Although I had mentioned to my husband wanting to go to Confession the night before, my day had been growing busier. I became distracted with this and that–laundry, paperwork, groceries– and had almost forgotten my intent to go. As the hour drew near, my husband said, “Didn’t you want to go to Confession this afternoon? I’ll go, too, and we can take turns holding Baby Gwen.” “What would I do without him?” I thought to myself. “Forget about confession for one.”
I saw them out of the corner of my eye as I sat in the chapel–an old woman and an old man waiting to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The woman stood up first and walked to the confessional. When she came out, she helped lift her husband to his feet, handed him his cane, and helped to steady him. Then she carefully walked with her arm around him to the door of the confessional so that he wouldn’t fall.
When he was done, his wife stood up and helped him back to a chair. I realized that they had just created a beautiful image of marriage. The woman had literally helped guide her husband closer to God’s grace. Marriage is a path to holiness. A gift God created to lead us closer to him. Living out our vocation daily by growing nearer to God with our spouse may not appear as obvious as how this wife had cared for her husband in the chapel. It can be the ordinary tasks of love, the tiny, daily sacrifices that make up a marriage. We are called to love our spouse with the love of Christ, to encourage our beloved in holiness, to grow together by God’s grace. What a weighty calling! A calling I find myself falling short of every day.
I looked beside me at my husband, holding our newborn baby girl, and then back at the old couple, helping each other walk from the chapel to their car and thought to myself, “If only we can be that lucky. To grow old together, leading each other to Christ, day after day.” That is my hope and prayer.