Beyond I Do

Love against all odds, or so the photo depicts of Hernie and her husband. This photo went viral on Facebook, the day after the couple tied the knot during the torrential rains and floods that befell on Manila on 7 August 2012.  On Hernie’s Timeline in Facebook, she voiced her fears and wishes for the the weather to cooperate, to literally not rain on her parade. But, despite the odds, they said their “I Do’s” that day. The church was flooded, too, and one of the photos on her Timeline showed the couple standing on the flooded aisles.

Today, the Solemnity of our Lady of the Assumption, we recall how the Virgin Mary said “yes” to God when he asked through one of his angels for her to bear Jesus, to be the Mother of God. What most don’t realise, however, is that saying yes that first time led to numerous other yeses thereafter: when Simeon prophesised that her  soul would a sword pierce; to fleeing to Egypt in the middle of the night to save her child; losing that child for three days only to be told by him that he was in his Father’s house; meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary, carrying the ignominable cross; watching him be crucified; receiving his dead body; laying him in a tomb.

She must have been so devastated, in unimaginable agony to watch her son be tortured and die, and yet, saying yes to God’s will at the same time.

Married couples should do the same.  Marriage is sacred, after all. The first time we say I do is just the beginning of many I do’s — to all the trials, pleasures, hardships, troubles, and children that a blessed union would bring. We made vows to stay true to one another in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. How often do couples these days forget or put aside those vows?

We didn’t plan it and like to believe that Mother Mary had a hand on the date by husband and I chose to get married.  We decided we didn’t want to choose a date that would be the birthday of any of our family members, and that we wanted it to be during the first half of the month. The 8th of August 1998 had too many 8s, considered to bring heaps of luck by many Filipinos, as influenced by the Chinese. Thus, that day was already booked. The following Saturday was available, and so we booked that date to wed at the Archbishop’s Palace in Cebu.

It wasn’t until someone mentioned it to us a week later that it dawned on us that our wedding date was the Feast of the Assumption, and not until the sermon during our Nuptial Mass when the officiating priest (my mum’s younger brother whom I’m quite close to) mention it did we realise that our wedding motif was ivory and blue, colours symbolic of the Virgin Mary.

St. Josemaria Escriva wrote in Conversations, 107, “If a marriage is to preserve its initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day, and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity.”

It has been 14 years since my husband and I exchanged I do’s with family, relatives, and close friends as witnesses. Through the years we have continued to say “I Do” to all the challenges and joys our life together brings; still hold hands, make each other laugh and smile, dance even when there’s no music playing.

And as I always like to say, here’s to the next 100 years!

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