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Divorce & Annulments

Divorce is hard. It’s something that brings suffering to everyone involved; the spouses, the children, family and friends… it effects everyone. After the legal details have been decided, there is still so much to deal with. Powerful emotions like anger (rage for many people), loneliness, and that terrible feeling of being lost are present long after the documents have been signed. And there are painful questions. Can I receive the sacraments? Am I still welcome at church? What exactly is an annulment, anyway?

 

All of this can make you feel as if you’re not in control of anything and it can make the idea of having to drudge your way through Lent all the more difficult. There are three critical things to remember at this precise point:

 

First, be confident in the fact that God loves you and is closer to you now, more than ever, even if you think he’s asleep in a boat somewhere…

 

Second, the Evil One will use your emotions and your suffering to attack your weak spots. Now is the time to be on high alert!

 

Remember, God reveals His strength through your weakness. If you accept your weaknesses and offer them up to Him, He will use it for your good and His glory. 

 

Especially since this is Lent, the season of sacrifice and mortification, the Devil is going to go out of his way to talk you into soothing your pain instead of sacrificing. He will remind you every chance he gets about how you don’t deserve the pain and suffering of losing your marriage and what you really deserve is to indulge yourself. Whether you are kneeling down to pray, trying to work on forgiving your ex-spouse, running late and trying to get to mass on time, or just trying to live a basic, good Christian life, the Devil will be there to prey upon you as you suffer and trip you up because he does not want you to succeed. It’s Lucifer’s job to create doubt, and if you are trying to do what’s right, He will be there, whispering in your ear.

 

The best way to plan your counter-attack and win the battle is to contemplate Our Lord as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus knelt in the garden that night, sweating blood and in total distress, the Evil One was right there, too, doing his best to convince Christ that He couldn’t save humanity. He tried to convince Jesus that bearing the burden of all human sin was just too heavy a cross to carry; no man could make this sacrifice. He tried to convince Jesus that He was a failure. But Christ knew His strength was in doing His Father’s Will and there was nothing that could deter Him from fulfilling His mission, even knowing it would mean torture and death.

 

So, take heart in Jesus’ example and unite your suffering and temptations with His. This is how you defeat the Evil One’s attempts to distract you from doing the right thing. Relying on God’s grace to protect is your armor against evil.

 

By virtue of your baptism and all the other sacraments you have received, you have the graces to fight the good fight. Remember also, God will never allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. He will always give you a way out of your struggle.

 

So when you’re trying to manage your desire for sexual intimacy, or when you are trying to find forgiveness for someone and the painful memories keep playing in your head like a reruns of a TV show; when you are running late for mass and you feel discouraged to the point that you don’t want to go, remember God needs your weakness to reveal His strength and He is always showering you with the graces you need  succeed. The choice is yours. But fear not, for “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4: 4).

 

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18 Comments

  1. Tim-616385 February 28, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this story Lisa. You know what to say and make me feel better. God does work through you and your faith.

  2. Kate-948947 February 28, 2013

    Thanks! Needed to see this today.

  3. Kathleen-625294 March 1, 2013

    What would Jesus say?

  4. Gina-942516 March 1, 2013

    Thanks i really needed this one today :)

  5. Alice-788574 March 1, 2013

    Ditto.

  6. William-675153 March 1, 2013

    Thanks for the scripture and encouraging words- sincerely , will

  7. Michael-904475 March 2, 2013

    Terrific encouragement! Thank you!

  8. LoraAnn-925046 March 2, 2013

    Thank you Lisa I really needed this.

  9. Abby-949735 March 2, 2013

    Hello?

  10. Daniel-634934 March 2, 2013

    Every time I am making good progress in putting my anger behind me, I always read the garbage that Lisa Duffy comes up with, and my anger comes right back. I can’t believe that CM actually pays her for her OPINIONS……

  11. Robert-352121 March 2, 2013

    A lot of words to say nothing.
    I feel worse now after reading this.

  12. John-949164 March 2, 2013

    I soooo needed to read this! More please. I can rise above the anger by the grace of God! Thanks Lisa

  13. Laura-824866 March 3, 2013

    Lisa–I love your work! It was your book that really helped me after my divorce! I even passed it on to my parents (who have been married 48 yrs) because they grieved for the loss also. My mom found great comfort in your wisdom. Thank you!

  14. Serge-942079 March 5, 2013

    Can I receive the sacraments? More than ever I’d say. That’s why at one point Jesus says in Mark 2:17

    New International Version (NIV)

    17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    This verse clearly indicates that His love is not based on our merits but on how much we need him.

    A brother in Christ,

  15. Pamela-951879 March 20, 2013

    What is her book titled?

  16. Santa-962536 May 14, 2013

    Hola a todos lamento mucho no poder tener una conversación con usedes pues no hablo ingles me gustaria mucho encontrar a alguien que hablara español

  17. Joe-863487 February 8, 2014

    This article is a beautiful meditation on our Lord’s suffering and temptations, and how those might relate to those of us suffering through the aftermath of divorce. Thank you so much for writing this. Our own sufferings pale in comparison to what our Lord endured, yet it is so comforting to know that He has felt what we feel…and that He has given us such a beautiful example of how to go forward even in our pain and fear and temptations.

  18. Michelle-1078361 April 24, 2014

    It definitely is hard not to be pulled into the drama of divorce. I did tell my ex I forgave him but that did not mean I was not hurt and angered by his actions.

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