After interviewing Fr. Dominic Thomas for an upcoming story on their parish mission, he suggested that Blaise and I come to Mass today as Bishop Don would be there helping to celebrate the parish’s 170th anniversary.
He mentioned that there would be a blessing for married couples.
And because I am never one to refuse a blessing, anywhere, anytime, anyhow–we attended Mass. After I finished my prayers, those who were present in the pews prayed a rosary for Bishop Don. I had goosebumps. When, other than during Lent, do I remember praying a rosary before Mass?
I cannot think of a time.
As I sat in the pew, I could feel the stories of families before us unraveling in my mind. Baptisms, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Marriages and Funerals. Those who came to pray in thanksgiving and those who were struggling, I could feel them all like gentle tugs on my soul. The warmth and beauty of the simple brick church emanated everywhere; the Bishop noticed it too. I could tell.
Before the Final Blessing, all married couples stood, and while I expected the blessing, I did not expect that we would renew our marriage vows. This was something we had wanted to do for a long time, to mark the years before us, and to bless the years to come.
My knees were as weak as they were when we first said “I do,” as Blaise tearfully make his promises to me. Something deep within my heart stirred as I firmly stated my vows, perhaps more seriously than I had the first.
We are weathered, but not broken.
We are tired, but still alive.
We have struggled, but our faith has grown enormously.
Those without faith have wondered why we still have ours. “Why do you believe in a God that did this to you?” we are asked. It is for them, I pray the most. God did not do this to us. He did not will it for us. But He allowed it to happen, for reasons I am just beginning to understand. He has given us the privilege of suffering for Him. After all, He gave us his only Son, who was perfect and sinless, to die for my sinful self.
Somehow, He is drawing us closer through this suffering and demonstrating to us, just how much we need Him.
For every breath.
For every morsel.
We need Him!
Afterwards, we were each given a rose. Thank you St. Therese for hearing my prayers and delivering this most exquisite flower.
And if that were not enough, the Bishop gave me a special blessing for my recent health issues.
A perfect day