How Great Thou Part

I sit with my shrimp salad and iced tea before me. The restaurant is busy and seating limited. An older woman squeezes into the bench next to me. We sit side by side, enjoying our salads for one with chit chat for two.

Our conversation progresses from living in this metropolitan area, to my column and then to the visit of Pope Francis.

“I’m not Catholic,” says the woman. “Only I love your Pope and I wish I could see him when he comes to town. He is doing wonderful things.”

Her comments make me proud to be a Catholic. I would say about Pope Francis what many said about my own uncle who was a priest. He is a priest for all people.

I make my way home from the mall and to my computer. I sit to read an article about Pope Francis and his recent stance and reform of the annulment process. I fight back tears. In the Catholic faith a marriage is forever. This twenty-four year old stood before God that day and my own uncle and husband and family and meant every word of that sacrament and promise. I would never have walked into that church and down that aisle if I hadn’t.

Only life is not perfect and nor are people. This now aging twenty-four year old found no other choice except to dissolve my marriage. In fact, I took my faith and commitment so devoutly that I spent so many years trying to save my relationship that I ruined myself. A ruined being has little to give back to the world in the manner we are meant to let alone to our children.

I am one of many Catholics who never wanted divorce, who tried to save their marriages and found that it takes two to save a union. Divorce alone uses a person up. The annulment process in the past was difficult, time intensive, expensive and uncertain.

I sit back and dry my tears.

Pope Francis is essentially saying that we (divorced Catholics) still have the right to our faith. We will still be a part of the church and communion.

It is unbelievably comforting news to this Catholic because it has been my faith alone that has gotten me through this impending divorce.

Life is a spiritual workout. We are all out of shape and Pope Francis knows this. He also recognizes that we have all been given different spiritual workouts in life that demand ‘faith lifting.’

He is not here for judgement. He is a humanitarian. A being filled with tremendous compassion for others while possessing great passion for his own faith. He spreads love not judgement, tolerance not ignorance, healing not separation.

I’ve already lost one union. I have no desire to lose a part of my union with my Catholic faith.

Pope Francis is what I would call a ‘living’ Pope. He is not encumbered by the role he is in, but rather walking amongst the people while casting love.

His immense empathy for the human condition is inspiring. No, I would say it is simply ‘living Christianity.’ Isn’t that what we Catholics are supposed to be doing anyway?

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