When Israel was longing for the messiah, the prophet Malachi warned them that he is like a refining fire. When our Lord Jesus Christ came at last, he said, “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and would it were already kindled!” But when he finally cast his fire, it found an answering fire: the love between husband and wife had anticipated, indeed had prophesied, his coming.
So he took the husband and wife as his coat of arms, if I can put it that way, and he cast his fire into their midst. They blazed out with a supernatural flame in this dark world: their children took refuge in its warmth, and their neighbors all around found the way to our Lord by following that beacon.
Of course, not all Christian couples stayed in the refining fire. All too many crept away to the cool and comfort of the shadows, proving themselves inferior to the pagan Scaevola, who held his hand in the fire.
But I stand here on this twenty-second of October, as the nights grow longer and the days colder, to tell you that the world is a brighter and warmer place because of this marriage. In Michel, Bernadette has found a man whose love is stronger than death; in Bernadette, Michel has found a woman whose heart is as clear as a mountain stream, as big as the Wyoming sky, and as steady as the everlasting hills.
So I propose a toast: to the newlyweds, and to our joyful God, our merry God, who would have us be merry—and would have them be married!