Many people who get divorced did not want to lose their marriage, but were forced into accepting it. Others had to make the unthinkable choice of filing for divorce in order to save themselves and their children from abusive spouses. There are also those who end their marriages for selfish reasons and later become repentant through the grace of God. No matter what the case may be, it is certain these circumstances leave divorced men and women, particularly Catholics, feeling their lives are now the sum total of their divorces; that they no longer serve a purpose or have something to look forward to in life. But there is one man, Brian Patrick, the Host and Executive Producer of EWTN’s News Nightly, who has something to say about that, and he has some outstanding advice for anyone who might be feeling discouraged about their future because of their divorce.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Brian, formerly the popular host of the Sonrise Morning Show on EWTN Radio who went on to take the lead position at the News Nightly, and he graciously recounted his amazing story for me. He offered some excellent food for thought, and I am sharing it with you in two parts, with the hope you will gain consolation, courage and hope from reading about what he has been through and what has led him to go on and do great things.
Here is Brian’s story and encouragement for anyone doubting their future:
You mentioned that you had a rough road getting to where you are now. Will you share what happened?
Well, I got married at a young age, we were both teenagers. We were expecting our first child, but neither one of us was ready to be married. I was a budding alcoholic who had stopped practicing my faith. We tried to make the marriage work for our children. It was very hard on them when we divorced. Eventually, I remarried outside the Church, but that civil marriage also ended in divorce.
My alcoholism had progressed and I began suffering bouts of deep depression. I finally reached a desperation point and sought help from a priest who was in recovery. With his guidance, I returned to the Church and embraced my faith. A 12-step program helped me to finally face the reality of my life and become willing to change.
When I was asked to guide the formation of a global nightly newscast for EWTN, I said, “You’ve got the wrong guy!” I felt my past had disqualified me from being a candidate for this. But with God, all things are possible, even after a divorce.
Do you have any advice to encourage divorced Catholics who may be feeling discouraged about their current situation and the future?
Yes, definitely. My perspective is that there can be great sadness in divorce, but the joy of the Lord helps us rise above it all. It is in my brokenness that I recognize how much I need the sacraments, and my parish family more than ever. So, trust God because He has plans for you. He promises to bring all things to good, even divorce, if we serve him and live according to his purpose. I am a living witness to that promise.
Brian’s encouragement is full of wisdom and hope. No matter what has happened as a result of your divorce, no matter what kind of reaction you may have encountered from other people, and no matter how you personally feel about yourself, you must remember you still are a significant and important member of the body of Christ, and the place you will find the most healing is in your home, the Catholic Church. But more importantly, remember your divorce is something that happened to you, it does not define you. God still has great things waiting for you and a purpose to fulfill. Why not take some time to listen to Him today?
Next week, I will share with you the second part of my conversation with Brian. To find out more about him and the EWTN Nightly News, visit the show’s webpage.
And, keep those questions and comments coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.