By ZOE CANNON
GRATITUDE FOR THE GIFT OF FAITH
"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25).
God’s plan for marriage and family are under attack in our society. It is challenging to address this truth without offending people. I have come to realize that genuine love offers an opportunity to be straightforward, and it helps others know when they are offending God. This is serious and very difficult! Many do not know the Creator of this kingdom on earth or His plan for precious life. Our journey in this place and time prepares us for eternal life with Him in the kingdom of heaven. It should be the goal of every person to help others understand the teachings of Jesus. We should be especially concerned about sharing this news with the people in our family. “The family itself is the greatest mystery of God” (St. Pope John Paul II).
My husband, Dick, and I are sponsors for couples preparing for marriage in the Church. In 45 years of marriage, our faith has provided hope through trials and joys. Young couples face real challenges when two become one in a world so focused on individualism and materialism. The solution is simply to keep Christ in the center of your life together. The grace provided in the sacraments is the key to real happiness. Young people who make the decision to begin marriage at the altar of God are on the road to a happy life. A covenant with God in the marriage vows unites love in ways you may never see or realize; but when a time comes that you need Him to strengthen the bond, you will know it is by the grace of God that peace is possible.
We recently completed the marriage preparation for two committed people who had vast differences in their faith journey. The success in uniting their differences was based solely on their openness to communication and prayer. Their Christian faith was solid, but the understanding of Catholic teaching and tradition was a concern. One had been away from the Catholic Church since childhood when his parents divorced. I admire this young man because he loved his future spouse enough to ask questions about ideals that were very important to her. He wanted to be able to make informed decisions about their life as a married couple and future children. It was not a surprise to us that this was going to be an issue. The conflicting answers in their profile assessment were obvious and theirs to own.
He provided a list of eight questions about Catholicism that most non-Catholics and some Catholics have about the Church. The nervous look on his future bride’s face diminished when I smiled and told them I would find a response for every concern. We appreciated his need for knowledge and his intelligence in asking the hard questions. I am a catechist at heart, so with great intention, I prepared everything necessary to give this young couple hope for making this journey together. The Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are gifts! All glory to God!
Never forget that as Christians we are in this together. God will never forsake us! This couple could have chosen to attend a weekend retreat to prepare for marriage; instead, they chose to spend weeks with a sponsor couple. The retreats were cancelled due to the pandemic. Despite social distancing, meeting this couple was divine providence. My years of facilitating the Adult Faith Formation class certainly became a blessing as we prepared this couple for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. We are living in very tough times; please do not be afraid to ask questions or speak the truth. Love your neighbor enough to tell them about the mercy of God and His divine plan for life. Amen!