The Rite of Marriage – Readings

Old Testament Readings (First Reading)

Genesis 1:26-28.31

Male and Female he created them

God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea; and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Genesis 2:18-24

They become one flesh

The Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 24:48-51.58-67

Isaac loved Rebecca, and so he was comforted after his mother’s death

Abraham’s servant said to Laban, 'I blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.’
Then Laban and Bethuel answered, The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebecca is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.’
And they called Rebecca, and said to her, 'Will you go with this man?’ She said, 'I will go.’ So they sent away Rebecca their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebecca, and said to her, 'Our sister, be the mother of thousands of ten thousands; and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them!’ Then Rebecca and her maids arose, and rode upon the camels and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebecca, and went his way.
Now Isaac had come from Beerlahairoi, and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebecca lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel, and said to the servant, 'Who is the man yonder, walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, 'It is my master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent, and took Rebecca, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Tobit 7:8-15

The merciful God will guide you both.

Tobias said to Raphael, 'Brother Azarias, speak of those things which you talked about on the journey, and let the matter be settled.’ So he communicated the proposal to Raguel. And Raguel said to Tobias, 'Eat, drink, and be merry; for it is your right to take my child.’ And Tobias said, 'I will eat nothing here until you make a binding agreement with me.’ So Raguel said, Take her right now, in accordance with the law. You are her relative, and she is yours. The merciful God will guide you both for the best.’ Then he called his daughter Sarah, and taking her by the hand he gave her to Tobias to be his wife, saying, 'Here she is; take her according to the law of Moses, and take her with you to your father.’ And he blessed them. Next he called his wife Edna, and took a scroll and wrote out the contract; and they set their seals to it. Then they began to eat.

Tobit 8:4b-8

Grant that I may grow old together with her.

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” They said together, “Amen, amen.”

Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 2:8-10.14.16; 8:6-7

Love is strong as death.

The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
’Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is comely.’
My beloved is mine and I am his.
’Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is cruel as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.’

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 26:1-4.13-16

Like the sun rising, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.

Happy is the husband of a good wife;
the number of his days will be doubled.
A loyal wife rejoices her husband,
and he will complete his years in peace.
A good wife is a great blessing;
she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.
Whether rich or poor, his heart is glad,
and at all times his face is cheerful.
A wife’s charm delights her husband,
and her skill puts fat on his bones.
A silent wife is a gift of the Lord,
and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul.
A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul.
Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
So is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.

’Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, „Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord.’