Last weekend, my husband was invited to speak in Altoona at St. Mary’s parish. It was a dinner event in celebration of marriage. He gave the keynote address, and I tagged along.
We had lived in Chippewa Falls about 12 years ago, and many of our old friends had come to join in the night’s festivities. What a wonderful surprise to be greeted by such wonderful familiar faces! More importantly, though, what a joy to see the gift of marriage alive in the union of the sixty or so couples who attended!
The most profound thing that I realized that night was that vibrant marriages are still thriving in our Church. Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down by the oppressive cultural sludge that seems to be threatening our families daily, and that’s why it’s so important to have these events in which we come together as married couples. We need to see each other…to know that there are others who all feel also at times that they are the only ones who delight in the freedom of the sacrament of marriage, who enjoy the beauty of family life, and who strive everyday to live according to the moral teachings of the Church regarding contraception.
Yes, we exist! And we’re full life, love, and laughter. Sometimes I feel like shouting that from a rooftop, but maybe it’s just enough to BE. The fact that we ARE in the world, but not fashioned from the culture, the fact that we HAVE children, and the fact that we can still BE together despite the human tendency to prefer satiating our selfish desires…all of these verbs of BEING draw us to conclude that the real change happens not in acting, but in being, in resting in the beautiful truth that God’s plan for us comes not from our own actions, but in our willingness to rest in HIS action. It is beauty. It is peace. It is communion.
Our being married is action enough for God to use to unleash his love into the world. Our being parents is the instrument God uses to perpetuate the future of his Church. When we realize that God’s action is built on BEING, the course of action we must take in our world becomes clear. We are to do His will. We are to be His light to the world. It is in His plan, not ours, where we find the greatest power for transforming our world.