I remember very clearly when I was in the middle of my divorce: I met with a lawyer, went to court, tried to get to work on time and also stayed up until the early morning hours with my daughters who were trying to process this new phase of their lives. I thought it never would end; I couldn’t see myself through this time of my life which had crumbled around me.
I speak often about taking the time needed to heal if you have been through a divorce. And it is so important to make that a priority in your life—for yourself and for your family. If that thought is overwhelming to you and you need a place to start, I highly recommend the book Divorced. Catholic. Now What? by CatholicMatch’s own Lisa Duffy and co-author, Vince Frese. This book is an outstanding step-by-step guide to building a solid prayer life and confronting those things about your divorce that each person needs to address: from anger, to children, to forgiveness.
I remember despising the idea that I needed to pray for my former husband. I was hurt and angry—not only for myself but for my children, who were caught up in all this ugliness. I struggled to pray both in general and for the situation in specific. This is probably one of the largest stumbling blocks there is, so it is no surprise to me that this book begins with a chapter on prayer: Prayer During Times of Distress.
In this chapter, the authors share a case study and also some insight from the saints of the Church. They discuss what prayer is (a conversation with God) and different ways to pray. When you are struggling with prayer, you don’t need to confine yourself to reciting an entire Rosary on your knees when you are feeling like tearing your hair out. A simple song or a quick walk down the garden path in search of peace can also qualify as prayer.
But even more importantly, Lisa and Vince outline why prayer is important and best of all, give solid, concrete examples to help build a prayer life of your own. This is a tremendous blessing to those of us who found themselves in a state of limbo during the divorce, just trying to figure out how to put our lives back together.
The second chapter addresses what I believe is the most important emotion to master during the divorce process: anger. Those of us who work to have faith lives are not only angry at the disintegration of our marriage. I would hazard a guess that we were equally angry at God. How could you let this happen?!
Again, the authors use a case study and then outline various ways to help come to terms with the anger that accompanies divorce. They give concrete examples of ways to help overcome your anger. Together with the first chapter, the writers show their readers how to build a solid foundation of prayer and anger management which will help each person to overcome the difficulties that divorce entails.
The rest of the book is equally accessible and helps the reader to follow specific steps to work on the healing necessary to move past the trauma of divorce. Topics covered include annulments, forgiveness, dealing with children, and staying close to the sacraments. The writers help readers know they are not alone while walking down this difficult road.
I strongly encourage any of you dealing with your own divorce or that of a family member or friend to get your own copy of this book. Lisa and Vince have overcome the difficulties of divorce themselves. They are not just another couple of contributors to the self-help market. They are strong, devotedly Catholic people who have lived the experience of divorce and have found real, concrete ways to overcome the tragedy.
If you have had the chance to read this book yourself, which sections did you find the most helpful? If you have read other Catholic books on divorce, which would you recommend?