In order to prepare our hearts for the World Meeting of Families and the anticipated visit from Pope Francis to the United States, we as a team are reflecting on a catechism on family life entitled, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. Each week we will reflect on one chapter from this catechism. You can learn more about the World Meeting of Families at WorldMeeting2015.org.
WEEK 4: Two Become One– Reflection by: Julie Arico
When we think of two becoming one, we immediately think about the wedding. The end of the engagement where the couple wear beautiful clothes, have perfectly coiffed hair and an exciting reception where someone does some form of choreographed entertainment they have been practicing. We think of it as the day every girl has dreamed of where she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming and they live happily ever after.
Do we think about who that Prince Charming is and how God has allowed us to meet the person we marry? We usually begin every relationship as friends and then it evolves and becomes more love filled, even our relationship with our current spouse started this way. As my mother says, “Make sure you marry your best friend, because when you are encountering the rough times it is nice to know you have a friend with you.” I never realized what she meant until out first major disagreement. Yes, I remember what it was about, and when and where we were, but more importantly I remember how we had to be humble, open our hearts, our minds and forgive. I had to reflect on myself and my mistakes just as I do in my relationship with God when I go to confession. I asked God to be with us as we moved through the very tense discussion filled with raw emotion, pain and anger. We needed to focus on our friendship, our love and what brought us together so that we could forgive just as God forgives us.
I also wonder why we are not thinking more deeply about how the couple is starting their life together; starting their life with a promise to each other, in front of God and with God. We stood at the foot of the cross when we made our vows to each other. Standing in this location at the Church where I received almost all my other Sacraments was so important to me. Marriage in the church as a sacrament was also important to our families, not so important to my fiancé at the time. But he willingly did so. Going through all the preparations I always thought I would remember every moment of our day. This is what I now remember without going through photos and videos of the event: going to Kmart in the morning with my hair and makeup done and running into the mother of a childhood friend and her comment that I was so calm. And the most beautiful comment my husband ever made: “I thought my vows were words written and said to you in front of our friends, I did not realize the importance of saying these vows in front of God and the true commitment we have made in His presence. I want all our children to have this same experience.” I carry that statement with me every day as the constant reminder that God is present in our life as we have been called to have children and raise them in the Catholic faith. Most importantly we have a relationship together with God.
This is what has kept us together! Our promise with God that we would always continue to love, respect and rejoice with each other and Him. We have now been married for 23 years, and just as our faith is tested, so is our commitment. But we live each day knowing that we love each other just as God loves. We continually falter, forgive, and grow together, we are not alone. We do not celebrate our marriage as a conditional arrangement, but as a true promise to each other and God.
Julie Arico is Director of Business Development at My Saint My Hero.
She is married to her best friend Nick Arico and they have three children. They love to go to the beach and watch movies together. Julie also enjoys reading!
Her favorite saint is Joan of Arc. Her favorite piece is the Garment of Grace Blessing Bracelet from our new Greatest Love Collection.
Read More –
Week 8 A Home for the Wounded Heart
Week 7 Light in a Dark World
Week 6 All Love Bears Fruit
Week 5 Creating the Future
Week 2 The Mission of Love
Week 1 Created for Joy