I am divorced. And in the deep recesses of my being, I still allow that to define me.
Today’s Gospel is a difficult one for me.
a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife
Why did it happen?
The reasons are layered and complex. I was (and probably still am) blessed with a certain level of naivete. Socially, I’m clumsy. If I don’t come across that way, it’s not because I don’t feel that way.
Never, ever, in a thousand years… in a million years… did I ever even suspect that Sue and I would become a statistic.
and the two shall become one flesh
That’s not an excuse. I do not excuse myself.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.
Okay… so what made me think that it was permissible to separate what God joined together?
I never did. I don’t think it is permissible for any of us.
Just like I don’t think it’s permissible to live contrary to any of God’s laws.
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” – Matthew 9:3-12
No other gods. No idols. Keep the sabbath. Honor Mom and Dad. Don’t kill. No adultery. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t covet. Don’t covet (yes, apparently we need more than one reminder of that one).
So… how good are you at adhering to those?
I suck at it. Pardon the vernacular.
How do we resolve what Jesus told the Pharisees?
I don’t know.
I know what the Catholic Church teaches. Sort of. I know they permitted me and Kathy to both seek (and have granted) a formal annulment of our previous marriages, thus giving us permission to marry each other — in a second sacramental union (for me) — and still participate in the sacramental life… receiving Holy Communion, having our sins forgiven in Confession.
Have I resolved all this in my own mind?
That is clearly because I am an imperfect, flawed human being.
My ways are not His ways.
Okay, this is supposed to be a quick meditation. Not a sermon. Not a book. So…..
Has anything helped me overcome my guilt?
A handful of years ago (was it five, six, more?), I discovered the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. If you are familiar with me and this blog, you know that.
Jesus was born into this hellhole to save us from ourselves.
We’re the ones who have taken His Father’s glorious creation and created a cesspool, made a mess of just about whatever we’ve laid our hands on.
We are imperfect human beings.
We will sin. We will be immoral. We will offend others and thus offend God.
Reflect on that before you nod off tonight. And ask forgiveness.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm:
His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 136 (all verses)
The Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared to human beings. The Lord, Jesus Christ, has made Himself known and spoken clearly to human beings.
Mary gave us the Holy Rosary.
Jesus gave us the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
He promised that even the most hardened sinner, if they will say the Chaplet even once, will be granted His Divine Mercy.
It’s stuff like that, folks, that engages my consciousness, that gives me hope, that permits me to forgive myself, that keeps me strong.
I don’t know if my words do that for you. But I want them to.
If you’re struggling with something, I don’t have all the answers. But I do have empathy. I’m capable of praying for you (or with you). And I believe with every ounce of life that my/our prayers are heard and answered.
Don’t forget to listen. Never forget to listen. The answers are there. We also suck at listening.
Today is also the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:16a
St. Maximilian had a lifelong devotion to Mary. He wanted to start a radio station. Instead, he was captured by Nazis and died in a concentration camp.
He chose one thing. The Lord chose another.
Decades later, Mother Angelica spearheaded EWTN. How much more powerful and meaningful is the legacy of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe because of his experience and suffering at the hands of enemies of God than if he got what he chose?
I pick up my pen and tap on my computer to get these words out. Yes, I choose to write. I choose to press “Publish.” I can’t help but feel in some way the only reason I’m doing this is because He chose me. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just supposed to get you to think.
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating. And for still not posting a meditation daily.