"It's my ongoing prayer for all men and women to lead lives that honor the way their hearts and God have called them to love. This includes being able to marry." --Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde
I attended a gathering of families and friends on Sunday evening, November 6, 2011, marking the beginning of a year long campaign to celebrate marriage equality. There was food, kid friendly activities, and a short program on the MN United for All Families campaign to defeat the "Marriage Amendment", defining marriage as between one man and one woman. A Catholic neighbor of mine invited me to the event. It was at this gathering that each person present received another invitation. Our host, before her 30 or so guests -- all standing or seated next to each other around the periphery of the living, dining and entryways of her home -- said, "I invite you to tell your stories of what marriage means to you. Don't point or refer to large groups of people in general, tell your story. Make it personal. Share something that can be said in six words, or up to six minutes; think of what you might be able to convey to someone, for example, riding on an elevator with you."
"I invite you to tell your stories of what marriage means to you. Don't point or refer to large groups of people in general, tell your story. Make it personal. Share something that can be said in six words, or up to six minutes..."
The prompt gave me pause, made me smile, and stirred something deep within me that longs to talk about this issue, especially as it relates to my faith, my family, and how I'm called to live love, or "Live + Jesus!" as we say.
Marriage is the transformational vocation I received to live my life committed to one other person, a radical action in any time, in my opinion, evolutionary in its charge. I believe God called me to this institution and to my husband, Francois, just as He called and calls me over and over again to serve others in and through relational ways. Marriage is hard work, no matter who you are or what your sexual orientation is. It's something my partner and I return to daily as we tune into the ways God invites us to love and be gentle and nurturing with one another. I could not do this work without a community of people alongside me, helping model and remind me of Love's mystery, grace and on-going call. The Visitation Sisters, the Catholic women I am a companion to, are such a community of nurturing, religious women, who help anchor me in the ways I've been called to love, partner and serve, as they live their faith and the mystery of the Visitation, fostering mutual love alliances at every turn.
It's my ongoing prayer for all men and women to lead lives that honor the way their hearts and God have called them to love. This includes being able to marry.
Our daughter's godfather is a beautiful Catholic man - who happens to be gay. We chose Zac to serve in this baptismal role for Marguerite because of his gentleness, wisdom, humor, and dedication to his faith. We believe he is a model of God's love in our midst: a God-father for our child in the fullest sense. If Zac is called to marry, and be a father to his own children, we want nothing less for him, as a Catholic family, but to have his heart and calling honored by our larger church and civic communities. We want him to be able to have the love and support that we so need in living out our vocations.
And so we pray. We invite you to share your own stories of what marriage means to you.
I share this post here today as a Visitation Companion, as part of my call to write about - and for - women and men discerning their vocations and the way that they may be called in a religious Catholic tradition, as well as in a larger, universal sense -- honoring the Salesian tradition that the Visitation founders - Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal - modeled for us.