God, Weddings and Ancient Romans, God Is Strange Sometimes

Teaching my children to value truth requires that I must practice what I preach. In valuing Truth–Jesus, the person and Son of God–I too have to speak the truth.

It has been an awful couple of months for me. My husband was in the hospital at the end of March and in early April I had heart attack symptoms, dental issues, my son’s attitude grew sullen and uncooperative, and a host of other problems have cropped up. What gives? I asked the LORD.

It all began the day before my husband’s hospital stay. The last Sunday in March, before visiting a local bookstore, I dropped our son off with him to toss a few baseballs with a work friend. One the way over, I prayed for a friend’s daughter who knew two girls who died the week prior. Both were college age: one to suicide and the other in her sleep. Suicide seems to be on the rise with young people lately, and it weighs heavily on my heart. I told God about it.

I entered the bookstore with an agenda. I specifically needed to research wedding venues to write articles for a client. Walking inside, I felt the holy Spirit’s presence. I know His presence by an overwhelming sense of peace and joy combined with the arrival of knowledge not known before that moment. I call it “knowing” or “I knew.” A new understanding or knowledge of something just arrives. Sometimes it is connected to my surroundings, sometimes a random Scripture or other text, sometimes it comes from the person with whom I am conversing.

This new knowledge was a message that we are to further a message of forgiveness and mercy, no matter the sin.

Walking along, a book about ancient Rome caught my eye: Rome in 60 Seconds a Day. What a neat way for Brad and I to learn ancient history, I thought, so I picked it up. After quickly selecting several glossy inches thick Brides magazines to peruse for information on selecting reception venues, I sat down in the cafe to begin my research.

Randomly, I opened the Rome book. Well…I landed on a page about sex in ancient Rome. It appears that Romans didn’t even have a word for same-sex attraction. Sex wasn’t about gender there, according to this book. I pushed it aside. Not appropriate for a 12-year-old. As I read, though, I felt a heaviness descend on me. This happens to me sometimes. It felt like a black hole, like I was being pushed into the chair by something much larger than me. I thought of it as “God’s hand is heavy on me,” because I first felt this heaviness at my prayer group, and because the heavy feeling was not accompanied by hatred just a feeling that I was in the presence of the holy Spirit.

I knew at the moment that this is America’s direction. That ancient Rome’s view of sexuality is where we, as a nation, are headed. That is not new. Current events speak to this.

Rattled, I opened the first Bride magazine. These glossy publications are full of ads and photographs intended to sell. Though I didn’t see a venue article listed on the cover, I randomly opened it to an article about venues highlighting a gay wedding. Okay.

Random works for me. Life in Christ is not random. God gets His message across.  The heavy feeling continued, and I lost interest. Distracted by my thoughts, I decided to leave. I took my books back to the shelves and as I left the store I noticed two misplaced books on the rounder nearest the exit: one titled Semper Fideles (always faithful)–my son is taking Latin this year and my daughter is married civilly to a Marine–and the other a book on choosing the perfect wedding venue.

That night, as I opened my Google News app, I first read that the Supreme Court was beginning to hear arguments surrounding the legality of gay marriages. A few issues, of course, came immediately to mind. A big one is that if and when gay marriage is constitutional this argument arrives at the doors of the Church. Then, once the Church’s and government’s view of marriage does not agree, how does that play our in our lives, in the life of the Church?

I asked Jesus if this should be private or if I should blog it; I’m late as usual.

These are issues that affect our families but, as I have told my children, we must have an authority, a bank of “Truth.” Truth is Jesus, and though it’s unpopular and hurtful at times, the Church is the repository of His teachings and their meanings.

(After I posted this blog tonight, I went out for a drive. Another driver ran into my car. It’s now nondriveable. The good news is that no one was harmed. Too, a witness stopped: she sits two pews up from my family in Mass on Sundays. Her being there reminded me that God is with us always.) 

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