[Homily: Wedding: Kaloy Bello and Faye Risonar. 9.1.12]
This happy, holy, heavenly day has finally come! Looking at the glow in the face of Kaloy and the twinkle in the eyes of Faye, with certitude we say: this is the day the Lord has made!
It is a day that has long been in the making. As a matter of fact, it begins in fourth grade Ateneo de Davao, when Kaloy and Faye were classmates. That is certain. Beyond that, certitude is relieved by the magic of memory. Kaloy remembers how at that tender age precocious Faye was already attracted to him. He claims that she, knowing from all eternity that the fastest way to his heart was through his stomach, used to send him cheese curls to catch his attention. Kaloy appreciated the cheese curls from the cute curly-haired girl so much that he had a special name for her: Curly Sue – “Curly” in celebration of her resplendent curly locks, and “Sue” – well, “Sue” was convenient because Curly Sue is more personally feminine than curlicue.
Memory is magical, because Faye denies all this is true. What she remembers is that Kaloy was “just one of those soccer guys” in Grade 4 who at that time refused to give more attention to the roundness (meaning “perfection”!) of her figure than to the roundness of the soccer ball. She also remembers that her father, Atty. Marcos Risonar, and his father, Atty. Silvester Bello III, used to work together as lawyers. When her father, a Mabini lawyer, was at that time distinguished by persecution and detention for his advocacy of the human rights of workers, it was Kaloy’s father, distinguished in the Department of Justice, who helped him. She would recall meetings in the Bello home to where she would accompany her mother, when Kaloy only had eyes for his football and still didn’t quite know that the love of his life was already in his father’s house planting seeds of love.
Meanwhile, Kaloy claims to have evidence that Curly Sue’s amorous cheese curls were not fictitious but real in the yearbook he dug up where he found the image of Curly Sue fixed unforgettably for all eternity in a photograph, the image which stalked him throughout the years even to his home, casting love spells with winking eyes and cheese curls.
Memory is magical, as is sometimes the lack of it. In 2005, when he was already Councilor of the City of Davao, he remembers encountering her in City Hall: “I saw her passing by,” he said, “and I was immediately attracted to her.” He does not clarify whether the attraction was to the curly hair of Curly Sue or to cheese curls, nor admit that what for a 10-year old was not more attractive than a round football had through her curvaceous profile and scintillating gait and the twinkle in her eye now commanded his attention. That was enough to bring him often to the Integrated Gender Development Division (IGGD), on official business, of course, pursuing a secret inner urge to “integrate their genders and overcome division,” mesmerized by her aura and sirenic laugh. “Who would not have noticed the loudest laugh reverberating through City Hall?” he explained.
Meanwhile, Curly Sue, now Atty. January Faye Risonar, was too busy representing victims of violence against women to have noticed this young Councilor under her spell, not even when Ms. Melba Principe, the wife of a close friend of Kaloy’s father, introduced him to her in 2005. Kaloy says that despite the introduction she did not notice him because he was too handsome. In other words, Curly Sue snubbed him.
What Faye remembers was a Forum on “No to Prostitution” in October 2007, a whole two years later. By then, she was already one of five lawyers hired by Mayor Rody Duterte, tasked to represent women victimized by violence. Kaloy on the other hand had begun to lead the Council’s Committee on Human Rights. What it was in him that attracted her remains part of the magic mystery of memory. She approached him, and told him that at one time in eternity when they were still in Grade 4 he was her classmate. His response, reportedly, was “a blank stare.” That moment of blank helplessness was really quite remarkable, since as you know he had already long been under her spell and had already been moved by an inner urge to integrate genders against perpetual division. His blank stare was because he was enthralled by her beauty, he declares, and not a snub in retaliation for her snubbing him two years earlier.
Any snubs transcended, it was at this time, when two began to become one. Faye at this time speaks about love’s “chemistry.” She was drawn to him, and close to him, she says, “My heart skipped a beat.” Kaloy, on the other hand, began to frequent her Mandatory Continuing Law Education sessions, where she was regularly involved, and he suddenly interested in the Continuing Mandate of the Law of Love. She was very friendly, he recalls, and would wink at him when when passing the attendance sheet to him for his signature.
