Does that kind still exist?
That kind will always exist. In the small town of Siroki-Brieg, 20 miles from Medjugorje, parish records show not a single divorce from among 13,000 faithful. Within the memory of the living, not a single family has broken apart. Could it be that Herzegovina enjoys some sort of special priviledge from heaven? Do the young couples pronounce some secret formula during the ceremony? Is there some kind of magical trick that protects them from the demon of quarrels and division?
The answer is much simpler than all that! For centuries the people of this land have suffered cruelly because others have tried to take from them their Christian faith and wipe off the map the precious name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross and rose again to open up the gates of Eternal Life for us. They know from experience that their salvation lies in the Cross of Christ. Salvation does not come from UN Peace Keepers, from disarmament treaties, from humanitarian aid, from peace accords or speeches from the United Nations. even if these efforts can sometimes be channels for bringing a little help to the world. No, the source of salvation is the Cross of Christ!
The humble people of Herzegovina have the intelligence of the poor, that beautiful wisdom that consists of being nobody's fool in matters of life and death. This is why they have linked forever marriage and the Cross of Christ. They have grounded marriage, which is the source of human life, in the Cross, which is the source of divine life.
The Croatians have a particularly beautiful wedding tradition-which delights the pilgrims in Medjugorje-so beautiful, in fact, that people are picking it up in Europe and even in America!
When young people are getting ready to wed, people don't tell them that they found the ideal partner, the person of their dreams. This is what the priest tells them:" You found your cross. And a cross if to be loved, to be carried; a cross is not to be thrown away, but to be cherished." If a priest said these words in France, the fiances would be stuck speechless. But in Herzegovina, the Cross evokes the greatest love, and the crucifix is the treasure of the home.
Father Jozo often tells the pilgrims about the tradition that has been upheld in his country. When the fiances set off for the church to be married, they bring a crucifix with them. This crucifix is blessed by the priest, and during the exchange of vows it holds a central place.
The bride places her right hand on the cross, and the groom puts his hand over hers, so that their two hands are bound together on the cross, grounded in the Cross. Then the priest covers their hands with his stole; the young people proclaim their vows and promise to be faithful, according to the classic rite of the Church. Once the promises are exchanged, the bride and groom do not kiss each other, but rather they kiss the Cross: they know that they are kissing the source of love. Anyone close enough to see their two hands joined on the Cross understands clearly that if the husband lets go of his wife, or if the wife lets go of her husband, they let go of the Cross! And if they abandon the Cross, they have nothing left - they have lost everything, for they have abandoned Jesus. They have lost Jesus.
After the ceremony the newlyweds bring the crucifix back to their home and give it a place of honour in the house. It becomes the center of family prayer, for the young couple believes deeply that the family is born of the Cross. When a trouble arises, or if they experience some conflict, they will come before the this crucifix to seek help (meaning pray).They will not go to a lawyer, or a fortune teller, or have their palms read, they won;t rely on a psychologist or a counselor to settle the matter. No, they go to their Jesus, in front of the Cross. They kneel there, they cry there, they pour out their hearts there; and above all they forgive there. They will not go to sleep until they have unburdened their hearts for they will have gone to Jesus for help. He who is the only One who has the power to save.
The first thing the children are given is the Cross. They kiss the Cross everyday and don't go to bed at night like the pagans without having thanked Jesus. As far back as the children can remember, Jesus has been the special friend of the family, respected and embraced. They don't go to bed with a 'blankey' to hug at night in order to feel secure; rather, they say 'nighty-night' to Jesus and kiss the Cross. They go to sleep with Jesus, not with a teddy bear. They know that Jesus will keep them safe within His arms, that there is nothing to be afraid of, and their fears melt away in that kiss to Jesus.
I found this real life story truly inspiring that i feel i must share. Article above taken from the book" Medjugorje, the '90s written by Sr. Emmanuel.
Embracing a crucifix or a cross is not a superstitious belief that many has misunderstood. Rather, it is a reminder that Jesus loves us so much that He died on the cross for us. Whenever we see a crucifix, we are reminded that God is always with us and He is watching over us. Thus, invoking love in us and reminding us that we shall not offend God anymore.
Today, marriage has become a piece of legal paper. However, in God's eyes, it is still a covenant. What God has unite, man shall not divide. The beautiful tradition described above just shows how much God values a marriage.It is precious in His eyes.
I remember a pastor once told me, at the end of the day, when you feel like nothing is working out and you want to give up marriage, the Cross will remind you that it is God who has united you and He has a purpose for this marriage.
I hope you're inspired. God bless.
Peace and Love.