This title will shock some, anger others, and make perfect sense to those who have come through it.
Don’t get me wrong; divorce is horrid, it violates the whole family, the poison of it reaches into every part of our community, and, yes, God hates it. (Malachi 2:16) But there’s another part of this difficult reality: from divorce can come great blessings, renewal, restoration, and even redemption. That is precisely the GOOD NEWS of our faith. Our whole Christian religion is about a God who takes our mess and can bring something good, even greater than we had, from it.
At the beginning of the Easter Vigil twice we heard this strange outburst (Felix Culpa):
“O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam
which gained for us
so great a Redeemer!”
The joy in these words can seem surprising—why celebrate that Adam failed to intercede for and thus abandoned his wife Eve, that she fell for the smooth-talking liar and turned her back on God, and the whole of creation has been deeply damaged ever since? How can the Church in her liturgy even suggest that this was a happy day?
Well, it wasn’t . . . and yet in the garden we were given the promise of a Redeemer. We received the promise of The Woman who would crush the enemy’s head. From the mind of a loving Father God to the lips of the prophets we got constant reassurance that great good would rise from the ashes of the fall. Good that no one could even imagine. And best of all, God took on flesh to come among us and give us his heart. His Sacred Heart.
From that freely-given “Yes” of the “New Eve” (Mary’s) and the “New Adam” (Christ’s) all of humanity now has a way back home. We can have intimate union with God far surpassing what we would have had otherwise.
So how does this relate to those who suffer the “fall” of divorce? People in our weekly “Surviving Divorce” support groups report some of the blessings and goods that came from their divorces:
I woke up to life in general.
I found God. I’d been running from him for years.
I rediscovered my faith and came back to the Church.
I started going to confession again after thirty years.
I stared reading the bible and it’s changed me!
I got deeper into our faith and am on fire for God now.
I’m a much better Mom/ Dad than I ever was.
I spend more time with the kids than I ever did.
I made a deep and healing apology to my spouse that was years overdue.
I found the real meaning and power of forgiveness.
It made me face my addictions and get help I’d been avoiding.
I stopped using the kids as a security blanket and made God my rock.
I have been able to teach my kids so much wisdom through this.
I started a divorce ministry in my parish and God’s healing so many.
I finally learned what the Church really teaches about marriage.
I was really selfish and through this I’ve learned how to love rightly.
Divorce can force you to wake up, grow up, clean up. If you’re open to God’s hand on your life, it will shake you to the core and knock scales off your eyes and great hope and healing can come from it. Some who are still deeply wounded will be angry–and rightly so–that it took divorce to bring about long-needed conversion. Whether or not a person is the one who left, or had to leave, or was abandoned, every heart must stay open to God’s healing touch and beautiful blessings will flow from the wound and bless others nearby. Beauty will rise from the ashes. (Isaiah 61:1 -3)
Christ knows all about being abandoned by his “spouse” the Bride (us). He bore unbearable pain in his sacred heart and from his pain came our redemption. From his death, we got life. So if you’ve ever suffered any type of broken relationship—and who hasn’t?—or unjust abandonment and rejection, you also know a little about “divorce” and the graces, wisdom, maturity, healing, and even deeper love that can eventually come from it.
Right now if a relationship with a spouse, child, friend, family member seems to be falling apart, don’t despair. Put your religion in that relationship, and remember (make present) the hope we have in him. Do your best and trust that God will make good on his promises—in his way and his time.
Oh happy day!
Watch a video with Rose offering support HERE.