My husband was at odds with the Church when we began dating.
His issue stemmed from the priest at his hometown parish who said he didn’t have to attend the Confirmation retreat (thrilling for a teenager) but later changed his mind, resulting in him not receiving the Sacrament. My husband wouldn’t set foot in a church for fifteen years after that.
I knew I couldn’t mend the past but always left an open invitation to attend Mass with me. However, I never pushed or made it seem like I would stop dating him if he didn’t attend Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, or special feast days with me. I wasn’t certain this was the man I would marry anyway, so instead of focusing solely on discerning marriage, I instead prayed for his relationship with Jesus to be restored.
On one particular Sunday, my husband decided to join me. I didn’t prepare him on how to attend Mass or give him a lesson on Church etiquette. A well-formed congregation witnesses the outward signs of the Mass, and I knew my husband would catch on quickly if he so desired.
The church we attended was nestled in downtown Las Vegas, next to a courthouse, jail, and multiple casinos. My husband walked into the church in front of me. Suddenly, his shoulders lowered and his posture changed completely. A sudden weight lifted from his body and all of those years of missing out on his communion with the Lord evaporated.
He was home.
Once in the pew, tears streamed down from his eyes, and I gave thanks to Jesus for this son of His and accepted that, even if this wasn’t the man I was supposed to marry, I got to see his return to the Father.
The gap in time that was once filled with resentment and hurt from the past was now mended with mercy, forgiveness, and love. One year later, my husband was enrolled in Adult RCIA and was able to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Today’s Gospel (Luke 15:1-10) reminds us to be a constant living invitation to bring others to Christ.
Sister, will you let Jesus work through you to bring others to Him? Whether you pray the Rosary with a friend who may have forgotten how to pray it or send a family member a worship playlist, start small and see how the Lord will grow those invitations.