"Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
|The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni|
I made a promise last time to make this post shorter than my previous two. I'm going to do my best to uphold that promise. With this in mind, I'm not going to go into one of my dissections of the Bible verse above. But, I do encourage you to read it a couple of times before you go on. It's very packed. In case you feel like reading something longer here's a link (this link is for all readings on the 4th Sunday of Lent in cycle C. I definitely put that picture of the Prodigal Son up before I realized these readings appear together in the Church liturgical year, I guess the Church kinda knows what she's doing). I'd also like to clarify that the reason my spirituality post will likely be shorter has no bearing on how important it is to Jason and I. In fact, it's shorter because it's so clear to me how God has moved in us the past couple of months.
I read somewhere that a key quality of a good blogger is to be completely honest with your audience; no sugar coating your life or only showing your best side. So the truth is, Jason and I didn't keep up with praying together, becoming involved in our church, etc. quite like I had laid out for us in my first post. In fact, reading the meditations from the The Ignatian Workout lasted only a couple of weeks at best. We quickly settled back into our old routines. This persisted throughout our engagement.
I have to give a lot of credit to our marriage prep classes for re-inspiring us to delve back into this mission. Every person we talked to said the number one thing that keeps a marriage together is keeping God in the center and making praying together a habit. Now, we didn't immediately go home and pick our book back up, but the seed was constantly being planted and watered. I'll say more about the marriage prep in a later blog. Yes, I do believe it deserves a whole post! I 100% recommend couples do some sort of marriage counseling before the wedding day (so does the state of Texas. Whoop for not having to pay a fee to get our marriage license!)
The biggest spiritual movement and growth happened only 2 days before the wedding. Throughout our engagement Jason and I talked about wanting to go to Reconciliation. It would be Jason's first Reconciliation as when he was Baptized last Easter all of his sins were washed away, "clearing" him to receive the Eucharist. It would be my first time to go in while...much longer than I like to admit. I have a weird relationship with this particular Sacrament. I 100% believe in it's graces. Every time I go I leave feeling better than I've felt, well, since the last time I went. It's hard to describe the freedom and sense of calm I feel. But, for some reason (likely the large periods of time in between) I get so nervous to go. I expect the priest to gawk at me, shake his head disapprovingly, or lecture me. This has NEVER happened, see above feelings of freedom and calm.
So, the Thursday before the wedding Jason and I both made plans to go to Reconciliation. I went to All Saints as I was going to my mom's afterwards and Jason went to St. Rita because it's close to where he works. The confessionals are located inside the Adoration Chapel at All Saints. What a beautiful way to prepare for Reconciliation! I got to spend about an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament and did part of the Rosary while waiting for my turn. This instantly helped to calm my nerves and remind me of the purpose and power of Reconciliation.
I'm not going to go into details of my confession, but I would like to expand on the priest's response. It's possibly one of the most loving responses I've experienced. He noticed that I was holding myself back in some way and that somewhere there was a block in my willingness to let God be in complete control. He looked at me and said, "If you don't mind I'd like to come next to you and pray over you." I consented. "I want you to let everything go right now. Allow the Holy Spirit to work and lift you up." He recited a beautiful prayer and then we sat in silence for a couple of minutes. Wow. I don't know how to describe this, but I could feel myself being healed. It was incredible. Then he sat back down and continued to talk to me about my penance. The number one thing he had said throughout the Confession and now was the importance of Jason and I praying together. He encouraged us to make the Chaplet of Divine Mercy a regular prayer for us to recite as a family. I left feeling awesome and more ready for marriage than ever!
Later that night I received a text from Jason saying "I did it!" He then went on to tell me his penance was none other than to pray together! I don't know why, but this just really moved me. We went to two different priests from two different churches, but still received the same penance. We became more committed to this than ever. When we saw each other later that night we said the Chaplet of Divine Mercy together. Now, every evening we do a meditation from a book Jason's dad and step-mom gave to us for Christmas. We also devote at least one day a week to deeper prayer. I feel so confident in our marriage as long as we are able to keep this up. We are also more committed to going to Reconciliation on a more regular basis. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin our life together!
This was shorter, right? Maybe? No? Ok I'm sorry, but at the very least it was more focused. Next up Marriage Blog...somewhat of an extension of this blog. I do plan on blogging about the wedding, but I'm waiting until we have pictures from the photographer. I also plan on doing a blog about our Honeymoon, but I need to upload pictures before that happens too.
Until next time,
The Vrly-Fries (like curly fries?)