Marrying the Church

Marrying the Church

Last year, as it was made clear to me countless times by my worldly mother that I must finally accept that my immediate family members had only ever looked on me as an unwanted burden, I would often arrive to Saint Francis of Assisi Church to make my confessions so early, for lack of any home to return to, that it might still be hours before confession times.

On two occasions there were still Nuptial Masses being celebrated before the usual Saturday afternoon confession times. On both occasions, I sat in the back and prayed my rosary for the couple entering into wedlock.

The first time, after the Mass, I helped move two large floral arrangements out of the Sanctuary. I placed each before one of two statues of Our Lady in the small side chapel, one of the Immaculate Conception and one of the Virgin of Aparecida. Right after I did so, I was given a white rose, an extra boutineer that went unused by the wedding party. I could only look at what was in my hands and say the name, “Therese of Lisieux”.

The second time, the groom was sitting with no bride in the chair beside him. The Mass had begun without her entrance and the readings were proceeding. I began the rosary for this couple, also, entrusting to Our Lady the bride’s arrival alongside a motionless and nerve-racked groom. As the priest was about to rise to pray the Gospel, the bride and her maids entered and she took her place.

I was crying uncontrollably by the time the Nuptial Rite began. I, along with two large hispanic families, witnessed the vows between the groom and the bride–whose names, as I listened, happened to be Daniel y Maria Victoria.

In the parish bookstore I discovered a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary immediately after the Mass. I obtained it and asked the priest who officiated the Mass to bless it.

Today, over a year later, I keep the Little Flower’s mysterious rose, a gift for serving the Mystical Rose, and the statue of Our Lady of Victory before me as I watch and pray…a reminder of she for whom I continue to wait upon…to remind me of she whose arrival with her Son, who calls me through all labor to wait so that I might one day rise at the foot of the altar.

I still anticipate that “one day” as I watch and pray.

With every tear, the lifting of the bridal veil draws nearer. With every tear, the hope of hearts burns more brightly. With every prayer, at once both agonizing and consoling, the family grows.

Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.