“Well, you see, I’m divorced.” The explanation was said to a small group of women, all of us new to this particular parish ministry and all of us hoping to find a place to belong. Each of us held our breath and Susan, the woman who spoke, seemed to brace herself for whatever would come next. But without missing a beat another woman replied, “I am too. That is, I’m divorced, annulled, and now married to my husband.”
And just like that, everyone relaxed into a grace-filled conversation. Everyone there had been touched by divorce in one way or another, so understanding, compassion, and encouragement were abundant. Instead of judgment and condemnation, Susan encountered a sincere interest in her life.
No one wants their marriage to fail, but some marriages are not safe. Some are impossible, not even valid, sacramental marriages at all. Some are incredibly painful. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Because of the hardness of your hearts,” Moses allowed divorce but “what God has put together no human being must separate” (Mark 10:5, 9). When read from a place of marital suffering, Christ’s words can seem so harsh.
But the Church, led by the Holy Spirit, knows this. The Lord and His Church allow for hurting couples and divorced individuals to come forward and share their story and their pain. Jesus does not withhold His love nor His mercy, and the Church desires to compassionately accompany them to healing and reconciliation, whatever that may look like for each unique person.
Jesus does not withhold His love nor His mercy from you. There is a place for you in Christ’s Church.
Sister, if you know someone who is going through a divorce and / or the annulment process, how can you reach out to them and offer support, compassion, and love?Jesus does not withhold His love. // Bonnie Engstrom Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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