In light of this previous post, I am thinking of another post, from my old blog, which I originally posted in September of 2006 (and which, in turn, was adapted from an entry in my 'paper journal' from May of 2003). It also seems to fit with the fact that we are newly embarked upon Lent, and six weeks of spiritual contemplation, leading up to Easter.
I've never re-posted anything before (is this a sign of having 'jumped the shark'?), but having a new blog, and a few new readers who might not have seen all of the 'old stuff' (and who might be disinclined to go poking around an old 'dormant' blog), it seems I am afforded an opportunity, once in a blue moon, as it suits my purposes, to reprise some of my best 'old stuff'. . .
A while back, a phrase came into my mind (phrases do that to me, from time to time; it's my cross to bear), and it hasn’t left me alone ever since. I think it’s from an old form of the Anglican wedding service (incredibly geeky, I know, but what can I do?). Anyway, at one point during the vows, the bridegroom says to the bride: “With my body, I thee worship.”
With my body, I thee worship.
There is a real depth there, a real richness, that goes beyond merely “I love you,” or even, “I want to have a life and a family with you,” although those things are certainly included in it. It captures very well how I feel about my wife, and how I aspire to have my life be joined to hers.
On multiple levels, sex is an act of worship – Catholics would invoke the grace of the sacrament of Matrimony. But in a simpler, earthy sense, I can simply say that I mean to worship Jen. Not, obviously, in the same sense in which I worship God – I would mean something like ‘reverence’, or ‘venerate’, or ‘honor’ or ‘esteem’, but none of those words capture the full sense of what I mean the way that ‘worship’ does. Jen is worthy of veneration, just like, say, Catholic theology would say the saints are worthy of veneration, but she is the saint whose life is bound up with mine.
GK Chesterton wrote that being constrained to one woman was a small price to pay for the privilege of having even one woman, and that sense of reverential gratitude resonates deeply with me. Getting to know Jen – really know her – is like being let in on a great mystery. As a Christian, I want to go “further up and further in” (to borrow a phrase from CS Lewis) – grow deeper in my love of God, and give myself more fully to Him. In an analogous way, I want to ‘go deeper’ in our marriage, and the life we have together. I want to know her better, be known better by her, give my life more fully to her; and that begins to get at the ‘worship’ I aim to give her.
In Holy Communion, Catholics believe that we receive Christ directly into our bodies (there is a very earthy aspect to Catholic theology that I find immensely appealing). In an analogous way, we give ourselves, and receive each other, directly into our bodies when we make love, under the covering of the sacrament of Matrimony. It’s all so rich, I can scarcely say what I really mean. With my body, I thee worship.