A Leap of Faith

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The months of preparation have finally come to a close. The dress has been purchased and altered. The DJ hired, the place for the reception rented. The big day has arrived! He stands nervously, dressed in his tux, the collar probably too tight, waiting for his bride to appear. Finally it’s time! She appears and begins her walk down the aisle to join the man with whom she will spend the rest of her life. They will pledge before their family and friends and most importantly, God, represented by the priest or deacon, to share every joy and every sorrow that comes to them from this point until they are separated by death. Talk about a leap of Faith!

And it has to be with Faith –Faith in God and in each other that they step forward into this new life together. It is a rebirth–life will be different from this point on. But it should be a “good different” because whatever comes will be shared with the person you love.

To say that Christian marriage is a challenge is an understatement. I don’t think any married couple will disagree with me. It is a continual growth process not to be achieved overnight–perhaps that’s part of its beauty. Two people come together and grow together. As with any growth, there are successes and failures. But with God’s grace which He freely and compassionately gives if we accept it, we “regroup,” negotiate, forgive, and move on, often stronger than before!

On most Friday mornings since this past February, I have volunteered as Minister of the Eucharist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. A couple of weeks ago, all on the same morning I met three men all of whom in five minutes of conversion told me of 64, 60 and 43 years of marriage! Think of the negotiation, forgiveness, and blessings wrought with God’s grace in that time!!

Some years ago, I was visiting friends who I knew were going through a very “rocky” time in their marriage. I never realized how bad things were until I was there. It was so bad that I felt like I was on the set of a movie. Yet in the midst of all the chaos , during a conversation I had with the husband, he said: “I just don’t know what to do. I’d like to take the kids and get out. But I can’t do that–my marriage vows mean everything to me!” I didn’t say “Wow,” but I certainly thought about it and I never forgot his comment. That was over ten years ago. Today they are like a different family, fully united and just celebrated their 27th Anniversary.

One of my favorite CDs is entitled “Beloved.” The artist is Alicia Hernon (who will be providing the music at the Catholic Women’s Conference in October.) One of my favorite songs on the CD is written by Alicia for her husband Michael. She sings to Michael how much his love means to her. She ends with the words: “Lord, you have entwined this man’s life with mine. He is the reason I’ve become more than I was alone.”

Yes, Marriage is a journey, the vocation to which some are called in their life’s journey to salvation. Part of the marriage responsibility is to do just that…to make the other person “more than they were alone” and in so doing, aid him/her on their journey to heaven.

(The Church certainly honors Christ’s mandate “that what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Many people wonder about the annulment process in the Church. The process involves much investigation into the marriage. The annulment is granted when the Diocesan tribunal concludes that a Sacramental Marriage did not occur. They do not deny that a civil marriage occurred. The Diocesan findings and decision are submitted to Rome and Rome makes the final decision as to whether to grant the annulment or not.)

Linda Caminiti