Aug 5, 2006

Why Not Divorce? Second Note to a Friend.....

Please realize that you did not receive a sign from God when you decided to proceed after you heard your husband, R, say he wanted a divorce. If the sign were from God, it would not have contradicted Jesus’ teaching about divorce. Distinguishing between a sign from God and a sign from Satan sometimes requires spiritual discernment, but in this case the simple contradiction makes it clear.

St. Theresa of Avila is one of 33 Doctors of the Church and warned that one should never ask or desire God to give a vision or a personal sign. She gives several reasons:
  1. The desire shows a lack of humility
  2. One thereby leaves self open to "great danger, since the devil needs only to see a door left slightly open to enter"
  3. There is the danger of autosuggestion, and she says that if one has a great desire for something, he/she can easily persuade self that he/she is seeing or hearing what is desired
  4. It is presumptuous to want to choose one's own path: only the Lord knows what is best
  5. Very heavy trials commonly go along with such favors; and
  6. It could even bring loss.
St. Theresa adds that many holy people have never had such a favor, while there are others who have had them and yet are not holy. A person who gains the virtues at the cost of his own labor has earned much more merit." (Interior Castle, 6.9).

You have started on a spiritual road and seem to have gone further than R. He has not followed the same course as you and continues to oppose your attending church and taking your son to church. Yet I suspect he may not be that far behind, unless his path is interrupted. I was particularly impressed by R's comment that your friend’s Hispanic husband was a very good example of Christian ideals and charity.

Dear Friend, you said it was only two or three years ago that you finally felt the need for Jesus in your life—now you are impatient and angry because your husband has not yet received the same grace. Yet R engaged me in a rather lively discussion about Catholicism while visiting you in _____, and I did not sense any animosity whatsoever! He was clearly arguing to generate a good response. And of course I defended Catholicism with all the energy and enthusiasm that I could muster, and all he did was smile! I would encourage you to defend your Christian beliefs vigorously when R contradicts them.

With regard to the "cafeteria approach," please don’t say that both sides have the same value and that your children can pick and choose which side to believe. Now is the time to stand for faithfulness and live in it. Today. Yesterday is gone. Nobody can change the past. What is chosen this day will affect both today and tomorrow for your children and grandchildren.

[Slight edits were made to my letter to a friend for publication in this blog.]

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