at one of the scheduled parish Masses if possible. Not only is it suitable to commemorate such an event with the Eucharist, especially if the couple has drawn much strength from it throughout their marriage, but it is also fitting that the community celebrates something like this---a long, resilient marriage that has stood the test of time: something that’s becoming more and more an exception these days. My hope is that this also inspires the other married couples out there witnessing the blessing to carry on.

Today the British nation did exactly that, celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of their Queen and her Duke. It can't be easy to remain committed as they have with the glare of the global spotlight on them as three of their own children found out; but Elizabeth and Philip have done it. And because of this, we too celebrate it here because theirs too is an echo of that voice from Eden.

At today's service in Westminster Abbey to mark the anniversary, these words penned for the occasion by the British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion entitled "Diamond Wedding" were read:

Love found a voice and spoke two names aloud---
two private names, though breezed through public air---
and joined them in a life where duty spoke
in languages their tenderness could share.

A life remote from ours because it asked
each day, each action to be kept in view,
and yet familiar in the trust it placed
in human hearts, in hearts remaining true.

The years stacked up and as their weight increased
they pressed the stone of time to diamond,
immortal-mortal in its brilliant strength,
a jewel of earth where lightnings correspond.

Now every facet holds a picture-glimpse:
in some, the family faces and the chance
for ordinary talk and what-comes-next;
in others, shows of pomp and circumstance.

And here, today, the diamond proves itself
as something of our own yet not our own---
a blaze of trust, the oneness made of two;
the ornament and lodestar of the crown.

Elizabeth and Philip during their honeymoon
in Broadlands in Hampshire, England.

Back to Broadlands 60 years later.

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