I generally try to keep things positive, but I’m having a hard time doing this today. The truth is I’m frustrated and angry.
You see, yet another friend just contacted me about the dissolution of his marriage. I think people tell me of their divorces thinking I will celebrate with them, especially those doing the leaving. Occasionally, someone has a real need, for safety purposes, to leave a situation, but most of the time, people divorce because they’ve had enough, and enough can be defined in whatever ways they see fit.
The divorce was this friend’s wife’s doing, but he had already “moved on.” The divorce papers were not even finalized yet, and he and his wife were both already seeing other people. He laughed talking about his wife, the divorce, their new relationships, and other things. I sat there listening, not knowing what to say. I tried to encourage him to go back to his wife, to embrace forgiveness, to find his faith. I sat there listening to his laughter, but I was far from laughing with him. In fact, my stomach lurched.
Divorce is not a joking matter. Some laughter may be a way of covering pain, but laughter is given to express Joy. Twisting it in such a way shows yet another way divorce flips Truth around, another way divorce is based on lies.
My Gospel Reflection for the Divorced regarding the idea of believing the lie of fair division of property and our call to instead turn over your wealth and follow Me was a more biting than I usually try to be, but I sometimes just want to reach out and shake people, make them realize they complain more about their spouses post-divorce than during their marriages.
Do they not realize this?
Does this not say something?
This post is intended to continue as a message for those witnessing divorce, for those contemplating divorce, and for the Synod Bishops who have so much resting on their shoulders. It is also hoped that it will help open the eyes of those who believe the lie that divorce is an honorable or even acceptable alternative to finding worth in your spouse and in your vows of better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer until death (not enough) do you part…
My Message to those Witnessing Divorce:
Do not perpetuate the lies. Do not believe for one second that divorce makes things better. Do not believe it for yourself. Do not repeat it to anyone else. Divorce makes things different, not better.
Do not believe that the single parent does not struggle financially or should just work harder. Do not believe that she does not feel badly about not giving her children opportunities like sports camps and birthday parties and a night at the movies that others take for granted.
Do not believe the DisneyLand Dad makes up for night after night of chilly apartments, missed doctor visits, or crooked teeth when braces aren’t provided. Do not think kids getting gifts at dad’s house skimpy home Christmases provided by a heartbroken, hard working, welfare Mom. Do not fall for the lie that “the system provides.” The system does not provide enough tangible items, and it robs the soul of the intangible. Do not believe you are worthy of judging that robbed soul.
As we approach the Christmas season, open your wallets and your hearts to help those in need. Find a struggling family. Donate time and money (anonymously if necessary), and Pray for them and with them. Let them know their worth. Let them know they are Loved. Band-aids such as simplifying the annulment process will never replace the reaching out a Loving friends can provide. Be that friend.
My Message to those Contemplating Divorce:
For crying out loud, if you’re thinking of divorce stop and question the lies you fall for before letting the words escape your mouth and live in a place where they cannot be taken back.
Do you believe the lie that your vows were not really meant to be for better or for worse or that God didn’t know that “for worse” could be this bad? Do you believe you don’t have the strength to go on another day like this or that God won’t support you through another day like this? Do you believe that your spouse isn’t worth sacrificing for yet again, or is it that your spouse isn’t worth your sacrifice your sacrificing for yet again?
What exactly is it that you doubt? What exactly is it that you tell yourself to make you believe the lies? What lies do you believe that you will be upset about later?
Do not believe the lie that you get over that conspicuously empty place at the dinner table or that kids don’t miss dad being there after work or don’t want one place to call Home. Don’t believe that kids should have to be resilient when you were too weak to be.
Ask yourself how many lies you fall for before seeking separation. Ask yourself how you need to change before asking your spouse to change.
My Message to the Synod Fathers:
Divorce is based on lies caused by the hardness of hearts. Lies weigh us down more than material poverty can ever do. Thinking you can make divorce better by speeding up an annulment process or making it easier or by allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist puts bandaids on amputations, insults the faithful spouse, weakens Marriage, denies a need for annulment, offers Holy Communion when they need forgiveness, repentance, and communion of community, and defaces the Body of Christ.
Divorce is beyond being surrounded by lies; divorce is built on lies. Ask yourself what your part in the lie is.
Is your part in the lie your belief that you can erase the effect of man’s destruction of what God has joined together? Is your part in the lie that the Body of Christ is happy to be given to those engaging in polygamy? Is your part in the lie the belief that a couple scarred by divorce can separate themselves enough to determine whether a sacrament existed or not? Is your part in the lie that belief that Marriage in the Catholic Church is not a Sacrament after all?
Whatever your role is in divorce, unwilling victim, active pursuer, outside observer, or religious advisor, before trying to “fix” what is “wrong” with Marriage or divorce, ask yourself what part you have in falling for and in spreading the lies of divorce and harden not your heart.
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