God why have you forsaken me?
A question which in agony, we all have asked at times in the garden. Some have sadly had to ask it more than others.
In October I started a new chapter in my life. A university degree, subsidised by the Catholic Church. I Love it. In order to get to university on time I need to leave my home at 5.45 am. My day is full of witness to God. From the sublime birdsong of a dawn chorus, to snow laden mystical mist covered fields, glowing under the cast of the knowing moon, to sleepy smiles on the underground, to the sacredness and reverence of being (only for this one precious morning) the sacristan, responsible for setting up the Mass, with the motherly Love of a dearest fellow student, under the kindly guidance and watchful eye of the elderly sisters of the Maria Assumpta Chapel in Kensington. I truly pray the Mass. It is a most special and treasured start to each and every day.
My situation is complex. I originally went to the Catholic Church because I wanted my children and I to be united in faith, a faith which would become our eternal resource. Something which as a child I was not privileged to receive. Something amazing happened, I came to understand the true limitless capacity of God bestowed Love, in the deepest, kindest, most loving, all enduring way. True authentic limitless Love enwrapped in the Love of agape.
Something tragic happened, my children were received into the Catholic Church and I was not. That separation at times has rendered me choked, and paralyzed with pain.
Running parallel to my journey of Love, I have had my life, (which has at times been happy and at times been brutal), slowly and privately revealed, in such a dismantling, disarming, painful, lonely and freeing way, leaving me exposed and maybe, at the judgement, opinion and wrath of others. I have experienced simultaneously, both the loving and intimately painful, unfolding process of annulment, and the re-living and maybe liberation (I await) of excruciatingly painful re-opened scars. Any sins that were unknowingly committed through my previous lack of education, lack of formal faith, lack of discernment and inexperience have been crudely brought to light, and will see me left in a moral straight jacket, a moral straight jacket from which I can neither move to the left, nor to the right, nor stand still, nor move forward without seemingly being further immoral. But I have to believe, that God’s absolute intentions and Will for my life, is my destiny.
God gave me one life. A life with a beautiful happy all loving childhood, a life which as an adult, I have on occasions seen abused. A life where I have never committed a criminal offence and yet have had offences committed against me, to which I have been forgiving. A life which I have slowly learnt to reach out to Him in. A life where He has touched me, inspired me, and held me intimately close and naked. A life where He has assured and revealed to me my destiny, in my deepest most soulful – all truthful prayer. A Truth that in contradiction, appears at present not to be the life that apparently I am allowed to pursue.
For a while now my wedding ring has been taken off whilst I contemplate my painful dilemma. A dilemma that leaves me feeling now wrong for having prematurely married without God being part of the triune Love. I can see the Catholic Churches teachings that my husband should still be married to his x-wife who left him, whom he loved so loyally for 30+ years. And whom consequently wanted to get back together with him before we had children. I can see the Catholic teachings that a family unit should not be broken, for the stability and security of the children. I can see with great clarity the Divine blessing of True Authentic Love that only God bestows upon two people. The pressure, turbulence and contradiction these revelations have caused within myself, even more affecting my marriage, is now clearly visible, and is hard at times to contain.
The only way of me being received into The Catholic Church at present, to be united with my children, is by living as sister and brother within my marriage. Else my husband or his former wife has to die in order to no longer be considered bound by their former marriage (even though they divorced 12 years ago). I am not sure I could allow myself to be recieved into the Catholic Church upon the required death of another being.
The crater this pressure has forced and revealed in my relationship, on top of age, class, faith and other differences, is maybe irreversible. I want to fill that crater with Loving kindness. Being received into the church, to be united with my children in faith, is all important to me. My husband who is 21.5 years older than me (who is a traditional man) being ‘old school’ has an authoritative, dutiful, practical and set outlook. With his humanist secular nature he doesn’t understand, like or approve of my passion changing me. He despaired of me a while back, and although he is tolerant, kind and forgiving, his frustration, inability and failure to communicate on an emotionally intimate level, which is crucial to me in my faith and my need, is very isolating. We live under the constant tension of loving kindness/gentleness, anger, and emotional/physical frustration. At times, it works, at times it causes desperate friction, at times immense sadness, all disguised under ‘normal’ family life. It is difficult and very unsatisfactory for us both, but we keep going.
Beyond all this, God has bestowed a Love on me that I can not deny. A Love and Truth which I feel so intimately within, that leaves me now seeing everything with a different and new clarity. As a mark of my conversion I have had an old ring altered to fit my wedding finger. Attached is now a tiny little diamond cross from a pendant, a cross which symbolically shines the light of Christ. I know that the ring will stay. I know that the ring will mark the bestowed Love that I feel so deeply within. It will forever be my Truth. My beloved Truth.
I am unsure where God will lead me. My journey began through a secular world, then outrageously for me, it led me through the inspiring beautiful Catholic Church. But so soon already it appears that my Love which allows me to fully express and be true to my deepest self, and so true to God, which will eventually lead me through the doors to my destiny, are to be doors which seemingly remain forever closed to me here.
My former annulment is soon to be concluded. It will not change my situation. I still will not be able to be received into the Catholic Church. The dilemma of my pastoral degree and my future being intricately and intimately linked to the wider Catholic diocese, which I am struggling to feel equally welcome in (in comparison to the other parishioners) is a very real restriction and deterrent to my future here. The richness of the many lectures, events and opportunities on offer in my diocese, is something which I so want to experience in the same way as the other parishoners and students on my course, (who are in the diocese) whom are already recieved into the church.
God’s grace is free. It is freely given. I can not allow for myself to be continually denied and unjustly held separate for very much longer, it makes me so unhappy. . . Maybe I have to find God’s grace beyond the Catholic faith, which would also make me feel so unhappy. . . . Dilemma . . . Only authentic Love and Truth can restore the deepest happiness. A cross I have to bear that is truly crucifying me.
In a world quite often where the attraction of Heaven is far greater than the reality of Earth, one wonders why we all torture ourselves and each other for so long. Why don’t we all just Love in Truth ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’ with God in Triune Love, and live good lives full of Love and kindness. Why can’t we find a way to Love (where God has bestowed Love), where we (without God) in the past have failed. A world where in Truth, grace is freely ours. . . not to be earned, or given, or exchanged. . . but acknowledged, that it is received freely as a gift from God alone.
“Christ died for all, for all. No one is excluded from his Love, from his forgiveness.” Pope John XXIII.
What ever the way, I will forever be True to my deepest self and full of honesty, for me. . . for God. I will not lie. I will forever Love, embrace and try to demonstrate His gift of Loving kindness, (on occasions I have failed). I will never cease to Love, and what ever happens, I can rest assured that my children and I will forever be united as Christians. Even if, I have to be a Christian free spirit. Whatever happens, I will forever remain True in Christ and in Love.
And that is God blessed.