I awoke on the morning of my wedding with a deep peace in my heart and a stillness in my mind. The butterflies in my stomach I had always expected to feel on my big day simply weren’t there. I had never felt a peace like this before. This peace I felt was an affirmation from God that I had listened to His voice in my life and was responding to my vocation. Jumping out of bed I was met by my family with great excitement. This was to be a great day!
Madeleine’s Chastity Card
Adrian from Captured Frames arrived at my house ready to begin filming, yet brought with him a surprise gift from Madeleine. It was a letter that she had written to me during her holy hour that morning! Yes you read that right. My wife got up at 5am not just to get her hair and make up done, but to ensure she spent time in prayer with Jesus first.
Attached to this beautiful letter was a Chastity commitment card. This was a card that she had signed as a young adult, promising to preserve the gift of her sexuality for her future husband. As I began to read the letter, a wave of emotion broke over me. Tears streamed down my face and blurred my vision, so that I could no longer read. I cannot explain how beautiful it was to know that Madeleine had been loving me and saving herself for me, years before we had even met. In all my life I had never felt so loved. These would be the first of many tears to flow throughout the day, and for those that were there, you know what I mean!
As a former student at the University of Notre Dame, I felt very much at home at St Benedict’s Broadway. This is where I had attended daily mass as a student for the past 4 years. My pre-class ritual included praying beneath the statue of St Joseph for my future wife, which was often followed by three Hail Mary’s for purity before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. St Benedict’s was a spiritual home for me. When I pulled up the joy and excitement could not be hidden from my face. The adrenaline was pumping and I could barely contain myself! I basically skipped up the aisle with my groomsmen, meeting and greeting everyone on the way. What will she look like? I was eagerly awaiting arrival!
Standing at the altar, I noticed the cars pull up outside the church and my stomach collapsed. “Hold it in son!” I said to myself. “She hasn’t even walked in yet!” As the bridesmaids entered to grand music, my heart began to climb up my chest and into my throat. I could feel the joy turning into a deep gratitude and appreciation for who and what I was about to receive.
A moment’s silence… The Ave Maria entrance hymn began, and the big doors opened wide to reveal my beloved. I have never seen anyone or anything so beautiful in my life. Our eyes met, and within a moment I was totally flooded with tears. I had dreamed of this day my entire life, playing it out in my head hundreds of times, and each one paled in comparison! This was a day I had been waiting and praying for my whole life, and it was finally here! Madeline was glowing with a radiant beauty and purity and everyone could see it!
Halfway down the aisle I could no longer see her. My eyes were blurry again, and no amount of wiping seemed to dry my eyes. I firmly shook my future father-in-law’s hand, and he handed Madeleine over to me – to be the new man in her life. This is a significant moment at a wedding. The Father is always his daughter’s man, until he hands her on to her husband, who God calls to be the new man in her life. We looked so deeply into each others eyes that Fr. Dan had to signal for me to walk to our place on the sanctuary. I was mesmerised by her beauty! I couldn’t take my eyes off her, she was glowing like I had never seen. Sunshine was beaming from her smile, and her eyes looked as dazzling jewels.
The Vows, the Kiss and Holy Communion
Following the beautiful readings and powerful homily, Madeleine and I took our places to profess our wedding vows. Both of us knew the weight of these words, yet it is impossible to fully grasp their significance. As significant as they were, they couldn’t wipe the smile off our faces. We had wanted to give ourselves totally to one another for some time, and we were finally pledging a total gift of self to each other. The vows are powerful and bind two individuals together so as to become one flesh.
Fr. Dan pronounced us husband and wife and a dream came true for both of us. I eagerly lifted Madeleine’s veil from her face to give her our first kiss. I was inspired by a Catholic couple that had chosen to save their first kiss for their wedding day, and at 19 years old decided to do the same. As you will see on the video, this was an incredibly beautiful moment for us.
It was an extremely challenging promise to keep, and there were times we needed the other to be strong. But looking back on that moment, it was truly one of the most significant parts of that day. We received this gift from each other with so much joy! Although at times it demanded great sacrifice, I would strongly encourage others to make this promise. It taught us so much about friendship and self-mastery. We got married with a freedom from lust for the other, which made us free to love one another.
After we exchanged vows, we entered into a Sacrament. Our bodies now took on a new sign-ificance. We became an earthly sign that points to the marriage feast of the lamb (Rev 19). What we had entered into was only a sign of the ultimate marriage we are all called to enter into with Christ the Bridegroom. United for the first time as husband and wife, we received Jesus in the Eucharist. We knew that our ultimate fulfilment is Jesus, but through the gift of Holy Matrimony, we would enter into this union with Christ more intimately than ever before.
A Message of Hope
We skipped down the aisle after mass had ended, with the biggest smiles on our faces! Our Wedding Day was truly a joy-filled day! I want to encourage anyone who may be reading this who is single and struggling to believe that they will ever get married. If you are called to marriage, trust that God is more interested in bringing your future spouse to you than you are in finding him or her. You must never lose hope! If this is what the Lord wills for you, stop worrying, and trust in God who loves you now infinitely more than even the man or woman of your dreams could ever hope to!