Religion of Love and Doing Good

Rare moments in life deserve a rare bout of introspection. When I’m afforded such an opportunity due to my obtuse sense of the world, I snag it with a quick hand and sentimental mind.

So here it is: I stood up in a lesbian wedding last weekend. Not civil union, nor partnership, nor any other descriptor that dances around what it really is. This bond, built on love and hope and dreams of a shared future, doesn’t deserve to be cheapened with lesser words. What I witnessed merits the sacred word “marriage” to describe what that bond was – A love manifested between two people with the commitment to each other’s souls in this life and the next.  It just so happens that the love was between two human beings of the same sex.

As the wedding party stood in Wrigley Square of Millennium Park with nearly one hundred attendees seated in ivory chairs, two women in wedding dresses smiled with teary eyes, laughed, and promised their hearts to each other. The Chicago Park District barricaded the space from the public, but groups of spectators watched through the fishbowl.  The eyes and cameras quenched my feeble need for attention momentarily, but gladly glossed over that for a greater realization.

These spectators are more than spectators. These are witnesses of a world with a greater understanding of the human condition (hopefully). I only pray any onlookers watched with a smile and happiness that resonates in all human beings at the sight of true love. Let the bigots grumble and walk away with whatever slur was learned on their favorite anti-LGBT website.

Want a wrinkle in the story for the anti-LGBT? Okay, good. Me too: I am a proud, practicing Roman Catholic and I acted as a Koumbaro (I’m married to a beautiful Greek goddess) in the ceremony. In Greek Orthodox Church weddings, the Koumbari (plural) act as the spiritual witnesses for the couple and have certain roles throughout their lives together (i.e. godparents of children). Although the Greek Orthodox Church does not accept homosexual unions and did not participate in the ceremony, my wife and I acted in our roles, carrying out certain rituals you’d observe at any big, fat Greek wedding.

The gravity of the moment captured my conscious during the vows, and I couldn’t help but allow an unstoppable cascade of hope enter and fill my heart. This wasn’t any less of a ceremony than mine two years prior, nor is the love different. Spectators, bystanders and invitees alike, witnessed something transcendent in the heart of Chicago. It was an education – This “sort of thing” is here because this is right. There was no hate. No one screamed slurs in distaste and no one tried to crash the party in protest. Everyone loved it, as these two beautiful women professed undying truth. To not recognize this truth would be a tragedy.

No religion on earth could deny that moment or the marriage. As a Catholic, I’ve grown prouder by the day of Pope Francis and the deeper understanding he’s given to the human condition. The path is paved, and our own spiritual maturity needs to develop.  Ignorance promotes loneliness when the world wants to open its arms to equality, love, and dignity. Too much bigotry perpetuates in this world, as if life is threatened by sanctifying true love. That’s all it is. Marriage sanctifies true love. Why deny true love?

To quote the pope in a phone conversation with a struggling homosexual Catholic several months ago, “Your homosexuality. It doesn’t matter. One way or another, we are all children of God. This is why we must continue to be good.”

Well said, Padre. I agree.  Let’s all subscribe to the Religion of Love and Doing Good.

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