Nuptial Blessings

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  In your book, One Love, you state that the Nuptial Blessings now include “an invocation for the Holy Spirit to come over the couple.”  Do these invocations constitute an epiclesis? I have heard the opinion that the first two options do, but that the third: “may the power of your Holy Spirit set their hearts aflame from on high” (244) does not.


A:  I treated the epiclesis more extensively in my book Inseparable Love. Even so, I have to admit that, although I used the word “epiclesis” in my book, the word does not appear in the Order of Celebrating Matrimony. Even the Vatican’s 1990 commentary on the revised edition in Notitiae, which I cite in my book, speaks about “an invocation of the grace of the Holy Spirit upon the spouses,” without using the word “epiclesis.”

It may be that the liturgy is parsimonious with the word, applying it only to the invocation of the Holy Spirit during the eucharistic prayer.

I disagree that the third option is meant to convey something less than the first two options. But I could warm to the argument that the word “epiclesis” is a little too strong for all three. The Vatican’s commentary says that the revisions intended “to make explicit the mention of the Holy Spirit, whose action is implied in the word ‘blessing’.”