A few weeks ago, Pope Francis said that remembrance — memory — is an essential part of our faith. On the feast of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, he said, “Memory is important, because it allows us to dwell in love, to be mind-ful, never forgetting who it is who loves us and whom we are called to love in return.”
But, he also said that we sometimes overlook the importance of our memories, and that we just leave them in the past without any second thought of them…
“Nowadays, this singular ability (remembrance) that the Lord has given us is considerably weakened. Amid so much frantic activity, many people and events seem to pass in a whirl,” He said. “We quickly turn the page, looking for novelty while unable to retain memories. Leaving our memories behind and living only for the moment, we risk remaining ever on the surface of things, constantly in flux, without going deeper, without the broader vision that reminds us who we are and where we are going. In this way, our life grows fragmented, and dulled within.” (more here)
When I read this, I immediately began to think of how important memory & remembrance is for a marriage.
And, like Pope Francis mentioned, I saw how we overlook our memories because we’re too busy sometimes. The daily to-do list gets longer every week, and sometimes, remembering something — taking the time to speak about those memories and reflect on them — just doesn’t fit into the schedule.
But I think we have to make it fit. I think we need to make a place and space for it, because even though memories are of the past, they can bring something into the present, don’t you think? And even in to the future, if we let them…
Our memories can bring up nostalgia, they can bring up feelings of gratitude, and they can bring up a fresh & renewed sense of… love, even. And hope.
Just a few weeks ago, my husband & I were attending our friend’s wedding in the same town where we were married, and so, the day after our friend’s wedding, we spent the morning and afternoon visiting all of our old stomping grounds. This was the town where we met, fell in love, were married, and lived for our first year of marriage together.
In other words, a lot happened there. We have a lot of memories there, and most of them are really good ones.
And so while we re-lived some of those moments together, and talked about who said what, and where, and when, I felt so happy. So joyful.
That sounds so simplistic. I wish I could think of better words to explain it…
Our love has matured and it has grown deeper than it was those many years ago when we first met. But taking some time to remember where we started… it was refreshing. It felt renewing.
And it also felt hopeful!
“A Christian has these two parameters, memory and hope. We must evoke our memory so as not to lose the beautiful experience of that first love which feeds our hope. Many times that hope is in darkness but (a Christian) still goes ahead. He or she believes and goes forward because they know that hope never disappoints us, in finding Jesus.” (more here)
So again, these memories, although they are of the past, they gave me something to hold onto in that very moment, and they also gave me something to hold onto as we move forward…
And we are moving! Have you heard?
We’re moving into a new house right now, actually, and as we’ve been packing and moving things over, I’ve stopped to think about a lot of the memories we’ve shared in the house we’re leaving.
And many of those memories, unfortunately, include so many struggles – mainly with our health. On the other hand, we have a lot of memories of a great deal of healing in that house.
I guess you just have to take the good with the bad… We’ve definitely lived through those vows we made nearly five years ago (for better or for worse (check), for richer or poorer (check), in sickness and in health (check).
But I saw something funny — and true — on my mother-in-law’s fridge the other day. It was something from the newspaper that read, “Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.”
I don’t personally feel like I need the negatives 😉 but I like the sentiment that we can grow from them, and that something beautiful can be brought out of the dark, and out of the negatives.
On another feast day, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Francis had made another comment about memory. He said, “Contemplating that heart, I renew my first love: the memory of that time when the Lord touched my soul and called me to follow him, the memory of the joy of having cast the nets of our life upon the sea of his word (cf. Lk 5:5).”
This is what our memories can do for us: it can renew our love.
And after all the years, and after all the burdens, and struggles that come with life, we need that… Don’t we?
We need to be renewed, we need to breathe new life into something that can become stale — even, and especially, when we’re not looking.
I think this is a key point for how to stay married, for how to stay in love, and for how to stay faithful.
I hope this gives you a nudge to take some time today with your husband to remember something good in your past… Maybe how you met, how you started dating, or maybe one of the more romantic gestures he did for you a while ago…
Here are a few Catholic bloggers who have done the same: