Divorce is such a complicated matter. Those who have never been through it can feel empathy and compassion for those who are experiencing it, which is a great thing, but they cannot know the depths of pain nor the layers of complexity that come with it.
The only one who truly knows and understands is God. God has witnessed every argument, every sacrifice, every deception, every prayer… even the smallest details of your suffering.
So, I’d like to re-introduce you to a gospel story that you are familiar with, the parable of the Good Samaritan. You’ve probably heard this story a million times, and it carries a strong message, which is that we must love our neighbor. You already understand this message, so in light of your personal situation let’s take a look at the parable from your unique angle… Consider the story as if the man who was brutally beaten and taken advantage of by robbers is you.
What has happened to you and your dream of a good marriage and solid family life might make you feel the same way as the man who was accosted by the robbers in this parable. As if you’ve been beaten and left by the side of the road to die. I know you know how that feels.
The parable of the good samaritan in the gospel of Luke reads:
The Samaritan, the one who stops and takes the time to care for you, the dying man, is Jesus. Let’s read again how Scripture describes the Samaritan’s actions: But a Samaritan traveler who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine over them. He lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Look after him, and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have’ (Luke 10: 30 – 35).
It is beautiful to read in this story how the Samaritan compassionately cared for this broken human being — even though he was someone who, in those days would be the first to ignore a non-Samaritan because of social prejudices. He would never have considered stopping to help. Yet, he cared for him with the best that he had to offer, pouring oil and wine on the man’s wounds, laying him on his own animal to be carried while he walked, took him to an inn where he would be able to rest and heal, and finally paid for it all out of his own wallet.
Isn’t this so much like the way Christ cares for you? He would never leave you alone to die, and it’s not just a matter of him accidentally passing on the same road that you are on; Christ goes in search of you.
The Samaritan pours wine and oil over the wounds of the beaten man. That’s so similar to the components of our sacraments; wine and oil; healing and transforming. Jesus tends to all your wounds great and small through His gift of the sacraments. He wants to transform you through His grace so you can be whole again.
It is also beautiful to contemplate what could be the significance of the inn in that parable, the place of rest… the Church.
But I Have Righteous Anger!
I’ve known many people over the years who barely cling to their faith because they are consumed with anger. They’re hanging on by a thread, but they haven’t let go completely. And you know what? That’s a start. Many people who are divorced do have righteous anger, and the fact that they are hanging by a thread can be the stepping stone to a deeper faith. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we? We are all sinners in need of salvation no matter what our level of faith, right?
So, if you find yourself in this position of being hurt, angry and resentful toward your ex-spouse, the Church, or life in general, try something different through opening up to Christ and the healing He can bring you through His grace and the sacraments. Jesus carries you as you journey through your difficulties and pain. He will bring you to a place where you can rest. And finally, He has paid the price for you through His own suffering, His cross and resurrection. Never forget what He has done for you!