- (Photo: AP Images / Dominic Lipinski)
The Bishop of London's sermon at the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton focused on a marriage characterized by a "generous love" that emulates the love of God shown through Jesus.
The term "generous" appeared several times throughout the bishop's seven-minute sermon on Friday.
In calling the couple to "help each other to become what God meant each one to be," the Bishop of London Richard Chartres asked the couple to follow the spirit of a "generous God" by devoting themselves to each other.
"William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another," said Chartres to the couple seated inside Westminster Abbey.
The Bishop of London then spoke about a life that grows in spirituality the more married individuals can give of themselves to the other.
"A spiritual life grows as love finds its center beyond ourselves," the bishop told the young couple. "Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life."
"It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centeredness," he continued.
"And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love."
"Marriage should transform as husband and wife make one other their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we don't harm our ambitions to reform our partners. There must be no coercion if the spirit is to flow. Each must give the other space and freedom," the bishop said, quoting Chaucer as saying "when mastery cometh, the god of love anon beateth his wings and farewell he is gone."
He then prayed for the couple, reciting a prayer composed by the pair for the occasion: "In the busyness of each day, keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy."
"Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer," prayed the bishop.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams presided over the vows for the couple, to which the groom and bride each responded with, "I will."
"What God has joined together let no man set asunder," the archbishop said. "I pronounce that they be man and wife together in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost."
Following their marriage, Prince William and Catherine Middleton are now known as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.