Tuesday, October 01, 2002

I was in Las Vegas this weekend for a wedding in my wife's family (who are not Catholic). This was a high-class affair, and everything was very nice and well done. But it left me thinking some things...

We work so hard and spend so much money to make weddings, baptisms, confirmations, "special." We try so hard to impress others with our great taste. But we forget that these events are special themselves, without any input from us. The only thing we can do is screw it up.

When one of my friends was getting married recently, the advice I gave him is to make things nice enough so that they're not so bad that they're a distraction. If people have to pull out cash to pay for drinks, or the food is cold, or the champagne is flat, or the photographer is rude, that would be distracting.

But when we devote all our time and energy to make things "perfect," we ironically make it more likely that any mistakes or oversights will be magnified. If we keep things simple, and allow the grace and beauty of the sacraments to take center stage, people probably won't notice if the color scheme's a little off or if something's not quite straight. But when we instead make our own decorations or food or whatever the focus, then it's more likely that people will notice what we got wrong.

So my advice to those planning a wedding or a confirmation, or even just a Sunday Mass is to trust the grace of the sacrament. Do enough to eliminate distractions, and then get out of the way so the Holy Spirit can work.
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