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Archive for the ‘Pre-Cana’ Category

Just under five months ago, I asked Casey to marry me.
That’s going to happen today.
Almost immediately after I proposed, we talked about how we didn’t want to wait too long and that we were ready to be married to one another.
We just didn’t realize how quickly five months would go by.
Even up to today, we’re making last minute adjustments and prep. No matter what’s ready, we are crossing the finish line together by 5:30. We’ve come to realize that today isn’t the finish line, however. It is the start of the longest, most life-giving marathon there is: marriage. Along the way, we know there will be faith, family and friends with figurative water cups to help nourish and sustain us. We will never be thirsty without those things in our lives.
I know one thing: I am emotional as I type this. As a boy, I dreamed that I would marry a sweet and smart woman who brought me joy, made me laugh and made me better. As a man, I will stand in front of the altar and know I’ve found her and much, much more.
I will aim to be her equal.
A look at Cassandra Michele Anderson puts the world in perspective. All of its possibilities come into focus.
I don’t know where life is going after today, but I go into the unknown with great joy, anticipation and humility.
This blog will continue beyond today and become our marriage and family blog.
When I proposed, I asked Casey if she would be interested in doing a blog with me. As a professional writer, this was a natural outlet for me, but I figured Casey could use it as a teaching tool for the teenagers she works with. They would see the Sacrament of Marriage is something truly special. I may be the writer, but Casey is this blog’s best contributor and I learn something each time I read her musings. She makes me laugh and think at the same time.
Thanks to you, the reader, who has followed along. You’ve contributed so much to our journey and we hope you continue with us.
The journey is only starting. Bring the water cups.

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Last year, my parish youth ministry leaders coordinated a fantastic program to teach teens about the Catholic teaching on love, relationships, and sexuality, based upon JPII’s “Theology of the Body”.
Amongst the many gems of teaching about honoring God’s creation and discerning our call and our vocation, the sessions emphasized the ideals of reflecting God’s love through our human relationships.
According to “Theology of the Body”, love and sex, within the context of sacramental matrimony, is designed by God to be a direct reflection of Christ-like love, which is Free, Total, Faithful, and Fruitful. This is my favorite component of the whole T.O.B. series, because it highlights the ways that married love (and, yes, sex) communicates God’s love to each other and to the world in both physical and emotional ways.
FREE
Jesus’s love was free: He was fully human, and with that humanity came free will. Jesus willingly entered into ministry that gave his disciples a new understanding of God’s unconditional love.
Married love is free: Matt and I have no reason to choose marriage but our love for one another. There is no outside force that is pushing this decision upon us. It is completely our free choice to become a new family.
TOTAL
Jesus’s love was total: The crucifix says it all. John 3:16. There isn’t any more complete love than the total sacrifice of your life!
Married love is total: Speaking of sacrifice… In a less literal, but equally selfless way, husbands and wives lay their lives down for one another. When I make a vow to love, honor, and cherish Matt, I am forever giving up a life of only thinking for myself. I’ll be totally invested in his well being, and that of our future children.
FAITHFUL
Jesus’s love was faithful: He never gave up on his friends, and he never gave up on God. Even during moments of despair (like in the Garden of Gethsemane) , Jesus demonstrated faith and obedience to God.
Married love is faithful: Despite occasional bad days and inevitable disagreements, husbands and wives support each other loyally. In the sacrament of matrimony, Matt and I will make vows to put each other first, to honor one another in good times and bad. From that day forward, we will be each other’s primary team and partner.
FRUITFUL
Christ’s love is fruitful: never in the history of the world has the life of one man had a greater influence on future generations. Christ’s love has taught us about how the world works, and more importantly, how God loves. Scriptures continue to guide and inspire us to fulfill the promise that “I am the vine, and you are the branches…”
Married love is fruitful: Even beyond the obvious “fruits” of married love and sex — children– marriage is fruitful in the ways that the sacrament continues to strengthen and inspire the husband and wife to live and serve within their community. The fruits of married love include the confidence we will have in sharing ourselves with our families, our friends, and our Church. Matt’s love for me gives me hope and encourages me to be my best self at home and at work … There is joy in knowing the support of my beloved. And the fruits multiply!

