“Let us love, since that is what our hearts were made for.” – St. Thérèse of Lisieux
As my friends and I kneeled to pray after Mass, a chorus of cheers from the newlyweds and their wedding party erupted from behind the door next to us. Joy rose within me as I reflected on what we had just witnessed. It was the beginning of their lives together, with You at the center.
This was not my first wedding. I’ve walked down the aisle as a flower girl and sat in the pew as a guest in years past. But this wedding was different. I saw it as the sacrament it was, with all the joy and importance attached. My friends were not only about to enter into life together, but to be witnesses to the Catholic faith in their community. They have the opportunity to teach about Your love and the freedom found in Your Church to future generations. As the wedding party bowed before the Tabernacle after processing down the aisle, I was reminded that this was a trinity of love, that You are present and at the center of their relationship.
I’ve been surrounded by the vocation of marriage for my entire life. I’ve been blessed to see them last. Vows have been lived out in my parents, relatives and family friends, where dozens of anniversaries have been celebrated and families have flourished. Marriages where laughter is shared, hands are held, and memories are bright. Yet, they are not always perfect representations of love by any means. Within the highs of romance are compromise, forgiveness, and the commitment to grow together. There is beauty in this commitment to each other, in serving one another well, and in demonstrating Christ’s love and forgiveness. Thanks to these couples who lead by example, I know what to look for in a marriage where You are in all things.
I’ve also seen marriage to Your Church through priests and to You in nuns. I’ve learned that their relationships demonstrate love to others on a larger scale. It has been astonishing to see their pure joy with the Church and You as their spouse, just as it is shared between a bride and groom. Thank you for inviting me to begin to recognize how Your will is fulfilled in the path You reveal to each of us. For the paths of singleness that continue to wind as time moves forward, I will continually trust You have a perfect plan designed. Priests and nuns are examples to marriages in their love for You in the Church and as spiritual mothers. In turn, the newlyweds show religious vocations that love is also represented in their own families and relationships. One vocation looks to the other for reminders of this affection.
What an amazing gift it is to be loved by You and those around us. To see the joy in everyone invited as we celebrated the sacrament they experienced. To take part in their beginning of life as one flesh. We were truly created for love, by Love.