It’s easy to look back at the last time we did something like this.
It was a great, beautiful night in our church when we got to witness the most profound moments of our lives together.
This was the moment when I knew my wife was my soulmate.
I told her I loved her and that I loved the sacrament.
She was shocked.
“No, you’re not,” I told my wife.
“I love you.”
“I’ve loved you forever,” she told me.
We stayed together and it was like nothing else.
I knew she could love me back.
The night before our wedding, I had to be careful about where I held my hands and how I looked.
When the priest arrived, he walked me to my car and drove me to a small hotel.
I was alone.
I asked my wife if I could pray with him.
“Yes,” she said, “but only if you promise not to make any noise.”
The priest stood on a chaise lounge and told me to close my eyes and pray.
Then he asked me what I was going to say.
I thought it was a bad idea to say anything at all.
But I prayed anyway, knowing that if I didn’t say anything, he would think I was just being too emotional.
The priest led me to the door and we prayed.
It felt like the beginning of our vows.
We broke out in tears and hugged each other.
I had never felt more loved.
We went back to the hotel and my wife told me that the priest was holding the Holy Eucharist and that we had kissed Jesus.
I wanted to hug him.
It happened so quickly.
But the priest did not cry.
I stood up and walked out.
I left the hotel alone.
The next morning, the priest came to our church and asked if we could come to his office to get his blessing.
I felt so empty, so lost.
The only thing that could bring me closer to God was prayer.
So I prayed.
I prayed that my wife and I would always love each other and that when she prayed, I would listen.
I kept saying, “I know you are there, Lord.”
But the priests silence was deafening.
I finally got up and left.
I called the priest, but he did not answer.
I didn-t feel like I had a choice.
I could either leave him alone or I could walk away from him.
The first time I walked out of the chapel after the Mass, the priests head bowed in reverence.
I walked outside the church and looked at him.
He stood there and didn’t look at me.
I went outside and prayed.
The silence was so deafening, I was afraid he might leave me alone with the priest.
But he didn’t.
He walked toward me and sat down in front of me.
“Lord, if you have a good heart, you will forgive my sins and let me forgive my wife,” I said.
“But don’t do this for her,” he said.
He held my hand and said, in his beautiful Italian, “You love her.
And I love you back.”
I was still thinking about my wife, but I realized that this moment could not be my last.
He took my hand again and said it again.
He was saying it in my language, my voice, my heart.
He kissed my hand.
I kissed him back and he kissed me back again.
I couldn’t help but feel a warmth spreading through my body.
I held onto his hand as we walked to the elevator.
He looked me in the eye and said the blessing.
He said, with tears in his eyes, “Your love, I am the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And I understood what he meant.
I love my wife because I love her for the way she was and because I know that God has given her the gift of forgiveness.
She is the most beautiful and extraordinary woman I know.
I never thought that God would give me the gift to forgive him.
We were both so exhausted from praying.
I remember thinking, God is a real person.
I don’t understand how he can forgive someone for his own sins.
The same thing happened when I got to see my wife in the hospital.
It’s not that I felt guilty about what happened in that hospital.
I just felt that my prayers were not being answered.
The priests heart is still a mystery.
The truth of it is, it’s something that’s always been there.
It will always be there.
But now I can say with confidence that the truth is within me.
As I pray, I feel that God will always forgive me for what happened to my wife during that terrible accident.
I am now able to love and love with a certain clarity, and I can also say, “Thank you, God.”
Thank you, Lord.