I have been married 6 months now, and in these six months of being “newlyweds”, I have gained a new reverence and admiration for the vocation of marriage with all of its joys, crosses, demands, responsibilities,and privileges. My husband Bill and I lead what most would say are pretty average lives. (More times than not, I am extremely grateful for being average and not bearing the name Taylor Swift or Tom Cruise- ha!) We wake up, go to work, pursue various hobbies, follow our favorite TV shows, eat dinner together, and then go to bed, anticipating the next day. The things that give our lives significance are who we are to God and who we are for each other.
We are God’s chosen ones who have been baptized and given the task of building the Kingdom of God while we are here on earth and eternal membership in Heaven. What an incredible life we Christians lead! It certainly blows “average” out of the water. We have the opportunity and duty each day to grow in our love for Jesus Christ and one another.
As a married person, I am called to give my undivided attention to my husband’s and future children’s sanctity. This can be challenging because all at the same time, I am called to focus on the ways I can love Christ more deeply myself. Pope Francis, in a recent public audience this month, said,“Women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love.” My vocation, in tangible ways, is to open the doors to the Lord for Bill and make my own face one of love and compassion. My prayer is that together we will gaze upward toward Jesus Christ.On a day-to-day basis this may mean suggesting that we pray a rosary, meeting up for daily Mass after work, lighting a votive candle for someone whom we have promised prayers, babysitting our friends’ children, or being a listening ear at the end of a long day.
My husband reminds me of who we are to God through his unconditional acceptance of me. He challenges me to become a better person in the midst of my faults and failings while loving me while I strive to become a better woman. He reminds me of the tremendous power of grace given in the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and prays with and for me. When I am reluctant to confess my sins, it is Bill who will stand in line with me and hold my hand until it is my turn, praying for me while I am inside the confessional.
This past December, Bill’s dad was immediately checked into the hospital after a routine post-injury test showed extreme blockage in his heart. Bill and I spent some desperate moments in prayer, and decided to fly to Florida to see him despite the cost of a last minute flight and the work and other commitments that we would miss. Through this first real challenge of our marriage, God reminded us of His presence in our lives as He gave us enduring strength to sit in the hospital and be present to my father-in-law. I am happy to say that he had a very successful quadruple bypass surgery and is doing well today, but we can still remember the scary days leading up to the surgery as well as the recovery process which reminded us how fragile life is as well as our constant call to serve God and each other with a greater urgency in living our lives according to our baptismal call and the marriage vows we have made.
Questions for reflection while training on the Vocation of Marriage
1) Who reminds me about who I am to God?
2) Think of a married couple you admire. What is it about their marriage that uplifts your spirits?
3) If you are married or discerning the vocation of marriage, spend some time reflecting on the parts below used during the rite of Marriage:
Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
Will you love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?
Will you accept children lovingly from God,and bring them up according to the law of Christ and His Church?
I ,(name) take you (name) to be my(wife/husband). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad. In sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.