Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

If I could paraphrase my divorce I would say it has brought me closer to God.

I hear from Catholics who agonize over an action which is counter to our beliefs.

Their pain so visceral it jumps towards me as I read the words before me on the computer screen. They implore me to explain how I have reconciled my decision while still remaining a faithful Catholic.

I have often said I have a unique perspective, being raised by the greatest male role model in my life, my uncle Father Patrick McCaffrey. My mother’s loving brother dedicated himself to both her and her five children in our dad’s absence.

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Luckily for me and by the grace of God, he was a man who though he strictly wore black and white did not view the world that way.

And fortunately, and again by the grace of God, we now have a Pope who is much the same way. A fiercely Holy man whose empathy is as enormous as his faith. He preaches tolerance and acceptance for the human condition and by doing so encourages us to hold onto our Catholic Roots despite our shortcomings.

The day my uncle told me, “Colleen, the Holy Spirit gave you the gift of joy your whole life, do not let another human being take it from you.” I believe he was expressing how we are all children of God and all given unique gifts and we need to protect them in order to do God’s work.

Divorce is not something I wanted. It is not something I willingly chose. It was a last resort.

Of course, I lamented for years over this decision. It went against both my faith and my family values. But the world is not black and white. It is gray.

The Bible is not black and white it is full of gray areas. It was in those gray areas where Jesus stepped in to interpret situations to his faithful followers and exhibit and implore compassion.

I remember one day when my children were little picking them up from Catholic education class. My three guys jumped into the back of the car and began to wail. It seems their CCD teacher had told them our beloved and aging Golden Retriever would not be going to heaven.

I calmed them down and told them when we got home I would call Father Pat and ask him what he thought would happen to our ‘Emma.’I dialed my uncle’s number and asked him if he would have told my children their sweet dog would not be going to Heaven. His answer was no. He told me he would tell them God loves and takes care of all of his creatures. And just like that my three boys were restored. They didn’t have to worry about their ‘Emma’ anymore and they didn’t have to be conflicted between their faith and love.

Last night, I was in the grocery store. I bumped into a friend who is also a divorcing Catholic.

“My divorce has brought me closer to God,” she said.

As Catholics, we can’t continue to beat ourselves up for falling short of the absolute spiritual intentions we began marriage with. The world is not black and white. Jesus showed us this. Pope Francis shows us this.

And my uncle showed me this.

We can’t afford to be conflicted between our faith and love because it threatens to draw us farther from God.

Especially when these times are meant to bring us closer to God.

If only, we can forgive ourselves first.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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