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The Authentic, Healing Power of a Loving, Christ-Centered Community

There have only been a handful of times in my whole life where I knew I was experiencing something utterly transformative in the very moment it was happening.

Cecilia and John’s wedding was one of those moments.

The days leading up to the wedding were long and tiring, as the family and friends all pulled together to arrange all the loving details of the events surrounding the wedding. The beautiful community, from State College and beyond, that Cecilia has built up through the course of her life came out in full force, and proved, through their meticulous love, that God is truly in the details. Nothing went unnoticed, and no element of the wedding, no matter how seemingly small, was assembled without prayer. From arranging our bridesmaid bouquets, to polishing and packing silverware after the reception had ended, every element of the day was wrapped in love and true community. In true Cecilia fashion!

Interspersed throughout the busyness were moments of such joyful prayer. Moments of friends coming together to pour out the love in their hearts through words and actions. Moments of overwhelming peace. I’ve often heard it said that the devil holy marriages more than anything in the world. They are models of the love between Christ and His Church, and they have such important influence over future generations, so it seems natural that the devil would do whatever he can to take them down.

When Cecilia walked down the aisle, I could feel hell trembling.

Almost as much as my own lip was trembling trying to hold back tears. The love between John and Cecilia was palpable. I met John in person for the first time the day before the wedding, so I didn’t have too many opportunities to watch them interact before they were married. But as I sat and observed them together, I could see the love in every tender look they exchanged. I could see the complementarity in their personalities and in their personal spiritualities, and I could so clearly see why God chose these two individuals to help get each other to Heaven. It was truly such a moving, beautiful witness.

Personally, I had come to the wedding with my own difficulties, my own baggage. I was excited to put it all aside for a weekend, to be able to truly be present in support of my dear friend.

Setting it aside was what I’d expected, but I never could have anticipated those very difficulties being deeply healed through the witness of consistent, authentic love woven through every moment of the wedding celebrations.

From Cecilia’s amazing, powerhouse mom praying over her the night before the wedding, to the sweet, energetic flower girl begging me to play with her, to making new friendships and deepening old ones- my heart was touched in so many ways I didn’t even know it needed to be.

I know many people look up to Cecilia as an example of Faith, rightfully so, and I’m sure many people wish they could have experienced her beautiful wedding day. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have experienced this transformative day up close, and I felt compelled to offer a small insight into the true Beauty that was Cecilia and John’s wedding day.

But maybe you’re wondering what any of this has to do with you.

My friend, everything I just described is exactly what YOU deserve. You deserve a support system that will rally around you without question, surrounding you with love and prayer. You deserve to live a life of intentional detail, meticulously crafting the intricacies of the artwork of your life. You deserve to find meaningful healing of your own woundedness- the kind of true healing that can only be found in Christ. You deserve to find a pure, unadulterated love, whether that is through marriage, religious vows, or another vocational path.

You, my friend, are fully capable of making hell tremble, by discerning your own vocation, and becoming the person God has called you to be. Cecilia and John are providing beautiful, living examples of this for us, and I’m sure each of us know several more role models we can look up to as well, especially in the Communion of Saints.

I encourage you today to spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God to transform your life- to fill it with love, to heal what needs to be healed, and to make Himself apparent in the smallest details. I think you’ll soon find that even seemingly small changes can make an enormous impact, and God can move mountains with just a few simple steps. Know of my continued prayers for you all, and please keep Cecilia and John in your prayers in a special way during this exciting newlywed season of their lives.

– Tara


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