Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 7, 2009
Divorce denigrates the sacrament of marriage
Too many in today's secular society forget the original union of a man and a woman was willed by God
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
I am watching a 37-year marriage end. It's a tragedy for everyone involved. The husband's infidelities have come to light and his wife is overwhelmed by deep and justifiable feelings of betrayal and grief.
She is an emotional wreck. One moment she is shouting and stomping around her house; the next moment she's sad and weepy.
The adult children of that marriage are heart-broken to see the dissolution of their original family. They have rallied around their mother who is, after all, the first aggrieved party. In turn, the unfaithful husband and father has responded to his sons and daughters with cold detachment. This is intensifying the pain of his family.
I suspect this is feigned indifference to mask his internal shame and gnawing guilt. He knows that he has betrayed the very people who love him most by breaking the vows he made to his wife before Almighty God and the community. He was supposed to love, protect and nurture his family but in the end he broke their hearts and trust.
There are no winners in divorce, only losers. Divorce even hurts the community, yet there is so much of it.
Let us not pussyfoot around modern sensibilities. God hates divorce and he told us this in no uncertain terms (Malachi 2.16). He considers the attitude of indifference toward marriage vows and duties as tantamount to the treacherous actions of a traitor.
SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE
Marriage was established by God as the union of a man and a woman. It was elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1601). Marriage is a sacred institution and must not be torn down, altered or abandoned.
At the heart of divorce is sin. It may manifest itself as infidelity, jealousy, discord, mutual recriminations, conflict, violence or domination, but it is all rooted in spiritual rebellion and rejection of God and his love.
Sadly, I must admit divorce has marred and scarred my extended family. There has been so much of it. I can honestly say that not one person has been better because of it. They all are poorer.
I'm not talking about financial poorness - although that often was an issue too - I am talking about poverty of the heart, spirit and soul. That is the worst of all human poverties.
WILLED BY GOD
Jesus taught that from the beginning of human history the original union of a man and a woman was willed by God and determined by God to be indissoluble. Thus Jesus said about marriage: "Therefore what God has joined, no human being must separate" (Matthew 19.6).
Yet people do tear apart marriage and that is a sin.
The key to a successful marriage is to follow Christ, renounce self-interest and place the interests of one's spouse before oneself. The Church teaches that Christ himself "gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the dimension of the reign of God."
It is in the faithful following of Christ that the original meaning of marriage can be discovered. "This grace of Christian marriage is the fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life" (CCC, no. 1615).
If you are divorced, take heart. There is forgiveness available. Christ paid the penalty for sin at Calvary. Through contrition, confession and penance, all people can be forgiven and reconciled to Christ and the Church.
The forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God is the greatest fruit of Christ's cross. Bringing sinful humanity to reconciliation and peace with God is the greatest mandate of the Church.
Whatever your place or situation in life, give it to God and humbly follow Jesus.
Although I am not divorced, I do know sorrow, heartache and pain. Many of my columns have chronicled them. My consolation is following Christ and the Catholic Church. I have discovered that there can be peace even amidst calamity.
I don't know how those seemingly contradictory states can exist simultaneously, but they can and do. It's a glorious mystery available to Christians to enjoy in their happiest moments or darkest hours.
Like the old hymn tells us, God is our refuge, a mighty fortress in time of need. That fortress is a refuge designed for the rejected or deserted, the broken-hearted and people who think they are unloved. In that refuge of God they will find unconditional love and acceptance even if it seems their earthly world is falling apart.
Yes, God hates divorce but he loves you more than you can imagine.
Letter to the Editor - 10/05/09
Letter to the Editor - 10/19/09
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