I feel like such a rebel! I have condoned -- no, encouraged! -- something that would have been unthinkable to me just a few years ago. The first public hints of my mental shift came through on a giddy facebook status a few weeks ago:
Through steady growth in my Faith and (please God) in wisdom, some of my philosophies of life have changed so much that I don't think even my 40-year-old self would recognize Leila today. Life is wild and wonderful. Hang on tight….
People think that the great freedom is in jettisoning the "constraint" of the moral law and God Himself. But they are wrong. There is no freedom there. The freedom is in jettisoning the more secular conventions of the culture, sometimes with abandon.
My mind was whirling, processing, but few people knew what was was happening behind the scenes.
Soon, I quoted the Holy Father:
“God always surprises us. Like the new wine in the Gospel, God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God!” -- Pope Francis
I even brought my hidden excitement to this blog, posting these inspiring words from Pope Francis to those at World Youth Day:
Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion; in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of "enjoying" the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, "forever", because we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage "to swim against the tide". Have the courage to be happy.
The pope's exhortation to the youth resonated deeply within me, because something was brewing in my own family and was changing my own heart and mind.
I had always been a theoretical proponent of young marriage for our Catholic youth if the couple was sufficiently mature and understood the meaning of the Sacrament -- but not actually for my own children! After a college degree, yes, then the Miller children could safely head to the altar. But before? I couldn't condone it. I was just not that brave. Ultimately, I cared too much about what people thought.
But that was before the shocking realization that my 19-year-old daughter not only would soon get engaged, but should soon get engaged!
And now I don't care what people think.
Early marriage is not for everyone, to be sure. But this particular young adult couple, firmly ensconced in their Catholic Faith, desired to be married. Dean and I assessed the situation and ultimately agreed that they should be. Bam! Just like that, the conventions we grew up with were cast off like shackles. Our daughter would marry at the age of 20, before her degree was complete.
And so, with Mama still basking in the wonderful strangeness of it all, my husband and I give our blessing to what happened last weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, when our younger daughter agreed to marry the stellar 22-year-old man who proposed to her on bended knee in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus Christ Himself, Who is the Source and Summit of both of their lives.
With the young man's parents' support and blessing as well, the Millers have begun planning another wedding that (depending on the Navy!) should take place in about a year.
I'm still in awe, and I couldn't be more thrilled by this turn of events -- and my own turn of heart.
God is full of surprises!
May the Lord bless the happy couple now and for many, many decades to come!
Jenna Rousseau Photography