People love to joke about “Catholic guilt” and say things like “You shouldn’t feel guilty because as a Catholic, I have enough guilt for everyone!” This exaggerated statement is somewhat humorous, but is it true? Well, it depends…
The Church encourages you to form your conscience by understanding the basic moral truths and then continuously diving deeper into them and applying them to your daily life. If you have a well-formed conscience, guilt is a good thing because it keeps you in check and eventually, leads you to joy through the sacrament of reconciliation. However, guilt can become a twisted and heavy burden if it is not handled properly. Divorced Catholics in general, and those who were abandoned or left no choice but to divorce in particular bear this burden of guilt, often to an extreme.
Are you struggling with guilt over your divorce now? You need to know that there is a huge difference between someone who willingly destroys his or her marriage and family to pursue selfish desires (such as a relationship with someone else), and someone who was faithful to his/her marriage and fought to save it. If you did not want the divorce but found yourself in that position anyway, you need to take some time to look at yourself through the eyes of Christ. Take some time in Eucharistic Adoration and talk with Jesus about this burden you bear. Know that He loves you and is not ashamed of you. He knows your struggles, He’s heard your cries and He knows your heart. He loves you with a perfect love, far greater than any human love. Let His love for you penetrate your heart and be your guiding inspiration at all times.
So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our hearts sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:22