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).