Study: Reflect on the strongest marriages you know. What are the qualities and behaviors that you see in these couples?
Pray: Who do you know is struggling with divorce? Ask the Lord to give them guidance and strength.
Serve: Are there couples you can support in their marriage? Are there people wounded by divorce in your life? How can you help them today?
In our current culture you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been touched by the reality of divorce in either family or friendship. Divorce is part of the landscape of our lives, and we find ourselves confronted by a real challenge:
- We want to promote marriage in a strong, healthy, and wholesome way
- We acknowledge those who are wounded and struggling from divorce
The sacrament of Marriage proclaims a fundamental reality that has both earthly and heavenly dimensions. On earth we recognize the union of a man and woman as part God’s plan which fosters intimacy, love, and the possibility of new life. Sexual expression within marriage becomes a blessed event, whereby the two become one.
This sense of unity that is present in marriage echoes the complete unity we have with the Lord. Jesus Christ is the bridge that joins us to the Father; God the Son took on our human form so that we could be reunited with the Father. Sin no longer divides us.
Yet division is part of our human experience, and nowhere is this more evident than in the reality of divorce. Life is messy, awkward, and challenging – and we all know that there are times when situations melt down and relationships unravel. We regret it, we lament it, we wish it could have been different…and we recognize that there is real pain and loss – but we have to find a way to deal with it.
So how do we foster marriage and at the same time help those who experience divorce? While there are several essential elements, I suggest a few key points:
- We rededicate daily our Christian conviction to love one another
- We vigilantly seek opportunities to practice forgiveness
- We extend mercy toward others in their weakness and need
- We stand for justice, and uphold our virtues and values
- We help our children to learn from our examples – both successes and mistakes
But perhaps most importantly of all – we reach out to one another: walking with those who are single, supporting those who are married, and helping those who are divorced. We need each other, and when we are united we are vastly stronger than when we are isolated.
Take time this week to consider the people in your life. How can you help them follow Christ? How can your life bless others in their vocation as they strive to live it? How can you be a healing agent who strengthens marriage and helps those wounded by divorce? We need each other, and we call upon the Lord for grace as we remember the words of the Psalm Response:
May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Note: This post was first published on September 29, 2015.