REFLECTION: Wedding anniversaries PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 June 2014 12:45

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

It’s always a cause for joy when a couple decides to celebrate their wedding anniversary and asks for a renewal of their marriage vows in the Holy Mass. I find that gesture very meaningful. Definitely it goes beyond mere social expectations, since there is actually no obligation for them to do that. Besides, the whole affair

usually entails a lot of inconveniences.

It must be more because they know they have lived their marriage as best as they could. And even if there had been many trials and difficulties, and even mistakes and failures, they managed to go through it all in a way that is not just a matter of luck but more a matter of reliance on God’s grace and many blessings, as well as faith in their own powers.

Every time I have the chance to take part in these celebrations, I always see the couples very thankful to God and to many others who may have helped them in some way. I don’t think they do it to show off. When they again say their “I do’s,” I can’t help but notice the tone of greater sincerity, meaningfulness and fulfillment.

I don’t think they feel like they are mere survivors of a long plight of suffering, though suffering they must have experienced quite a lot. They look more like beaming victors who feel blessed and privileged to have gone through the drama of married and family life with their love not only intact, but rather growing and prospering.

As they look back on their years of marriage, they must feel how they have proven the veracity of their commitment “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Through those years, they must have raised children and faced the complex and complicated responsibility of bringing them up, educating and forming them into mature persons and Christians. They must have faced all kinds of tests ranging from the physical to the spiritual and moral, from the financial to the emotional.

Through it all, they have managed to remain firm to their commitment and must have experienced first-hand the wonders of God’s grace working in them, to which they also much have tried to correspond as faithfully as possible. They must have been convinced that the whole thing is more the making of God than theirs. All they

did was simply to remain faithful in spite of whatever.

Yes, there could have been mistakes, failures and lack of correspondence, but in the end, they managed to go past them, even making them the concrete occasions to develop virtues and other qualities that have been missing in the beginning of their married life.

I usually ask the couples why they decided to celebrate their anniversary with a renewal of their marriage vows in the Holy Mass, and I also usually get a good, earnest and spontaneous answer.

“All this comes from God,” is their more or less standard reply.

This is true, and is worth spreading around. It’s the good news that should warm the hearts of couples already married or planning to do so. Marriage is a matter of faith more than anything else.

When its authentic nature and intrinsic laws are respected and followed, you can be sure that the grace of God will always be there to give light, strength and support. What is wanting, wounded or damaged in our human efforts to stay married is supplemented or completed, healed and repaired.

More than that, if lived according to God’s designs for it, marriage can be a sure way to heaven, a great provider of sanctity, aside from being an effective means to foster human maturity and social progress and development.

This is because marriage is a reflection and participation of nothing less than Christ’s love for his all of us, the people and children of God. It’s guaranteed not to fail. It is a powerful generator of goodness in the world.

We need to spread the gospel of marriage more vigorously, to counter forces than tend to undermine and openly contradict its true nature and laws, obviously with expected and matching consequences.

Let’s hope that those who have gone through married life already for such a period as to celebrate their silver, ruby, golden or diamond anniversaries should take active part in proclaiming, promoting and defending marriage as it should be.

The world is in great need of living witnesses who attest to the true beauty of marriage.