Last weekend was our 3rd Three to Get Married retreat here in Nashville. The preparation and prayer and planning was super intense. With over 20 speakers, 12 couples, and the camp people to deal with I would have to say that it was purely God's grace that won us such a peaceful weekend. It wore me out so badly that I ended the weekend with the stomach flu... pregnancy and exhaustion don't go well together!!
With all that being said, I once again was amazed throughout the weekend at God's providential love within each and every couple who was there and each one who spoke. Each had been given such a different path in their marriage and to watch the fidelity through it all was simply uplifting. We had speakers who had converted to Catholicism, some who had spouses with cancer, some with 3 kids, some with 10 and others who were infertile. Some speakers who struggled with in-laws, some with how to raise their kids, others who were newly married, and none who were normal. It was amazing to see God's work in their hearts and lives and relationships. Each one had such a unique story which one way or another they all recognized as their path to holiness.
It was a reminder to me about the story I am living. What will the next page read and how have the previous chapters gone? What will the heavy crosses be and how will we get through? In the end, I don't think it matters as long as Christ is our center. Fr. Baker stressed throughout the weekend that marriage makes no sense whatsoever if you have no relationship with Christ, no goal of Heaven and you haven't decided to completely abandon yourself to Jesus. Of course, you could live life without having these things, but the bottom line is that your life will be pretty boring and pretty predictable. He sent quite a challenge to the couples to live always in the state of grace and to follow ALL of the Church's teachings instead of picking and choosing those you like. There is a wisdom in the Holy Spirit who has inspired the Church. Will we trust Him?
SO bring it. Lord, we abandon ourselves to you. What is it that you will ask of us? How can we be an image in our marriage of Christ's love for the Church.. the ultimate sacrifice.
We haven't been married quite three years and let me tell you, Christ has sent us on a roller coaster ride... it has required lots of trust, but the gifts from Him are countless and really quite hard to believe at times. He will never let you outdo Him in generosity.