As I alluded in an earlier post, I am going to be married this June. Unlike most traditional June brides, I am not young (still deludedly calling myself "middle-aged") and, unlike most of the current crop of June brides, I actually blush. I am delighted, our almost-grown children are very supportive, and, to the surprise of both of us, we are being blessed in mid-life by something we never expected to happen.
Although I have known my fiancé for over 30 years with commonly-held memories and a deep faith, our experiences of life have often been different. I was happily and sacramentally married for 26 years before the death of my husband of cancer in early 2003. My beloved intended had a far different experience of the married state, unhappily (and, it turns out, invalidly) linked to his daughter's mother for 7 years before she left him and their young daughter for different pastures. As you can imagine, we tend toward distinctly different expectations of the married state. Thanks to God's abundant grace, the wise counsel of others, and the God-given ability we have had to communicate with courage, we have grown into a mutual hope for a genuinely blessed marital union.
The circumstances have given us a chance to explore the nature of true sacramental marriage more deeply than we might otherwise have done. Henry learned a lot through the annulment process. I learned more experientially what kind of bond God creates through the sacrament of matrimony. Now, we are learning together about growing into oneness.
I find a lot of meaning in Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The marital bond between Christ and his Church (that is us, folks) speaks volumes to my heart of the depth of love and union that God originally intended for Adam and Eve, the restoration of much of that through the redemption of the Cross, and the amazing fullness that we will know when we join him in heaven. As I anticipate and work toward marriage, I can smell a whiff of the resemblance between true union with my husband and our eventual complete union with God. It makes me want to be as pure and conformed to Christ as possible so that we won't put up blockages between ourselves or between us and the Lord from whom our whole lives are suspended.
Gee, I meant to be concrete and specific, and here I am flying off into theological metaphor and being "spiritual." I can't help it. I am caught in the concrete preparations for the wedding, of course, but they resemble reality only in the way that keeping the kitchen clean contributes to sustaining a loving and hospitable home -- necessary but falling far short of the overall truth.
So help me here. What is it I'm trying to say? What have you found to be true? What do you imagine?
Novena to the Holy Spirit Day Nine: Self-Control
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