February 14th is a day when love is celebrated by couples. We want to take this Valentine’s Day to honor “the icon of God’s love for us,” (Pope Francis) sacramental marriages! To display the beauty of a sacramental marriage, we are aiming to post one love story a day from our married brothers and sisters until we reach Valentine’s Day. May their stories draw you closer to the Source of their love. Happy reading!
Patricia: I met Michal at the Charismatic Renewal group. As a rebellious 16yo I was sent there by my religious education teacher, who kicked me out of his class, saying the only way back is to go to that Charismatic group meeting.
My first impression of him was: stiff, serious guy that never smiles and knows nothing about the “real world”. He was not the kind of guy I wanted to hang out with.
Michal: I met Patricia at a Seminar of New Life that I was leading and she was one of the participants. From the beginning she faced many problems – I figured this must be a spiritual battle going on, so I started to pray for her every day. This daily praying for Patricia stuck with me…
Patricia: It was in that prayer group where I met God. It was such a powerful experience for me and I was so in love with Jesus that the only thing I wanted to do was to be close to Him all the time. I was spending hours in Adoration and prayers for others. Convinced that God wants me all to Himself – I was checking different convents.
Michal: Months later, our group was at an Adoration on a retreat. Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the center of the room while people were kneeling around in silence. I was focusing – with my mind and my sight – on the Lord, when suddenly my eyes slipped and met other eyes across the room – looking directly at me. That was Patricia. In a flash I was able to see a glimpse of our future – just short of seeing Patricia as my future wife! This frightened me, especially as I was rather thinking of myself as a future monk, not a husband. From that moment on I was madly in love with Patricia, however I didn’t find the strength to approach her.
Patricia: One time during a group Adoration – I saw Michal praying. Jesus touched my heart then and opened it for that brother, for whom I never cared much. He also told me a little ‘secret’ about Michal being in love with some girl – and terrified by that new feeling. He wanted me to go to Michal and let him know that it’s all good and God is with him, so there is no need to be afraid. Eventually, I forwarded the message.
Michal: I allowed myself a couple of months to ask God to help me discern what to do with all this, with the decision day on my 21st birthday. On that day Patricia called me to wish me happy birthday, but before she hung up, she added: “I was praying one day at the Adoration and the Lord told me that you are in love with some girl, and you are struggling. He asked me to tell you that this is good – this is from Him, and you should go ahead with it”.
On the next day I showed up at Patricia’s door…
Patricia: You can only imagine my surprise when Michal showed up next day at my doorstep informing me that I AM THE GIRL – and his future wife!
I was so shocked, that I just shut the door – saying “it will never happen”. I was angry: at Michal, and at God who tricked me into such an ‘uncomfortable’ situation. How could He do that to me?!
Michal: Patricia slammed the doors in my face. She also slammed the doors of her heart to me. Still, I continued to knock.
Patricia: For about 8 months Michal kept coming to my house. As Polish tradition requires, when “guest’s home, God’s home”, so I couldn’t throw him out every time – my parents were strict about it. The only thing I could do was to convince him that we were not made for each other, and the whole idea of being together is simply ridiculous.
I also continued my search for a convent that would have me. To my surprise I ‘didn’t match’ any place. Sisters were saying: there is no such convent on earth…
Michal: Patricia once decided to attend a discernment weekend with some nuns. I prayed for Patricia and for God’s will for her (although leaning somewhat towards my will for her) before the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. At that time I was reading in the book of Ruth, that some relative of Ruth gave Boaz his sandal as a sign that he lets Boaz marry Ruth. On the Icon – little Jesus in his Mother’s arms is dropping a sandal! I felt that Jesus is giving Patricia to me, even though she is rightfully His. I was relieved when she came back saying she did not have the vocation.
Patricia: Disappointed, I decided to give up and follow God’s will, as much as I knew it then. Trusting His love and providence, I gave Michal “a try” and we started dating.
Michal: Eventually, she agreed to be my girlfriend “for a while” – until I see for myself that “this is not going to work”.
Indeed, by human measures – this was not working at all. We were arguing constantly and breaking up every other day. Still, through many experiences of being together and working together – God was bringing us closer.
Patricia: Books could be written about what was happening until our engagement and the wedding day. Constant arguments, disagreements, break-ups and getting together again…
Michal: At some point Patricia decided to go to Assisi, Italy, by hitchhiking – some 3000 kilometers through half of the Europe. She was looking for a companion, but she could not find anyone. When she said she is going by herself, I arranged with her that we will go together. As a result, for about a month we were forced to rely on each other. This experience of pilgrimage to the birthplace of St. Francis, daily setting-up and wrapping-up, cooking and eating, and praying together – brought us closer than ever. We figured that it might actually work for us to be a married couple.
Upon our return, I proposed to Patricia, and she accepted. Everyone around us, first and foremost our parents, thought we’re out of our minds. For how can you build a lasting and happy marriage on constant arguing and breaking up? Nevertheless, I was strongly convinced: if I manage to «last» in loving Patricia until the end, I will go to Heaven. I also thought that, since she is such a beautiful lady, at least some part of this «lasting» may actually be quite happy…
Several months later we got married, and on the following day – almost all of our arguing ceased. That was the first effect the sacrament had on us, and everyone noticed it.
Patricia: Let me just tell you that each day of our journey together – I am more and more “in love” with Michal. I see how God is showing me all the good and special things that he placed in my husband – just as He would like to continue to convince me, that Michal is the “perfect match” for me!
After more than 20 years together, 13 moves to different places and many trials we got to face – we are still ‘babies’ in that school of love. It’s not always easy, at times it’s really hard, but we always remember that we have a powerful God on our side..with whom ALL things are possible.
Michal: Each day the Lord is giving me Patricia again as my wife. Some moments are happy, some are difficult, but one thing never changes: God holding us mightily in His hand. It still sometimes terrifies me, for I realize that I am touching upon a Mystery far greater than our little daily joys and sorrows…
Patricia & Michal (PA)