Casting Out Fear

Daily ReadingsWednesday after Epiphany / 1 Jn 4:11-18 / Mk 6:45-52

There is no fear in love…because fear has to do with punishment. [1 Jn 4:18]

This verse is resonating loudly with me today: just last night, I finally admitted to West that my recent emotional state is partially a product of pre-wedding jitters. I made a bit of a joke out of it with a comment along the lines that I knew they were perfectly normal among people who weren’t like him; the statement was a backhanded compliment about his confidence, and he caught (and appreciated) my implication. All the same, he answered quietly, he’d had his share of those himself.

We didn’t talk about it much; the only follow-up was this morning when I asked him if his particular jitters were anything I needed to worry about. According to him, they aren’t. He was just admitting that he, too, had had a few fleeting second thoughts here and there. But he, like me, recognized that it was just typical fears about an upcoming significant life change.

He is still confident that getting married right away is the right decision, even if it means we are violating Church teaching by going ahead with the civil ceremony before either of our declarations of nullity come through.

I am too. It grieves me greatly to know that our marriage will not be recognized by the Church, but at the same time, it’s much better to go ahead and have the civil ceremony than to openly live together without any marital bond at all…and there is a long list of very good reasons to go ahead with combining our households. West has the same sentiments.

Do our pre-wedding jitters and grief over the irregularity mean our love isn’t perfect? Yes. But we are both humans; neither one of us is divine. All we can do is work to overcome our fears, and that’s what we’re both doing.

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On some levels, the Church teaching that forbids even civil remarriage until a declaration of nullity is, itself, the product of fear. The main reason is because there’s no guarantee that the declaration will come through. Under those circumstances, a couple in a civil remarriage could be doomed to either a sexless marriage or a lifetime of adultery. It’s a valid concern.

But I’ve chosen, and he has chosen, not to give in to that fear. A sexless marriage isn’t an option in our case. Neither is an agreement to divorce if an annulment is denied. We’re taking a leap of faith by believing that we will, eventually, no longer be considered adulterers. That’s one aspect of our love that is perfect. It’s a good beginning, and a good base to start with.

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