Mark and I just celebrated our 27th Wedding Anniversary and I find it ironic that things seem to have come full circle since the day we were married. Girls are back in bell bottomed hip huggers, baby doll tops, flip flop sandals, and long straight or spiral-curled hair. Guys are wearing tousled hair and button downs with T-shirts underneath. New grads are out there competing for jobs that don’t exist. The economy is in recession, and people are wondering what to do next. Sad to say, the preservation of the sanctity of marriage hasn’t fared much better and we are in a state of unprecedented moral decline. Things aren’t all that different from the way they were in the 1980s, I’m afraid. Once again we’re in the throes of fear and uncertainty.
I’m happy to report that our marriage has fared far, far better. To be sure, it hasn’t been a carefree cruise. We’ve been through some really rough times: Three premature babies, job loss, financial hardship, bouts of poor health, and a variety of other obstacles to overcome. Obviously, our life together hasn’t been a picnic.
It has, however, been a great joy and I wouldn’t trade a single second of it all the chocolate in the world. If you knew how much I love chocolate, you’d understand the value of what I just said! Each adversity made us a little tougher, a little wiser and helped to shape us a bit more like the image of the Blessed Trinity that a married couple is meant to be. Each difficulty helped to test, refine, and strengthen us in our commitment to each other and in the living of our Catholic faith. It’s like St. Peter said:
“… So that the genius of your faith — being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1Pe 1:7)
I’d like to be able to say the same about our country. I’d like to be able to say that each adversity has made us a little tougher, a little wiser, and a bit more like the image of God that we are meant to be. I’d like to be able to say that each difficulty helped to test, refine, and strengthen us in our commitment to each other as a nation and in the living of our respective faiths. In some cases, I think that has indeed happened and I’m very grateful. In other cases, it seems as though we’re headed for economic disaster and moral atrophy.
We can’t prevent adversity from coming our way, nor would we necessarily want to if it’s in God’s divine plan for us. We do, however, want to meet it head-on with joy, hope, courage and trust in God’s mercy and power. Just as a married couple knows that their life together will not always be smooth sailing and yet they remain firm in their commitment to God and each other, so too, should we realize that the history of our country will not always be smooth sailing and yet we must remain firm in our commitment to God and each other as a nation. Eventually, I pray, we’ll be able to look back and see how much we’ve grown. That’s the genius of our faith.