I love weddings; they are always moments of grace. From the Wedding Feast of Cana to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, Jesus is present. In fact, if He is invited to be the center of the event, grace abounds. Our Catholic teaching reminds us that, “A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ to give grace.” Every time we witness a sacrament being administered, we are witnessing a Holy moment. Our God is never too busy to show up in power, if you but open the “door” of your hearts to Him with a prayerful attitude. No wonder my heart leaps for joy when I receive the invitation to a wedding! I immediately place the card on the bulletin board where it is visible so I can pray daily for the couple about to wed.
As I was praying about this blog, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the wedding of friend’s son. It was a moment of grace, a Holy moment uniting a man and a woman who had known each other all of their lives. As the bride and the groom approached the altar and joined hands to confess their love and proclaim their vows, the Holy Spirit filled the room with His sweet presence. Tears welled up in my eyes and the eyes of others. As we focused on the beautiful bride and the dashing groom, I prayed silently in my heart. Decades of marriage had taught me most couples are unaware of the “quantum leap” they are about to take into the “land of forever.” Oh the joy that filled the room as the priest said the words, “I now pronounce you man and wife.” Their first marital kiss sealed the love they already had in their hearts for one another.The sacramental union of our friend’s son and new bride was followed by the Holy Eucharist. As I received the Eucharist and drank the blood of my Savior, I prayed for my marriage and for our seven adult children. I thanked God that my husband, Patrick, and I, had done the journey from young love to maturely being united in the Sacrament. God’s grace has been sufficient to walk together no matter what season we found ourselves in. We had done the journey in good times, climbing the mountains with high joy filling our souls. We stood by each other in the bad times walking hand and hand together through the valley. In sickness we cared for each other and in health we enjoyed each other. Our “I do” stood the test of time.
As I filed into my pew and knelt down to pray, the Holy Spirit came upon me and spoke life-giving words to my soul. He said, “Ellen, would you rather bask in my love or work in the fields?” I knew just what God meant. Deacon Pat and I had moved to Macon, Georgia to go into fulltime ministry. We had left behind our homeland where we had lived for thirty years; family, friends, church, ministry, community and life as we knew it. I was exhausted, lonely and homesick. Being back in our old Church for the wedding, where we knew everyone and had so been a part of their lives, brought tears to my eyes. I had been crying out to my Heavenly Father for refreshment. God was answering that prayer as only He can, by filling my soul with His love. In an instant the answer came for my Heavenly Father’s question. I am sure that it did not come from me, but from the heart of God. The words came in reply, “Lord, I cannot work in the fields, if I do not first bask in your love.” Mass continued on, but I am not sure I was present. I was deep in prayer contemplating the profound reply.
“I cannot work in the fields Lord Jesus, unless I first bask in your love.” This sentence has formed my ministry as a speaker and a writer. I have learned that if I want to speak or write from the heart of God, I have to spend time basking in His love. I have to be still and know that He is God. I must listen intently, then go forth, and “Do whatever He tells me.” I know that apart from God I can do nothing. Whenever I find myself exhausted working in the fields; trying to give when I do not have anything left to give, I am reminded of that moment of grace. I know that I have to get alone with God and retreat to a quiet place to pray. No one can give without God filling them with His grace first. If you want to work in the fields, you too must “bask in His love.”
Everyone knows that after a wedding the long-awaited honeymoon begins. The groom beckons his bride with the words, “Come away with me, my love.” It is a time for the couple to unite as one. A time to rest, relax, refresh and enjoy one another’s company. It is a time to let the world pass by and bask in the love for one another. It is a time to get to know each other better and to discover how to love each other more. Alone together you learn to listen to each other with the heart.
When our Savior Jesus Christ beckons you with the words, “Come away with me, my love,” it is like a honeymoon for your souls. If you want to be guided by His Spirit and walk in His grace, you must take the time to come away and be alone with Christ. Retreats refresh, renew and restore your heart. When you are apart from people and your daily lives, your ears are little more attuned to God’s voice. Basking in His love brings new gifts, new direction and a new skip in your step as you talk heart to heart with your Savior. When you hear the voice of your beloved calling you to come away, do not delay. He is the one who tends your heart. He knows what you need.
How long has it been ladies since you basked in the love of your Savior? Are you working in the fields way too long and growing weary? God wants to refresh you. Do you hear the voice of your beloved calling, “Come away with me, my love?” Answer swiftly. Go and bask in His love. Let Him bless your heart!
Copyright 2016 Ellen Mongan