Two days after Tommy and I got engaged, we did what every newly engaged couple has to do first: we called the Church to set a date. We had perused our calendars and talked to our families and decided that Memorial Day weekend would be perfect, so we requested May 28, 2016. The Church was free, our priest was available, so we locked it down. Holy Matrimony, here we come! Friends were texted, our family was informed, the countdown clock was set up...And then the chaos began.
Every reception venue in town was taken (even the ones we definitely didn't want). Apparently everyone thought getting married on a 3 day weekend was a good idea, not just us. I immediately spun into panic and frantically declared that we were just going to have our reception in some random parking lot, because who cared, as long as we were married! But then our top venue choice called me back. They wanted to see if we were willing to push the wedding back one week. They could give us the rooms we wanted that opened onto the terrace, and they would throw in a comped room at their resort along with decorating services. Three quick phone calls and a frantic email to my mom later, and we had a new date: June 4, 2016.
Sometimes we make plans, share them with everyone we know, and then God laughs...Oh you think you're getting married May 28, do ya! Nope. June 4. I the Lord your God want you to get married on June 4.
Not a month after the chaos of finding a wedding date, Tommy and I were invited to begin blogging for the USCCB, reflecting on the struggles and joys of engagement and newly married life. Jumping at the chance to share our thoughts and experiences, we immediately said yes. But then came the daunting task of choosing a title for our reflections. Knowing we wanted to choose something that was simultaneously theologically profound and catchy, we took the title to prayer. A couple weeks went by with little progress. We were both coming up dry, our writer's block (or title's block) crippling us. It wasn't until I pulled out the Catechism and suggested to Tommy that we go "dumpster diving" and try to find something (anything!) that could work.
That's when we stumbled upon Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1604:
"God who created man out of love also calls him to love - the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love which which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation..."
We were instantly struck by the imagery of the point: God made us all for the purpose of love. It is the basis of our human existence, the very thing that makes us distinct from any other creature. We can love. We can freely choose to serve another, mutually sacrificing and building another up. And this makes us like God in a profound and beautiful way. We are called to do what God has done for us. We are called to love in the same radical way that God loved us into existence.
There was no doubt in our minds: this needed to be the basis of our blog title, and so we submitted "Created and Called Into Love" to the USCCB.
Months later, and 3 blogs into our series for the USCCB, while sitting on an airplane flying from California after speaking at the LA Youth Day and RE Congress in Anaheim to meet Tommy in Mobile, Alabama to keynote their ACYC Conference, I pulled my Catechism out to spend some time in prayer. I flipped open to CCC 1604, prayerfully reflecting upon the idea that the love of Tommy and I was supposed to image the unfailing love of God to man.
Out of nowhere, as if my guardian angel and the Holy Spirit both smacked me across the head with a 2 by 4, it hit me: Tommy and I had not only chosen CCC 1604 to title our blog...it was also the day we had chosen to get married. We will become 1 on 6/04, and our very mission in our marriage must be to live the profound point of Catechism paragraph 1604: to love one another the same way He loves us.
What a gift to have those words not only title our monthly reflections, but be the very basis (and calendar date) of the marriage in which we will live and grow. Without a doubt, the hand of God was at work when we found those words in the Catechism and chose them, the same way He was clearly intervening when we were forced to move the date that we would stand before the Church and the people that love us most and promise that we will strive to be a daily image of the love of the Lord.
Sometimes we make plans, and God laughs at us...and His laughter leads us to something even better than we could have ever imagined.