So they kept in touch, and followed one another about. It was their “stalk and text” period.
Faye’s spell, which had to assert itself against his duties as Davao councilor and his work for human rights, as her father had worked for human rights, and his “secret inner urge to integrate genders,” which had to contend against her lawyering work against violence on women and children, both needed more time to integrate their respective magic.
It was only three years later, in 2010 when Kaloy says, “I finally succumbed to her flattery and innuendos,” and habits of “stalk and text” metamorphosed into a relationship. Faye speaks of this time when the two independent egos merged into “us.” “I discovered how beautiful a person Faye is, who lives her life to the fullest” Kaloy declares. “I want to live the rest of my life with her.” “My Curly Sue has become my Peggy Sue.”
Faye appreciates that despite varying views, they “always had healthy respect for each other’s opinions. Sometimes we do encounter conflict, as any normal couple would, but we always work on our ability to articulate our issues with each other.” She appreciates him as one who makes her laugh, who can get along with grandmothers, who loves dogs, who is forthright, who allows you to be who you are and loves you for being you. Faye says, “…At the end of the day, I long for his presence. He makes me feel like I am coming home.”
The mysterious, blessed genesis of gifted love: the movement from Curly Sue to Peggy Sue, the journey from “a blank stare” to “coming home to him,” over years of stalking and texting, of talking and balking, of relenting then consenting, of combining magic with reality, overcoming obstacles with wonder and intertwining rich family heritage and audaciously humble dreams of love and family and truly helping others: isn’t it wonderful? Who could have conceived it? Who could have planned it? Who could have predicted it? This is the love that we celebrate today!
With great happiness we celebrate with you today as you take your love out of the confines of the purely private and profane, and share your love with the Christian community, begging not only for God’s blessings on it, but freely raising it in grace to the level of a sacred sacrament for all. You say: this love is not just for us. It is lifted up for all to see, in your love for Faye, Kaloy, what is the height and depth and length and breadth of God’s love for us, his Church, and in your love for Caloy, Faye, what is the height and depth and length and breadth of the Church’s love for God. So it is that with every touch, with every kiss, with every gentle caress, with every passionate embrace, with every privileged experience of ecstasy between two people one in love, one is to more deeply understand the love of Jesus for his Church and the love of the Church for its savior. This is the awesome sacrament of matrimony that you together gift us with today. In your love you enrich us. In your love you ennoble our loving. In your love your proclaim the love of God for us and our love for him. Even though, as you know, this will not always be romance, not always be a sweet bed of roses. Your sacrament is of God’s love for is. It cannot be without the Cross, without the painful struggle, the suffering and death that deals death to death itself and reaps forgiveness for our sins that we might live in hope of Resurrection and reconciliation with God.
That is why it is only right that as we celebrate today you mark this day, and every day with prayer… The scriptural readings that you have chosen for this celebration highlight this need. The rhythms of everyday married life need to be marked by prayer: the prayer of praise in the morning, of supplication at noon, of gratitude in the evening. Against the darkness of night, Tobit says: “My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and grant us deliverance” (Tobit 8.4). This is deliverance from superficiality, deliverance from boredom, deliverance from selfishness. It is prayer that should lead you – no matter how busy you are or how important you become! – to worship on Sundays, to listen to the Word of God humbly, to be one with his saving Sacrifice gratefully. It is the prayer that will lead you again and again to dialogue with the Crucified Lord, considering, if he has done this for you in live, how ought you as married people live in love – and care for the people he loves. Praying to the Father, know that Jesus prays for you, that you may be one, lovingly one, happily one, fruitfully one, so that the world may know the Father’s love in you (Cf. Jn. 17: 21-22).
We have moved from cheese curls to the deepest depths of Christianity bundled wondrously in your love. We thank God for your love, love that you share with us in your holy Sacrament of Matrimony. We thank you. You know we love you. That is why we are here. Looking at sparkle in your eyes and the glow in your faces, we know: This is the day the Lord has made! Let us be glad and rejoice!