I am excited to get married in the Catholic church. Today, it dawned on me what a blessing it is to get married (and to be married) in the Church that views marriage as a calling...not just a choice.
The New Testament reading today comes from 1 Corinthians 1:1-3: "From Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and from Sosthenes, our brother, to God's Church which is in Corinth; to you whom God has sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy...." As I thought about this, I was reminded of John 1:12-13: "But to those who did accept Him, He gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice, but of God."
Interestingly, this past week was "Vocations Week" in the Catholic Church. A vocation is a calling to a life of service. The Holy Orders - priests, sisters, brothers, deacons (maybe? I'm not quite up on all my Catholic insider knowledge) - and Marriage are considered vocations. A friend posted on her blog about vocations this week that we should develop that mindset of 'who is God calling you to be?', not 'what do you want to do?' when you grow up.
This view of marriage as a calling and not just a choice is a bit radical for our day and time. To be called means that God has initiated this marriage & love and we are simply responding. It has weight. meaning. responsibility. action. But, it also lifts the burden. Let's look at that verse from the 1 Corinthians, Paul describes sanctification (holiness) as a gift; our response (to be holy) is simply to walk in the way (live) of that gift of holiness.
This call to marriage is similar. The love that God has given me for Dan; the love that God has given me in Dan; and the love that God pours out on me through Dan is an incredible gift. It is a blessing. Responding to that gift by establishing a lasting covenant with God and each other is also an incredible gift. Our response to this gift of each other and our bond is simply to walk in the way of covenant love.
I love that our God is a God of covenant love. He is our perfect example and picture of love that sacrifices; love that gives; love that rejoices; love that celebrates; love that prays; love that forgives; love that forebears shortcomings with patience, understanding and grace; love that gives grace upon grace; love that never gives up; love that hopes; love that acts; love that is always faithful; love that is loyal; love that is constant; love that provides; love that lavishes; love that grows deeper, wider and higher; love that overcomes; love that never fails. What a gift to learn how to walk in this love; to bestow this love upon another; to be loved by another in this way.
Marriage is not only a choice; it is a calling. I say this because in today's world we view choices as things that are not binding. We can change our mind; we can take it back; we can return it for a better model. A calling is a way of life; it is who we are - not just something we do. The calling of marriage reminds me that what God wills, God accomplishes. My role in marriage is to seek Him first, to walk in His love, and to view Dan as my gift from Him...and learn how to treat him thusly. It will not be easy, but with God all things are possible.