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I very purposefully chose to get married in the church with longest aisle in the Diocese. I thought I would want to savor it, let the feeling of parading in my wedding gown simmer for a while, soak in the faces of all the people who I love, take in the music, appreciate the flowers, notice all those details about which my mom and I had spent so much time fighting. Yet, when the day came, and the bridal trumpet sounded, this fool rushed right in. I nearly tripped my father to the ground as I hurriedly skipped toward my groom, the only words I recall saying were “come on, Dad!” All those pretty details, the teeny tiny things I thought I would remember about my wedding forever, became blurry afterthoughts in the periphery of my focus on the incredible person dumb enough to marry me. And I was gleefully happy.

Over 10 years since I so happily ran down that long aisle at the idiotic age of 22, I think I might even be more grateful now than I was then to have had the chance to dive head first into the adventure of a young marriage without over thinking all the reasons why I shouldn’t, or stressing about all the things that could go wrong, or all the worries I might feel 3 years in, 5 years in, 35 years in. I discerned, I decided, and then I dove. The day to day was to be determined.

As a Catholic woman, wife and mother in this time of crisis, corruption, scandal, abuse, nonsensical idiocy, complete criminality, silent wayward leadership, and every other bad thing a person can think up, it seems, sometimes feels, and possibly is, silly to stay in this Church that I still call home. The breaking news is always bad. It has broken my heart and threatened to beat me down so many times in the past few months, that I’ve wondered, seriously- and out loud, what any of us are doing by staying. Yet, I’m still diving right in. In the midst, and in spite, I cannot quit, and I’m still in love. Why? Because it is not about the peripherals.

The Church does not belong to the Bishops. While these higher ups may have pledged more responsibility to serving her, while more souls are entrusted to their care, the Church is not any more the Pope’s than it is mine. THE CHURCH IS NOT EVEN AN INSTITUTION. The Church is a body, and what has been done to Him will be done to us. And it is on Him that I will try and keep my focus. And it is for the victims that we will all keep fighting.

The day to day news is going to continue to crush and crumble us. It is going to frustrate, to distract, to enrage, and to confuse. But I pray that none of that might steal our focus on Jesus as he waits for us at the altar and in the tabernacle.

What a time to be a Catholic, to be stripped of so many things in which I once trusted, with no choice but to dive right into the power of the Eucharist. I crave the fullness of the Church and all of its peripheral details, because like every smart bride knows, details matter. But I hope I gain the focus to race towards Jesus in the Eucharist like I did towards my husband on my wedding day, where nothing, not even a father who can’t quite keep up his stride, will keep me from Him.

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