“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)
Twenty one years! How could that be?
That day, I imagined I could love you no more than I did. My heart was full, ready to burst!
I, Thomas, take you, Patricia, to be my wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad,
in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
My journey was now complete. At last we had had surrendered our separate identities, bound together by God as one in the sacramental bonds of everlasting covenant faithfulness. Wonderful! Terrifying! Everything else the future could hold, it seemed to me, could only be mere commentary. My single fear that day was that these God-kindled fires could dim and cool. How could we sustain such passion?!
I had no clue!
Those fires had indeed been fully entrusted to us by God that day. But they had yet to permeate us, every bit of us, consume in us all that was unworthy to make love the defining whole of our common life. As the years progressed, I saw more clearly that Sacramental fire commands our common, daily consent amid the endless vagaries of life.
As we left the island of Aruba, where the whole world blanked out beneath the Honeymoon, suddenly we found a complex and challenging world waiting to test our unity. We found those innumerable moments of decision confronted us as the voice of God. In them He said: “Let my fire refine you and make of your common life an inferno!” Out of the totalizing commitment of our monogamous love rises a new epiphany of beauty in creation: an icon of Three-in-one love. That icon of divine love was perfectly painted in Christ, on the Cross, where love was made perfect and the real meaning of unity was revealed.
“What God therefore has joined together (synezeuxen) man must not separate (chōrizetō).” You, my Bride, are His new commandment to me: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34; 15:13). To love you is to love Him, to love Him is to love you. To be loved by you is to be loved by Him. And I desire no greater gift than to be His love for you.
If I am to act with the grain of God, my every choice must be in reference to you; be defined by you; be for you and with you and about you. Holiness for me means fidelity to the grace of synezeuxen, so that our love defines me wholly. My life’s greatest danger is chōrizetō, what tears apart the building symphony of our life into a covenant hymn.
How I’d love to recount all of the details of our story thus far!! But “if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). “If I count them, they are more than the sand;
to finish, I must be eternal, like you.” (Ps. 139:18).
But we have the perfect summation of all we have done in our children!! Michael, Nicholas, Maria, Catherine, and the six whom you labored into eternal life. Our children whom we love, our joy and crown, the living sign of our one flesh union. They are THE gift that reminds me every day, amid my thousand failings, that God is faithful to us and will bring to completion the good work He has begun in us.
I am supremely grateful that I can spend my life with you, now and in the Age to Come. Thank you for saying yes to Him for me.
You’re my Lady…