My wife and I recently enjoyed our honeymoon at a beachside resort in Jamaica. It was a week of fond reminiscing of the graces of the wedding day, the liturgy, the people present, and the entire celebration. It was a time of sweet joy where the palpable presence of God on the wedding day could be intentionally savoured as a new married couple.
On our last evening there Sarah and I had dinner in a casual British-style pub at the resort. Our server, who was this tall guy the other staff nicknamed Big Bird, came to take our order. He had the greatest sense of humour and sarcasm, which made for lots of laughs among us and the other guests. The entire staff seemed to really enjoy their work and each other. After Bird saw we had a pack of cards he began showing us card tricks and soon the rest of the staff joined in watching and attempting to perform their own tricks. After dinner, Sarah and I sat outside and watched an old Jamaican man don a cowboy hat and guitar and perform a set of country songs. Soon everyone was singing, including Sarah. As we sat there Sarah began singing Randy Travis along with the performer: “If you wonder how long I’ll be faithful, I’ll be happy to tell you again. I’m gonna love you forever and ever, forever and ever, amen.”
A God Moment
I sat there with a smile on my face just watching Sarah sing to me. I thought about the past week, our wedding, our family and friends, the moments on the beach, Bird’s card tricks, and the laughter we shared, and I felt so gifted by God. It was one of those moments where your heart feels truly loved and beheld by God, one that creates tears of gratitude. In moments like that we have an odd tendency to try and snap back to reality and get to the next thing, not to just dwell in the moment. But I realised that this was such a special God moment for me that I needed to just relish it.
I’ve spoken before about relishing your prayer time and not rushing through it:
When I experience a feeling of tremendous consolation during prayer I tend to get excited and almost want to end my prayer so I can be sure to remember the details in order to journal about it. Those feelings of consolation are gifts from God. Don’t rush it. The best bit of advice is spreading the “spiritual relish” thick by sitting in that moment and relishing the grace. Hold onto it. Let yourself be enveloped with consoling feelings.
Though not in the context of prayer, I recognised that moment on our honeymoon as one of those consoling moments that I may never get back. In fact, when I later tried to feel again the memory of that moment I couldn’t fully experience its consolation again. Ignatius would say that we ought to store up memories of consolation so when we’re in a period of dryness and desolation (perhaps even in a marriage), we could recall God’s palpable presence in past times of consolation, reminding us that God still deeply loves us. Ignatius says, it is “realising and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies the soul.”
My soul was satisfied that night. It felt embraced and loved. By relishing the moment God said to me, “I’m using this moment to remind you of how much I love you and Sarah. I confirm your vocation. This is my desire.”
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Music by Kevin MacLeod