This is the ideal to which married couples strive. Every day, as Matt and I find new ways to love one another, we will again offer love that imitates Christ’s free and total and faithful and fruitful self-giving in every way.

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Our Wedding is only one hundred days away!

Every day this month has brought new details to discuss and reservations to be made and sales to shop… which is just a little exhausting.  (Thanks, Dad, for the major budget consultation last night!  I hope you slept better than I did afterwards…)

This Friday, Matt and I will head to the Best Western by the airport to attend a weekend long retreat called Engaged Encounter.  This is going to be our fulfillment of the Catholic requirement of marriage prep, called Pre-Cana.

The term “Pre-Cana” literally means “Before Cana”… and Cana refers to the town in Galilee where Jesus performed his first public miracle.  What was the event in Cana at which Jesus turned water into wine?  You guessed it: a wedding!  Look it up– John 2:1-11.

the Wedding at Cana

My favorite things about this Gospel story are that a) it involves the adult Jesus listening to and obeying his Mother, who already had faith in what he was capable of; b) it shows Jesus’ first public miracle (a sign of his divine nature) as providing extra wine for the sake of the wedding celebration! He was sparing the community of their party being cut short, and sparing the hosting newlyweds of any embarrassment that would have come from the bar running dry.  Straight from the beginning of his ministry, Jesus was all about the needs of the community.  This story points out to us that Christ (and, to be fair, the Blessed Mother) valued the wedding celebration for the way that the community gathered to share in love and witness God’s grace through the couple.   We don’t know who the newlyweds were… or how they knew Jesus and invited him to their wedding… but we know that of all the times and places in the world, this was the moment chosen to reveal a hint at what was to come in his ministry.

It makes me curious about that couple in Cana.  Were they cousins or family friends of Mary?  Did they have any clue that day of the eternal significance of their “special day”?  What might it be like to have Jesus Christ as a guest at our wedding?  To have the messiah be amongst friends and family gathered to support us as we begin our lives as a new family?  To have Emmanuel, the Incarnate Word, the Alpha and the Omega there to pray with us and sing and dance with us and eat cake with us?

Here’s the truly amazing thing:  He will be there.  In the presence of the Eucharist at our nuptial Mass, as well as in the community of our loved ones, Jesus will remain with us throughout the first day of our marriage.  As we engage as gathered members of the Church, we strengthen in love and grace with the members of the Body of Christ.  …and he’s invited to dance at the reception, too!

Cheers,  Casey

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It’s been a very busy week in planning our Dec. 30 wedding!

Casey’s mother, Susie, is making the veil. So, the two of them went looking for material last Sunday and came away very happy.  One thing I’ve enjoyed during the last seven days is watching those two bond over wedding planning. It’s incredible to see how excited they are to be with one another.

On top of that, Casey also reserved room blocks at Turf Valley in Ellicott City and the DoubleTree in Columbia. 

We sat down with two of my co-workers at The Cathedral Foundation and Cathedral Printing Services, Tim and April, to put together a look for our invitations. We know we’re in good hands with those two. It’ll be creative and expertly put together.

One of my favorite things was going tuxedo shopping Thursday. I was joined by my mother, Danna, and sister, Elizabeth, as well her two daughters, Molly and Natalie. Casey and Susie came as well and the women helped this color blind fool pick something very debonair. My brother, Jeff, who will be my best man and my soon-to-be-brother-in-law, Garrett, are going to look sharp.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic ... aka: "paradise"

Today, we booked our honeymoon vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The resort looks absolutely luxurious and it’ll be an amazing getaway!

Most of all, we are looking forward to our Engaged Encounter weekend here in Baltimore Sept. 23-25. As a couple dedicated to building a Catholic family that strengthens each other and our children, with our faith at the core, we are excited to learn. It’ll be a very important step in relationship-building.

Now, what’s next? Oh, yeah, somewhere to live.

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