Divorce and The Church

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Hello again, this one is going to be interesting because I know a lot of people out there who are divorced in the faith. Did I peak your interest?

Gospel Mark 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
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,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

Let’s talk about divorce. I’m divorced. My first marriage was in the Catholic church. It was a pretty short marriage. My ex-husband, after we got divorced, filed for an Annulment. At that time, I didn’t much care. I wasn’t practicing the faith except when I went to Christmas and Easter Mass with his family. I have to be honest with you, when I received the Annulment papers in the mail to sign, I was pretty ticked off. They pretty much pointed to ME as the reason as to why our marriage wasn’t valid. It said that I didn’t go into the marriage fully committed as I should have in a sacramental marriage in the Catholic faith—till death do us part.

That’s the meaning of marriage in the Catholic church. It is meaningful and exactly the point of marriage. You forgive, you grow, you love, you have children. You build a family together. That is the point of a marriage in the Catholic faith.

For me, I did not go into that first marriage in that frame of mind, so as much as I was ticked off, I had to admit it was true. It is what it is.

But now I’m married again in the Church in a true sacramental marriage. I now know what marriage is about, that there’s no question, I’m not ever getting divorced from my husband. There is no question that forgiveness, love, kindness, generosity and support are so critical to a marriage. We went into our sacramental marriage with eyes wide open. I had a long conversation with my husband, who by the way, for those of you who don’t know, is not practicing the faith, but he knew and knows how important our marriage is.

So for those of you who have been married for 20, 30, 40 years and it’s your second go around you could be married in the Church. You can still apply for an Annulment for your first marriage and it can still be granted so that you can have the blessing of a sacramental marriage in the Church.

I know there are a lot of people who have a really tough time with the teachings of the Catholic faith when it comes to marriage and divorce. I would like to make a suggestion. If you want to get back to the Church and you want to be married in the faith, go talk to your priest. Or find one that you can share your story with and start the conversation. Who knows? It may not take a year or two. It really does depend, but if you start the process, you will eventually have an answer. Whatever that answer is, I don’t know for sure, but why not try to find the answer?

And children, I was not open to life. I was on birth control for many, many decades and I was too busy for kids. I chose my career instead. I used to look at people who had eight, nine, ten children like they were lunatics. I would think, “Hey, you know, there’s a way that you could stop that. It’s called the pill or have a vasectomy. You could take care of that problem.”

And now I look at these families and their children and I think, “Oh my gosh, what a blessing!” I now understand life and the purpose of a family. I’m bummed that I’m beyond that stage to have children and that I didn’t wrap my arms around it myself. I have two fabulous stepchildren that I wouldn’t change the world for, but I don’t have any of my own with my husband. Seeing a little mini-you growing up and watching the personality grow must be amazing. Knowing that you have an opportunity to shape a human being to be a loving and caring being and to truly teach them about the faith must be phenomenal. I wouldn’t have thought this way six, seven, eight, nine years ago, but now I get it.

It took me a while and I know there are a lot of you out there that aren’t there yet either. Just know there is a purpose to a man and a woman in a marriage and that is to be open to children. Let God figure out how many you will have. There is NFP, natural family planning, which you can use if you have good moral reasons not to have children. I have a blog on that. Check it out for the reasons and the differences between the pill and NFP because there are very big differences and it took me a long time to figure that out.

So again, for you people that are divorced and have that achy heart feeling about the Church and how you’ve been treated, please go talk to a priest and see what can be done.

Okay?

And for those of you who are married, sacramentally, congratulations! Please continue to instill faith into your children and see God growing in them every day. And we’re not going to get into heaven if we don’t approach the Kingdom of God like a child. We cannot walk around with our egos and pride saying, “Oh yeah, I’m all that. I’m a Jesus follower. I’m getting into Heaven. How about you? How about you?” Put your hand up, grab His hand like a child and say, “Please Lord, help me, lead the way please!”

Love your family, appreciate your husband and your wives and your children and have a blessed and inspired week.

Kendra Von Esh

Kendra Von Esh

Kendra Von Esh is an author, speaker, and expert on compassionate leadership who motivates her audience to enrich their lives through faith and prayer.