As Catholics we are called to live out our vocations faithfully focused on Christ and trusting the Church to lead us. As we know, the vocation of marriage does not always end in “happily ever after,” but sometimes in divorce. Though stories of broken lives are as unique as the people who experience this heartbreak, one thing is still true: these individuals are still called to holiness. And we, as the body of Christ, are to embrace and pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in their joys and trials, which may include divorce.
Despite the high divorce rate that has become more common in the last 50+ years, rarely do we publicly hear of Catholics still faithfully practicing their faith following divorce. In fact, it is more likely that you will hear about so-and-so having left the Church altogether. The reasons can vary. This is where we as a community are called to be compassionate towards those who left the Church, and also towards those who are carrying the heavy burdens that come post-divorce and have stayed faithful to the Catholic faith.
If you happen to be a faithfully practicing Catholic, and are also a divorcee, you may experience a certain awkwardness while still attempting to be actively involved in the Church. Articles that speak of how to faithfully practice the faith in a deeper way with your spouse may tug at your heart strings, while you think to yourself, “I really wanted that for us”, or “I always thought that our life would be like that.” Seminars on how “you and your spouse can be good examples of a faith filled marriage” may sting a little bit, but you’ll still try to incorporate those ideas as best you can all while still single-parenting. Perhaps amidst the brokenness, your ex isn’t in agreement in raising your children in the Faith, and so you struggle to instill in your children the Truth knowing they will receive information contrary to that over the weekend with the other parent. The scenarios can be many, but the weight behind them is the same. You don’t fit the projected ideal anymore. A perspective shift is needed both within yourself, and respectfully from others.
These issues, and more, are so common among the often silent divorcee’s that are still trying to be faithful despite broken and less-than-perfect circumstances. As I mentioned earlier, this is where the community of faithful are called to be compassionate so as to help and not hinder these individuals call to holiness. Divorce adds a complexity to these individuals faith journey, a complexity that is hard for those on the outside to easily cast judgement on. No one can know the intricacies of someone else’s marriage or divorce, and no one can know for certain how these things affect someone after-the-fact unless they share their testimony.
Join me for this new series for-and-about faith and life after divorce. We will answer some questions and address some common issues that divorcees face while still trying to live out the Faith. We will share some personal experiences, some stories from other divorcees, explore what the Church teaches, the process of annulment, and try to answer some of your questions as they come up.
And if this is you, I encourage you to persevere. Jesus offers you peace, strength and grace in the Sacraments.
Included in this Unyoked Series you’ll be able to read about these subjects and more:
Where is your spouse?
Parenting Post Divorce
Dating Post Divorce— Yay or Nay?
The Sacraments After Divorce— Yes, you can!
Attending Mass as a Divorcee
Spirituality—Focusing on God’s will for your life and vocation.
How to Answer: Do You Need Anything?
Saints to Inspire the Single Parent
Sex and Morality for the Broken Family
The Annulment Process
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About Celeste Bowen
Celeste calls California's wine country home. She is a mother of four, artist, blogger, and special needs advocate.