October 5, 2020
That was the first thing Fr. Josh said in his homily at Justine + Caleb’s wedding Mass. He thanked them for their witness. He thanked them for being an example of God’s love, for committing to that love and professing it in front of their family and friends. It pulled me up short. Because we should be reflections of God’s love in the world. We should be a light that draws others in, that points others to Christ. Especially now, when the world so needs that light. When we need people who show us what God’s love looks like.
And you know what? Caleb + Justine are beautiful examples of His love. Before the ceremony, they read letters they had written to each other, then asked for Mary’s intercession as they prayed the Hail Mary. When Caleb saw Justine coming down the aisle, he was so overwhelmed with love he teared up. When they shared their first kiss as husband and wife and processed out, Justine was radiant. While shooting portraits before the reception, the peace between both of them was palpable. When two people love each other like that, the world notices.
But God’s love wasn’t only evident in Justine and Caleb. Their family and friends were buoyant with it, too. When Justine’s Mom helped her put on her dress and they turned around to look at each other, I could feel all the emotion and love between them as they hugged. When Justine’s bridesmaids saw her for the first time, well. Their reactions said it all. When Justine’s Aunt performed a traditional capping ceremony, officially welcoming Justine from childhood to womanhood, the richness of their family tradition reflected God’s love through the generations. And as the party began to wrap up, the newlyweds joined their guests in one final, closing prayer. They stood in the midst of all the people they loved most in the world and ended their day with God as the center of it. What a gift. What a testament to how they’ll live their marriage vows. We are, none of us, islands. We need people around us who reflect God’s love into our lives. And I think it’s safe to say that Justine and Caleb are surrounded by people who do just that.
To borrow from Fr. Josh—Justine and Caleb, thank you. Thank you for your witness of love in our world. Thank you for inviting me in to document your day. Thank you for your courage in loving each other as Christ intended for you to be loved.
I’ll be praying for both of you as you begin your journey as husband and wife.
Friends, meet the Gabners.