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Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and all your soul, and all your mind,
and Love all humankind as you would Love yourself…
We’ve got Christian lives to live,
we’ve got Jesus’ Love to give,
we’ve got nothing to hide,
for in Him we all abide.
Those are the words to a song that I sing a lot. I learned it at Bible School when I was little girl and it’s really catchy.
On Tuesday two of my dear friends and mentors, a lesbian couple, got married in California. They are both Catholic women and they have three beautiful daughters. Now they should be able to file joint taxes and have joint custody of their daughters. Nonetheless, they will never get to celebrate the sacrament of marriage in the church.
This is what I have learned: In our church, the Sacrament of Marriage is a very holy sacrament. It’s the sacrament of the union of love. It’s the only sacrament that people make unto themselves, through their vows unto each other and God. I won’t really ever get to know what this means, either, because I am pretty sure I am made to love a community and not an exclusive family unit. And as I position myself to commit deeply to be an inclusive Lover within the church and within God’s world, I ironically exclude myself from another sacrament.
Since I am a woman and a Franciscan sister, I can only ever know God through five of the seven sacraments– I’ll never get to be ordained nor married. The only other folks that I suppose are in this same boat are gay and lesbian couples because the Catholic Church won’t be marrying them anytime within our lifetime. So, my choice to not get married is a way that I am sort of in solidarity with them, and all other Catholics who can’t be married in the church because of their sexual orientation. But it’s not really solidarity, and I know this, because it is greatly imbalanced. I have chosen the place that is generally honored and they are living the life that is discriminated against. They are on the fringes in the church, and I am supposed to be a leader and at its core. But God does love us, very much, and is pleased we are authentic to who we are.
Before their wedding, my friend emailed me and asked for my blessing. Here are her words:
”What I want to make sure everybody knows is that this is completely real to us. We’re getting married Tuesday. Thousands will be getting married in the days to come. Each of those marriages is first about love, and second about the politics that surround it. This IS a political movement. This is a demand that my wife and my kids get the same deal everybody else gets- the rights to make decisions about our kids, the right to power of attorney, the right to file joint taxes, the right to claim my own children as dependents. These are basic rights and we will demand them over and over. But just as the marriages of straight people are rarely conducted with these rights in mind, so our marriage too is first about love.
I’m begging everyone to do something in support of this movement. If you can be there Tuesday to support all the couples claiming what is theirs, come to the courthouse. Bring bubbles. Bring signs. Offer wedding treats. Cheer and celebrate and drown out the inevitable protesters. Wrap that building in a wall of hope and blessing. If you can’t be there that day, find another way. Don’t laugh at the jokes people make about two brides or two grooms, and certainly don’t make those jokes. See the common humanity and the beauty. Take the marriages of gay couples you know seriously. Send cards to the couples you know getting married that day. Be as angry about this denial of rights as you would be the denial of the rights of any other person. This is the time to act. History is being made, and each one of us is called to be a player.”
I’m inspired by their courage and their commitment. They are really beautiful women, and I’ve witnessed them grow together towards God in their Love for each other. The unity of love is phenomenal.
It all brings me back to that song from my childhood: “We’ve got nothing to hide, because in Him we all abide.”
Sounds like Love to me.