A priest has revealed his words of consolation to couples in his parish whose wedding plans have been shattered by coronavirus.
Fr Jamie McMorrin, of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, spoke on BBC Radio Scotland's Thought for the Day this morning (Tuesday 21 April)
Read the full transcript below.
Parish life, as any priest or minister will tell you, has its own rhythm of the seasons. This year, though, most of us have ended up ripping up the parish calendar and putting big black lines through our carefully planned schedules.
One of the things that would normally keep me busy over the weekends of early summer is celebrating weddings: almost every Saturday is normally booked out months in advance.
Not this year, I'm afraid. Over the past few weeks, almost all of the prospective brides and grooms have been getting in touch, not with hymn choices and instructions for the florist, but with the bad news that the big day they'd been looking forward to has been postponed.
I'd become quite used to dealing with the nervous excitement of couples at their wedding rehearsal : but helping them through the disappointment of a cancelled wedding is a new - but increasingly common - pastoral experience for me. My heart goes out to them.
Perhaps some special grace will come during this time of patient waiting, strengthening and purifying their commitment to each other, a bit like the seasons of Advent and Lent help us to prepare for the great celebrations of the Church's year.
I tell them that they will have the rest of their lives to celebrate together: when they are an old, married couple, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, an extra few months' engagement won't seem as long and painful a disappointment as it does right now.
It might be that these circumstances might help all of us to reassess in our own lives the things that really matter : as these couples are learning, the size of the car and the colour of the napkins are not, after all, so important as they might have been tempted to think. As these things are stripped away, we see that what really makes a wedding day - and human life itself - truly special, is the love of family and friends and the strength of our commitment to one another.
Ultimately, although Covid-19 might put a temporary dampener on the celebrations, it will not have the last word: the power of true, patient, hopeful love cannot be cancelled forever. By the looks of my wedding diary, I'm going to have a busy autumn...