Just ordained a deacon, Father JOËSSEL gave his first homily at the wedding of his brother Yves to Agnès ALLARD in the Madeleine church in Lille.
If, for the bride and groom, it was obviously the « first time », they were not the only ones to experience this « first time » … Yves explains : « The wedding was celebrated by Father GAND, my wife's cousin, who had just been ordained a priest: it was his first wedding. The speech was given by my brother Dani, who had been a deacon for a few days: it was his first sermon. »
SPEECH GIVEN BY FATHER JOËSSEL AT THE WEDDING OF
MR. YVES JOËSSEL AND MISS AGNES ALLARD
4th July 1933
My dear Agnes, my dear Yves,
As a deacon of the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the first time that I speak in the name of the One to whom I have dedicated my life. The day before yesterday, the Bishop called me a minister of Christ, and so it is in the place of Our Lord that I am going to speak to you. So I asked myself what the Master of life would have said to you, and I thought that he would have spoken to you about hope.
Does not everything invite you, in fact, on this unforgettable day for you, to hope? And first of all, wouldn't the Lord have shown you all this crowd surrounding you, all this assembly of relatives and friends who with a unanimous heart ask the good God, Our Father, for your future and eternal happiness, and he would have said to you: « Wherever two or three agree to ask something of my Father in my name, I am in the midst of them. »
And my dear Agnes, this only sadness that you have the right to feel today, the sadness that you feel at the absence of the one who remains your father, I believe that the Master would have taken it away from you with one of those immortal words of which he has the secret: « Do not weep for him, he would have said to you, for he is happy in my kingdom which is not of this world. » He whom you no longer see, my dear Agnes, but who from Heaven sees you better and loves you better than if he were present on earth, is he not a reason for hope? He prays for you better than any presence, and I ask you both to live always in his memory. You must get to know him, my dear Yves, for he will be an example and a support for you.
And then the step that you wanted to take today seems to me the real reason for all your hopes. It is before the priest, the representative of Christ, before the Tabernacle where Our God truly dwells, that you take your oath of fidelity.
To make your bond irrevocable, you ask God himself, who is eternal, to sanction your promises to you who are passing. No doubt you feel your heart is rich enough to nourish a love that must end only with life. But as if to give a definitive answer to those who doubt human constancy, Christ tells us: « Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate. » If this word makes you feel the importance of the step you have taken, it must also be the assurance of your faithfulness. If God has shown himself to be such a good Father by arranging all things to make you known and loved, how can you doubt that he will not protect you and unite you to each other more and more each day ?
Do you still doubt your strength and see a future full of material difficulties, of educating your children, listen to the Master who answers your concerns: « Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.»
If the law of God seems to you to be too hard, too demanding, Christ is there to answer you: « For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible. » You will ask him to grant you the grace to be faithful to him and he will give you what you ask. But then, you will say to me, there is no longer anything to worry about. With such a good Father, the past is forgiven, the present is joyful because you love each other (and this is good, and it must be so). The future is in the hands of a God who does not hate any of his creatures since he made them all, a God who loves you both especially. So, no worries, right, only happiness. Yes ! « But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. ». God's grace will make your souls more delicate, more lovely than ever.
What too many timid christians regard as a burden, I want you to rejoice in the grace of having many of your own children around your table.
Thus, having boldly placed all your hope in God, never doubting his goodness, in spite of all the trials from which no life can be exempt, you will lead that happy life which we all wish for you, which I wish for you with all my heart as a most affectionate brother, and we will find ourselves as we are here, well united in the same faith and the same hope.... up there.
May the Lord grant us this grace.
Let it be so.