Wedding traditions all over the world put special emphasis on the bride and groom’s presence. In Malaysia, the couple get royal treatment as they sit on a raised platform called a pelamin. At Russian Orthodox weddings, the happy couple are given crowns to wear. Special food, decorations, and clothing all match the nature of the party.
Celebratory occasions ought to be “filled” with celebratory things! They ought to honor the person being celebrated as well as the guests. So it would be out of place to serve spoiled food at a wedding or to seat the bride and groom in the back of the room. That was Jesus’ point when the disciples of John the Baptist asked him about fasting. Being in his presence should be a cause for feasting, not fasting.
What an awesome insight into our life of faith! Think of how we talk about the sacraments: we celebrate them. They are celebratory occasions, so they should be given the royal treatment. We are familiar with how the Mass is a celebration and, naturally, a wedding or an ordination. But what about Confession? What about the Sacrament of the Anointing? Are they really joyful events?
Absolutely! Just imagine: every time you step into a confessional, Jesus is waiting there with open arms while all the angels in heaven rejoice. Every time someone is anointed, Jesus’ healing power is poured out–his power to comfort and to soothe, to restore and strengthen. How could you not honor this special moment?
Life doesn’t always feel like a celebration though. The transformation from our old ways to new life in Christ can be challenging. Even going to Mass or confessing our sins—maybe for the hundredth time—can feel dull. But that’s precisely when we should remember the celebration going on in heaven.
So try to capture a spirit of joy at every sacrament, especially at Confession. Even if it seems over the top, try it anyway. Dress up a bit for the occasion. Treat yourself to a special dessert afterward. Maybe even write a thank you note to Jesus for his mercy. Jesus, the guest of honor, has come to you!
“Lord, I want to welcome you into my heart today. Give me a joyful spirit in your presence.”