Roses And Thorns
by Rev. Robert J. Hermley
Stories for Life Index
The bride and groom came down the aisle smiling broadly, hand in hand. They nodded to their relatives, friends and acquaintances on either side of the aisle who quickly smiled back at them, wishing them well. Everything was joy and happiness. They walked out of the door of the church and stepped quickly into the garden of life. It was a garden laden with many roses, but also with some thorns, with many beautiful flowers, and yet a bit of cactus. But the bride and groom were well prepared, they had gone together for many years and the had come to know each other well; they knew as much about each other's likes and dislikes as anyone could. Over and over, they had prepared themselves for this day, and now they were indeed ready.
They had seen so many of their friends wed with little or no preparation and seek divorce soon after. They had also seen many of their Catholic friends rush into marriage within the Church and very soon after break up and seek annulments. The had sworn to God and to each other that nothing like that would happen to them. So they started long ago to ready themselves for this beautiful and momentous day. For them, marriage was to be forever; there was to be no turning back. They felt very strongly that one of the biggest problems of married life was a lack of trust of wedded couples in each other, which they felt stemmed from a lack of trust in God and in His promise to bless married love. So, they prayed for each other and prayed that Christ would be the center of their hearts. They decided that their every movement would be guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church, for did not Christ promise to be with it even to the end of the world? Marriage was a covenant like the covenant God made with His chosen people. This covenant would make them and their children members of Christ's family. Christ, as Father, would nourish and feed them with His Body and Blood. Mary would be their mother; the Catholic Church would be their teacher. They all would truly be the family of God.
The vowed never to miss Mass on Sunday unless they would be ill. Satan never takes a vacation, and neither would they, without first inquiring where they could attend Mass on Sunday. Theirs would be a deep faith in God and they promised to practice that faith to the fullest. Their children would be raised as Catholics, and they would see to the religious education of each and every one of their children themselves. Canon Law, Vatican II, and Pope John Paul's beautiful encyclical on family, Familiaris Consortis, had made it definitely clear that the education of children in married life was original and primary with parents and that the parents' part in teaching was irrevocable and inalienable. In no way, then, would they turn the religious education of their children over to anyone else, particularly with the false teachings that were so rampant, deviating from authentic Catholic doctrine. The would keep the Ten Commandments of God faithfully, and practice the Precepts of the Church as well. They would teach their children to do the same, and they would expect them to obey. After all, children are not mere creatures of the state; they are born first into a family.
They had determined that under no circumstances would there be contraception in their marriage, for that had been condemned as mortally sinful in Humanae Vitae. If ever any problem arose over the number of children, the problem would be solved by the Natural Family Planning Method as approved by the Church. Always and forever, their every action would be guided by the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church and never by liberal theologians in sheep's garments - not even those who wore roman collars along with their sheep's clothing. They firmly believed that life began at conception, and no earthly court could make it otherwise. The believed that, in God's good time, He would judge those Supreme Court Justices whose hands were bloody from the new holocaust. Not even all the waters of the Potomac would ever wash them clean. The blood of their innocent sacrifices would now stain the houses of every abortionist to let the avenging angel know that he was NOT to pass over this house when God was ready to settle accounts - and the blood on White Houses would especially be visible. The couple had thought deeply about such matters. They were not political matters; they were moral ones.
On the other hand, their house would be decorated with a Crucifix, pictures of the Holy Family, and other pious objects to let anyone entering their house know that they were entering a holy house, a house where a a New Covenant reigned. They promised to talk to each other often and have time each day to talk to their children. They planned to listen to their children and find out their personal feelings. They had determined to correct their children when they were wrong and to hug them and praise them when they were right. They would inculcate their values into their children, that meant no values clarification for their family. The values to be clarified were Christ's values and the values preserved and taught by the one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. They, themselves, would give good example in their own personal lives and they hoped by God's grace that their children would follow. They would answer often to each other the questions: How much do I love you? How can I tell you how much I appreciate you? What else can I do to show you how much I care? If, for any reason, they should have difficulty agreeing over a period of time, they promised to go back to the priest who married them for counsel and strength. You can already see that they had thought out everything very well. It would be a marriage made and ratified by heaven. This was a love affair that was going to last because it was centered on God. They would be partners with God, creating new children as He created at conception a new soul for each. They would thereby store up treasure for themselves which neither rust nor moth could consume. They would be faithful; love would be forever even into eternity. There were to be joys and sorrows, happiness and tears, pleasures and pains, roses and thorns, flowers and cactus; but Christ would always be there to lead the way through smiles and tears, through sunshine and rain.
All of this was twenty-five years ago. They raised seven children and everyone of them remained faithful to the Church with deep and lasting faith like their parents. Their mom and dad had taught them well and had lived up to all their promises. Their faith was built on rock, and they were boulders off the old mountain, and not merely chips off the old block. Tomorrow, they would all stand before the altar where their mom and dad would renew the wedding vows that they took and practiced so well so very many years ago in a marriage made by heaven in a garden of roses and thorns.