Divorce is a sensitive topic in our Catholic faith, so much so that our dear brothers and sisters experiencing the pain of divorce leave the Church rather than cling to the Church. Just when our brothers and sisters in Christ need our support the most, they leave us and would rather seek help outside of the sacraments than embrace them. Why is that?
With such a high divorce rate in the United States it is likely that we all have experienced some facet of divorce. Be it personally, through a close friend or sibling, possibly even through our parents, our children or extended family members’ divorce affects more than just the couple involved. And yet, we hesitate to console or offer support. I ache considering the torment our brothers and sisters must be going through to feel unwelcomed and unwanted in the Church.
Lisa Duffy enlightens us by sharing her own torment with divorce in her talk titled “Mercy and Forgiveness in the Midst of Divorce.” Lisa offers hope to those currently going through a divorce and to those that have previously gone through a divorce. Mercy and forgiveness are achievable when we “stay close to the Sacraments and heal through [our]faith,” Lisa affirms in her presentation. It is in this act of staying close that we find the challenge for everyone; the couple, the children, the community. And isn’t that the wearisome walk where we meet Jesus? In the midst of great strife He walks with us.
I hosted this Catholic Conference for Moms at my local parish and during my planning it was with a little hesitation that I chose to share this video. The fact that I hesitated on such an important topic disgusted me and I was committed to sharing it all the more fervently. During her talk Lisa reassures our brothers and sisters experiencing divorce that they are welcome in the Church. After my gut reaction of hesitation, I questioned if my actions reflected Lisa’s message. I shy away from confrontation and this topic seemed confrontational to me. I am a work in progress. In the spirit of overcoming my fears and anxieties I chose to reflect a little more deeply on this topic.
How can I console those in my life that are experiencing divorce? Are there deep hurts that plague my relationships today? Why do I need to extend mercy and forgiveness in letting go of these past hurts?
In union with our burdened brothers and sisters may we “pray and be open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” on consoling all who enter.
Copyright 2016 Gina Felter