Meeting couples married for 50 or more years has been a great honor and inspiration for me this summer. As a freelance writer for my local diocesan newspaper, I attended a Jubilee Celebration Mass held in their honor.
It was one of three such Masses during this summer and although our diocese may be small, it is big on marriage. That gives me hope for my marriage. Nearly 370 couples marked their 50th anniversary this year, representing over 18,400 years of marriage, over 6.5 million days of marriage, and nearly 161 million hours of wedding bliss!
My husband and I are celebrating are celebrating our 21st anniversary this month, and we admittedly have a long way to go to reach the half-century point. But there’s something about standing among long-time married couples that makes me think, “If they can do it, so can we!”
The power of their love and commitment to the sacrament of marriage reflects God’s love for all of us. The Mass celebrated neither their endurance nor sacrifices, nor their years passed by or history, although it’s certainly remarkable. Rather, the bishop said during his homily, we celebrate God’s love, because they have shown it perfectly as married couples.
Marriage provides a clear picture of a life lived full of grace in Jesus Christ. A joyful marriage union between a man and woman is exactly what God planned for us who are called to this vocation. In marriage, God’s love manifests itself in children, gifts of charity, and acts of kindness.
Fifty-year marriages from my diocese have been blessed with more than 439 children and 886 grandchildren and nearly 100 great-grandchildren!
At every marriage ceremony he presides over, the bishop tells couples their objective in marriage is to see each other safely home to heaven. For some of us, that is a bigger mission than others! But again, we’re not alone as husband and wife in the sacrament of marriage. There is a third person in the union, Jesus Christ, and he wants to aid us and renew us every moment of our married lives.
Without Jesus in my marriage, we wouldn’t have made it to two decades. Five decades may seem daunting, but we will take it one day at a day time with Christ at our side.
Heaven is a beautiful goal, the most important goal to set, not only for you and your spouse, but for your children as well. As mothers and wives, we are given the tremendous responsibility to help pave the way to heaven for our loved ones. It helps immensely to know we are not called to do this by ourselves.
Heaven is where love will be complete, where love will be given a reason, and love will be completely restored. On earth in the trenches of marriage, I have questions, including why certain hardships have occurred. Even if I diligently pray, God may not provide me with all of the answers right now. Instead more lately, I pray to Him for more peace and more love in our marriage.
In heaven we will know the love of God, a great love that we cannot even imagine. These thoughts can sustain me through the ups and downs of marriage. It is that overwhelming love of Jesus Christ that is reflected in marriage. Marriage is fruitful because of God’s love. “You have been dauntless in the face of difficulties. The way hasn’t always been easy,” the bishop said to the couples, “but because you have been faithful to God; He has been faithful to you.”
The signs of commitment, hope and faith were apparent when the couples renewed their wedding vows. The smiling pairs turned and faced one another. It was heart-warming to see some hold hands and look into one another’s eyes, after all of those years. When the bishop said, “You may kiss the bride,” couples did kiss, laugh, and hug. And they received a round of applause, most likely reminiscent of their wedding day 50 years ago.
Copyright 2014 Kim Seidel