Thursday, July 13, 2017

Immersed in gratitude

I am so very grateful that I took this photo. Among all the photos, this is the one that shows best the kind of wedding we celebrated. Interestingly, this is the one photo that has won friends' hearts on social media.

Gratitude to God. This is what this wedding was about. These have been my thoughts since that day.

It was all so very prayerful.

As she came into the church, in her beautiful dress, expecting to see her beloved, holding my mother's rosary and tears streaming down her beautiful face, I started crying and did not stop. There were tears rolling down my face pretty much during the entire mass. 

Husband just put his arms around me and supported me throughout the mass, and as we drove and walked into the venue where the dinner and dance would be, I told him that I figured out that my tears were of profound and immense gratitude. I was shown through the nuptial mass the power of God's love, what He can do for a family when we invite his participation and presence. 

I think of how sinful and clueless husband and I were in our early days, and how through the grace of God and through the prayers and example of people we had in our lives, God always guided us toward choosing what was right and good, as opposed to what was easy or self-centered, or of the world. The City of God, over the City of Men.

During our marriage, many times we have been rewarded by God, when He sends us a glimpse of the life we have been all created for... a moment of bliss, a joy brought by a child...  and living in the everyday that brings peace. Yet perhaps never so clearly this was evident as in this wedding of a dear daughter this past Saturday. 

That God could allow husband and I, ordinary and sinful people, to have a raised such a beautiful daughter, that she could have grown in the faith and confidence of God, and bring us such peace and joy to the heart. The gratitude is overwhelming and I tear up still if I dwell on it, and will still do for a long while. Had we not invited God into our lives and instead thought we knew better, or gone with the pull of the world--focusing on ourselves, our wants and needs before others, imagining we knew better than the ancient Christian wisdom, disdaining what we learned as children and neglecting a prayer life--had we done that, none of the past weekend would have happened. 

For one thing our dearest fifth daughter would have never been born, as we would have chosen artificial methods of contraception over having yet one more child. We would likely have accepted such myths as "every child a wanted child", as if children are goods we obtain at will and only if we stop poisoning our bodies with chemicals that trample on the woman's body's natural functions and bring so much adversity into our general health. I bring this up when I speak on NFP: when a Christian couple stands before the altar and says, "I will be open to the children sent by God", they are already accepting and loving every future child, every one wanted, and loved, and planned perfectly by God. This way I myself was planned, wanted, loved, both by God and my dear parents.

This fifth daughter was probably the least "planned", as she came as the third of a string of back to back babies before my cycles ever resumed. Thanks be to God to those happy, busy days! To see her shining in grace and love, in prayer and virtue, an accomplished person in so many ways who has already brought so much good into so many hearts. How could I ever think that my planning is better than the planning of the One who created the Universe? If the world had its way, this daughter, if conceived, would have been killed, in barbaric ways, in the womb, because we already had "too many children" and too little money. She wasn't convenient in the standards of the world. 

And yet I cannot fathom life without her! How much she has brought to her parents! She, so active, so capable--teaching piano since she was 12 years old to little students who adored her, being a wonderful friend to so many, a light for the world. 

The wedding, with beautiful music and beautiful hearts, and sacramental grace, could never had happened. Matthew would never had met her. We would have never heard her play piano, or sing. She would have never taught her sisters or cleaned the house, or danced, or dreamed. (I am quite sure, in fact, that without our prayer life and God's continued presence and love, our marriage would have never survived.)

My heart was absolutely overflowing with gratitude for His presence and grace in our lives. He does do wonderful things through us! 

It makes one want to shout to the world: "invite Him in! And be amazed at how He transforms your life! If he could bring my husband and I here now to this blissful day--how much more couldn't He do for you?" 

Praise God's holy name forever, may He guide and bless the newlywed couple for all of their days!

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