So there we have it!!
A challenge, right?
It is the challenge of FIDELITY
Paragraph 1646 says, “By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other.”
In marriage, faithfulness is ESSENTIAL
It’s the PROMISE of faithfulness
It’s the EXPECTATION of faithfulness
People can be mad at this teaching of the Church and teaching of the Lord
Paragraph 1646 continues, “Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice.’”
That is what love wants
G.K. Chesterton was an atheist who became Catholic
He said, “People can get so mad at the Church because the Church demands that they promise forever when they get married. That’s strange. That’s what love wants to do.”
LOVE WANTS TO PROMISE FOREVER!!
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike’s story about his couples that are doing marriage preparation…
The point is we do not say, “I want to give you my 20s”
We say, “I WANT TO GIVE YOU MY LIFE!!”
If you aren’t going to promise me FOREVER then do not even promise me TODAY
St. Pope John Paul II said, “For those who do not promise to love each other forever, they will find it very difficult to truly love one another for even one day.”
If we do not promise to love FOREVER then it will be impossible to truly love the other person for EVEN ONE DAY
BECAUSE LOVE SEEKS TO BE DEFINITIVE!!
YOU AND NONE OTHER UNTIL DEATH
NOT until I get bored
Paragraph 1646 continues, “The ‘intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require and unbreakable union between them.’”
In doing that, they are giving witness to who God is in this world
That can be done in so many ways
It could be done in a glorious, beautiful way
Like a couple who love each other so well through thick and thin, for good and for bad, in sickness and in health
It can be done in a difficult way
One spouse is taking the other one back even after the other one walked away
That pain from broken trust is unimaginable
Here’s Fr. Mike telling a story of such a couple…
God had RESTORED so much trust in their lives
God had RESTORED so much goodness in their lives
They were living as the embodiment of Jesus Christ and His Church
We as the Church are SO UNFAITHFUL
What does Jesus do?
JESUS CONTINUES TO TAKE US BACK!!
In the Book of the Prophet Hosea, what is the whole story?
God tells Hosea to go and marry Gomer, the prostitute, knowing that she is going to be unfaithful
So that Hosea can be a sign of God’s faithful love in the midst of an unfaithful lover
Paragraph 1648 says, “It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God’s faithful love.”
IT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Marriage in the Lord is God’s gift
We still live under the regime of sin
Paragraph 1649 says, “Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation.”
There can be violence and it would be practically impossible to stay where one is in danger or the children are in danger
Not just physical violence, but mental and emotional violence as well
There can also be situations where the couple has to physically separate because of financially damaging each other
We can be so mean to each other
We can be so mean to the people that we PROMISE to love forever
They are still husband and wife
They are still husband and wife until the day that one of them dies, unless the Church grants an annulment
Yes there are situations where going back would not be a good idea
There are some situations where that option should be considered
Take everything Fr. Mike is saying with the benefit of the doubt
The Church recognizes that each person is called to CONTINUALLY live out their vocation
Even if a husband and wife are no longer living in the same place, they are not free to pursue another relationship
That is the heaviness of what it is to be married
Paragraph 1650 says, “Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ-‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’-the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was.”
Even in those situations, they are not free to attempt marriage with someone else
Not because the Church is being an ogre
BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST SAID THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!
Jesus makes it SO CLEAR in three of the Gospels
It means that if someone is divorced and remarries, THEY CANNOT RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION
They can’t go to Confession and receive absolution unless they have repented for violating the sign of the Covenant and they commit to living in complete continence
This is one of the most painful things of being a priest
It is the pain of couples who finally get the courage to go to Confession after so many years
One of the things they mention is they have been divorced and they have been remarried outside the Church
One of the teachings of Jesus is that a person cannot be absolved until they determine that either they are going to separate or they are going to live as brother and sister
That can seem like an excessive demand placed on couples
When we understand the beauty, dignity, and reality of marriage, it is not an excessive command
IT IS PART OF THE RISK OF MARRYING!!
The promise for faithfulness, to openness to life, it is heavy
If you are married there was a moment when you said this person looking at you on your wedding day trusted you enough to be willing to risk the rest of their life for the chance to be your spouse
And you looked at them and trusted them enough that you were willing to risk the rest of your life for the chance to be their spouse
There are consequences
There is a burden
There is a heaviness
THERE IS SO MUCH BEAUTY!!
Someone was willing to risk forever FOR YOU
You were willing to risk forever FOR THEM
THAT IS SO POWERFUL!!
Even if a couple finds themselves in a place of divorce and remarriage, they are called to continue to keep the faith and to continue to raise their children in the Catholic Church
The whole community have to do what we can to help them out
That is so hard
If you are someone who has been divorced and remarried and you’ve gone to your Church and they said they could not help you, Fr. Mike is SO SORRY
In so many ways, we are not suited for that and we are not equipped for that
We are called to it too
What can you do?
The Church says that if you are only divorced, you can still participate in the sacraments because you have not done anything wrong at least with regard to being in a state where you would be unable to receive Holy Communion
If you are divorced, you can go to Confession and continue to live the life of the sacraments
It is when one gets divorced and REMARRIED
They are unable to participate in the sacraments of Holy Communion or the Sacrament of Reconciliation (unless they repent and live as brother and sister or separate themselves, remember)
Paragraph 1651 says, “They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.”
GOD HAS NOT ABANDONED YOU!!
If this is part of your story, as long as your heart is still beating and you are still breathing, your story is not over yet
There is ALWAYS a chance to repent to the very end
There is ALWAYS a chance to say, “Ok God, what do you want me to do in this moment?”
That is always the prayer
GOD, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO IN THIS MOMENT?
This is hard
This is a heavy day
It’s a beautiful day
It’s a challenging day
Every one of us needs God’s grace because there is not one of us whose life has not been touched by divorce
There is also not one of us whose life has not been touched by love
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!