A couple of years ago we had friends in from out-of-town and wanted to show them the mosaics in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. I’ve been to the Cathedral on many occasions but this was my first time as “tour guide”. Of course I studied up on the Cathedral and learned that it contains the largest collection of mosaic art in the world. And that several generations of the same family has produced all of the mosaics. I also learned that the Cathedral is the final resting place for Cardinals Ritter, Glennon, and Carberry as well as Archbishop May. I was properly prepared…until we got there.
Upon entering the Cathedral we realized that a wedding was about to take place. I grumbled that they must be VIP’s if they were getting married at the Cathedral. We ducked into a side altar. We just wanted to view the mosaic art but instead we became uninvited guests in someone else’s most personal and joyous day. So we lurked around in the shadows and whispered. It occurred to me that we were not lone interlopers. There were several other small groups of folks just trying to enjoy the beauty of the Cathedral. One sweatshirt clad woman nearly walked up to the altar! We were much sneakier than that. I was certain my “stage whisper” could only be heard by my friends – contrary to my wife’s disapproving glances. So we skulked along on our tour.
And then it occured to me that I was being taken in by the celebration. The priest began his homily and I found myself listening. I stopped pointing to my favorite mosaic (Pentecost) and I listened. It seems that our “wedding couple” was a member of the Cathedral parish. And that they rightly should be married there. The homilist spoke of their love for one another and reminded them that they were partners in Christ. And that they were charged with being the light of Christ to others in their married life. To their future children; to their parents; siblings; friends; and co-workers. I thought about this young couple witnessing to all those that they would encounter in life and I wondered “were these just nice words to say on a wedding day or would this couple make a difference”; would they be “Christ to others”? I said a little prayer for that couple and asked the Holy Spirit to be with them on their journey.
How often do we think about our responsibility to be witnesses to Christ? I often forget that we are called to this in Baptism – to be Christ to one another. What better way than in marriage? We can model Christ’s love for us in the way we love and honor our spouse and our children but equally important is the way that we welcome others into our married lives. I love the words of Joshua “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. My personal challenge is to really live those words.
I’m going to start today by being kinder to my co-workers.