So you may have read my previous post about how I pretty much sucked at Advent this past year. To me Advent was telling me to wait (we’re supposed to be waiting for the coming of Christ into the World via the Incarnation, but I just heard WAIT) and I was so impatient with God’s plan for my life and Timothy and I’s relationship in particular that I did not want to hear any such message. So I more or less checked out until about the day before Christmas – thanks Mama Mary for coming to the rescue.
Lent has been very different. I haven’t so much heard “wait” as I have “prepare.” Now the liturgical year is speaking my language. Prepare – yes, of course, because to me I immediately hear “prepare for your vocation.” And I have been preparing for my vocation- and wanting to prepare more seriously – for just about the entirety of Timmy and I’s relationship. And so, in my prayer life I began to frame Lent within the context of my preparation for engagement and marriage. That’s when it hit me – Jesus’s “Lent” was also about His preparation for marriage. Okay, well, more like He was preparing his disciples and the Church for their marriage to Him but still, you get what I’m saying.
Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was the means by which He wed the Church to Himself- He laid down his life for her, He gave everything for her, He irrevocably united her to Himself. All of Lent led to the moment were Christ joined Himself to the Church in an ultimate and decisive way. In His passion, Christ placed the needs of His bride before His own and bore Her hardships own His shoulders by carrying the cross. He willed the good of His bride through His acceptance of the Father’s will. And moreover, knowing that the Cross ultimately led to His resurrection, Christ led his bride to eternal life.
Is this not exactly what I’m seeking to prepare for as I pursue my vocation to marriage? It is in fact this sacrifice that constitutes marriage itself. Saint John Paul II once said, “Marriage is a permanent reminder of what happened on the Cross.” In marriage, the couple vows to die to themselves just as Christ died on the cross, to carry the hardships of life as Christ carried the cross, and to bear the wrongs of their beloved as Christ bore the scourging at the pillar. Moreover, marriage is a call to lead one another to heaven – imitating Christ’s saving act that lead to Easter Sunday and eternal life.
I’ve said multiple times before that Timmy and I often say, “Our entire relationship should be Good Friday”. As I’ve journeyed through this Lenten season, I’ve become even more aware that Timmy and I’s vocation should mirror that of Christ’s – it is His relationship with the Church that gives meaning to our relationship with each other. And so, as we enter more deeply into Holy Week I pray that we might be able to more faithfully imitate Christ’s fulfillment of His vocation as we continue to prepare for our own.
Please keep us and all discerning couples in your prayers!