August 25, 2006

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Commitment: It’s the chance of a lifetime

Last June 9, my wife and I marked the day five years ago when we exchanged our vows of marriage.

Certainly our fifth anniversary was more low-key than our wedding day. We celebrated it quietly by sharing a nice supper together and by taking an evening stroll on a wooded section of Indianapolis’ Central Canal Towpath.

This more subdued observance of our anniversary was appropriate, though, and did not mark a lessening of the love we share for each other.

It was appropriate because our commitment of love and fidelity has been lived out time and again by both of us in the countless ordinary circumstances of our everyday lives.

So, from our perspective, the relaxed celebration of the five years in which we have renewed our vows in many mundane ways showed a strengthening of our married sacrament, not a weakening of it.

All of this came to mind recently as I sat on our front porch in the cool of the evening after one of those ordinary days of living out my married vows. My wife and I had worked to put our children to bed and completed other chores that needed to be done by the end of the day.

I sat there and read the transcript of an interview that Pope Benedict XVI recently gave to four German-speaking journalists at his summer home in Castel Gandolfo, Italy.

He was asked what message he might have for young people during his upcoming visit to Germany this fall.

After speaking of his happiness about the tendency of youths and young adults to let their faith inspire them to serve those in need, he challenged them to shed their fear of commitment.

“Reawaken the courage to make definitive decisions: They are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life,” the pope said. “They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction.”

It is a courageous act of faith today for many young adults to make a “definitive decision,” walking through one door and necessarily rejecting many others.

These young men and women often dream of lives filled with excitement and heroism, with adventure and high ambitions.

On the surface, the day-to-day life that my wife and I share in our married sacrament would seem far from a fulfillment of such dreams.

But in many ways, hidden to the eyes of others, but hopefully as clear as crystal to God, Cindy and I—and countless other young and old married couples, priests and religious—is having our freedom built up by grace through our renewed commitment to our life’s vocations. It is the freedom to become the person God created me and so many others to be.

There is in these freely chosen ways of life an authentic excitement because we’re dealing all the time with matters of ultimate importance—the salvation of your soul and those committed to your care.

So if you’re willing to look at these vocations with the eyes of faith, you can strive to be a hero, set out on adventures that are ever new and fix your eyes on an ambition that is as high as heaven itself. †


Local site Links: