By: Sr. Clare Hunter
Yesterday’s post for Encourage & Teach by Bishop Loverde, “Stand for Marriage, Stand for Faith,” originally printed in the Arlington Catholic Herald, is a timely reminder of the importance of “standing” for marriage, and not losing hope in the battle to protect the truths of marriage as one man and one woman. On one hand, it still hurts my brain that such a blog must be written and that we have to define and discuss what marriage is; yet such things shouldn’t surprise me when glib articles are being written about throwing the best “divorce party” and where to get the best “divorce cake.” It makes sense that a culture that celebrates divorce would be confused about the meaning and purpose of marriage. I agree that it seems rather ridiculous to claim that marriage is defined as permanent, monogamous and life-bearing, if that is not witnessed. Once we take away that definition, anything can take its place. And it has.
Although sometimes necessary to protect one spouse or the other financially or even physically, divorce is always a bad thing. It is a painful and very sensitive experience for men and women, especially for their children. It has touched each of our lives, and our families and friends. Divorce is a death, and time is needed to heal and process through the shattering of lives and emotional heartbreak. This is painful and entails the acceptance of suffering. It entails heroic acts of forgiveness, mercy and the dependence on others for support, most especially from the grace of God. All of this can seem rather repulsive in a culture that rejects the idea of dependence – on God or others, and certainly does all it can to avoid suffering.
We all know experientially, and science has proven, that laughter is the best medicine and humor heals. But are we doing greater harm to those suffering from a divorce by encouraging or turning to sardonic humor to deal with the emotions from a painful situation? As the media and social networks report and highlight this trend, will we continue to become numb to the suffering of those we love who experience divorce? Will divorce parties and cakes become part of a life event? It seems to me, this will only add to the confusion of marriage as it loses the sacredness and reverence for which it was created. Might I suggest, rather than a party and cake, offering instead prayers, Masses and sacrifices for the couple and their children, whose lives have been changed forever, and who will need true love and support for the rest of their lives.