It’s our 19th wedding anniversary and more than ever, we can see in our lives the pathway to heaven God has placed in the sacrament of marriage. We may not have understood the full weight of marriage on our lives when we said “I do” but God certainly did. He took this marriage between a hardcore atheist and a self-reliant agnostic and carved for us a path to eternity. As we reflect back over these nearly two decades, we see how God has written the story of marriage and 31Four onto our hearts.
We are Angie and Jay Ross, a married couple, parents of four children, business owners, sacred artisans, and dreamers. And perhaps most importantly, we are an example of the power of the sacrament of marriage.
We began dating in high school, but at the time, Jay was a deeply-convicted, Skeptic Magazine-subscribing atheist. Angie was agnostic, impressed by the social teachings of Jesus but unwilling to let Him rule her heart.
About 10 years and two children into our lives together, Jay had a profound call to reconversion to his mother’s Catholic faith and joined RCIA to complete his sacramental journey. Angie wanted absolutely nothing to do with Jay joining a faith that “clearly hated women.” For Jay to receive the sacrament of marriage, however, we had to go through pre-Cana classes and have our wedding convalidated within the Church. When the leading deacon asked us about praying together as a family–even just at the dinner table–Angie vehemently stated, “That’s not going to happen.”
Three years after Jay’s Confirmation, Angie read Story of a Soul and felt her own deep calling to convert to Catholicism and went through RCIA herself. This (and encountering the writings of St. John Paul II) led to incredible changes in our marriage, including a new openness to life–which brought two more children. How can we even begin to speak of the importance of the impact on our lives–both together and separately? So great is the impact that there are no words–we can only ponder in our hearts. The transformation of our lives stemming from our own sacramental marriage has filled us with a deep passion to evangelize the beauty of sacramental marriage out into the world. Jay’s conversion to the faith changed both our temporal and eternal lives, as well as the lives of our children.
This is what the sacrament of marriage can do. God can use the communion and companionship of marriage to open hearts to His sanctifying work–ultimately leading us back to Him. The world needs this message like never before. The world needs to see the hand of God in our marriages so they can hope in their own. Today, for our small part, we give thanks to God for His work in our lives.