Monday, October 6, 2014

Baby steps forward.

I had been back to attending weekly Mass for about a month when my wife surprised me by telling me that she would like to go with me.  This was a pleasant surprise to me seeing the Catholic faith was the only Christian faith my wife once told me she would not consider. Now she was willing to give it a try. The next week that our children were with the “others” we attended Mass together for the first time as husband and wife….kind of.

She came away from Mass full of questions, which showed interest. We went together again and more questions – more interest. It wasn’t what she expected. She didn’t agree with everything she saw but then again she didn’t understand everything she saw either. She had always wanted a family faith life so it wasn’t long before we started taking the kids with us every week.

Now I said that we attended Mass as husband and wife…kind of. We were husband and wife in the eyes of the state. We had the signed license. We went through the prescribed ceremony. But in the eyes of the Catholic Church we were adulterers.  We were sinners committing mortal sin and therefore could not fully participate in the Mass.
In the Catholic Church marriage is one of the seven sacraments. As we learned in a previous post a sacrament is a sacred oath taken until death. Marriage being a sacrament explains the “until death do us part” business you always hear at weddings. You also always (used to) hear a part that basically goes like “what God has joined together let no one separate”.

This goes all the way back to creation itself. God created man and then woman. He joined the two together and made them one flesh, the first marriage. How did that end? Woman, who could not be told what to do, ate the apple and now I have to wear pants. Ok, maybe it’s not that simple. Plus if Adam had done his job and protected his wife none of that would have happened. So it’s really man’s fault I have to wear pants. Figures.
Jesus reaffirmed this with his teaching to the Jews when they questioned him about divorce. Moses, a man, allowed divorce because their hearts had hardened to the will of God. Jesus reminded them of the first marriage and that man and woman are bound together as one flesh which cannot be separated. This is the Catholic belief and teaching. Once married a man and woman are bound inseparable until one of them dies. Only then is the survivor allowed to remarry. There is no such thing as a divorced Catholic.

Both my wife and I had been previously married, I in the church and she in the backyard. Seeing the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize the word “previously” we both were “currently” married to other people. That made us adulterers with mortal sin separating us from a right relationship with God. We could not partake in the fullness of the Mass and could only watch from a distance.

The important thing was that we were at Mass, together, with our children, desiring to be in a right relationship with God. Where there is a desire God will provide the path for healing.

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