My husband and I have just returned from our 25th-anniversary romantic escape: a whole week without children, work, or complicated agendas.
To say it was glorious is an understatement.
On Day One we awoke after noon, both of us amazed at the speed with which we abandoned the habit of early rising followed by decent people everywhere.
This was followed by eight days of languid walks hand-in-hand, uninterrupted conversations, and, most wonderfully, the delight of hours-long privacy to relish the gentle frisson between a man and a woman who have loved each other deeply and for many years.
We found it, naturally, a time to assess and consider, looking back over our life together and marveling at how we’ve changed. But there was one thing we did daily, no matter where we were, and without fuss or anxiety, that was emblematic of the alterations brought about by 25 years together: We went to Mass, making the Eucharist the foundation on which each marvelous day was laid.
I will have to tell you where we began, so that you know how far we have come. When we married, I was a Sunday Mass-going Catholic with an imperfect attendance record, and my dear husband was a practical atheist of the Jewish tradition.
In exchange for me giving up smoking, he agreed to marry in the Church and raise our children Catholic. This is easier said than done, when you go on to have five children who have to be dressed, combed, and put in the minivan whining every Sunday morning. But he understood that “raising” Catholic children meant Sunday Mass was non-negotiable. And he always keeps his promises.
Slowly, the beauty of the Gospel, read out loud from the pulpit once a week, penetrated his heart and mind. He heard about heroic sacrifice, and inexorable love, and the mercy that extinguishes wretchedness like gentle rain douses the fiercest fire. All his uprightness and honesty, his fidelity and generosity, found their source, as it were, in our Master’s parables, pleas, and exhortations, and in our Lord’s passion.
With his genial smile, tireless attention to our growing family, and cheerful welcome at the door, our parish priest won the heart of my husband, a non-Catholic who sat and wondered in a back corner pew week after week. And the way he experienced the people of the parish as a fountain of good things for one another and the world beyond made him long to be a full participant.
Within 10 years of our marriage he converted, when I was pregnant with our fourth child. But that was just the beginning. In the last 15 years since then he’s grown in understanding and faith, and helped me to grow as well, so that now, far from our stumbling start, we are a couple that tries quite consciously, and many times a day, to place God in the very center of our lives.
The result? Everything is enriched, and our joy is abundant, our hope always strong. The daily Mass, which provides us with the bread of the Eucharist each morning, is the soil we are now planted in, together. We feel invincible.
And that brings me back to our anniversary trip. There we were, two middle-aged people as giddy and happy as they were on their honeymoon, more in love than in those halcyon days, because we’ve found that there is nothing more romantic than being the object of a self-sacrificing tenderness. It was in that joyful spirit that we made our way, each day, to this pretty little church or that towering cathedral, to receive the One whose Love made our love possible. It was perfect bliss.
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, coming to the U.S. at the age of 11. She has written for USA Today, National Review, Washington Post and the New York Times, and has appeared on CNN, Telemundo, Fox News and EWTN. Her Angelus column, “With Grace,” earned a Catholic Press Association award for “Best Regular Column: Family Life” in 2018. She practices radiology in Miami, Florida, where she lives with her husband and five children.
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