St. Joan of Arc Blog

God’s Love is Forever (part I of II)

10-07-2018Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today Our Lord offers us His teaching on marriage. To our modern ears, the teaching from Our Lord sounds severe, even insensitive: "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery." In our current day, we find that divorce seems to be almost a normal way of dealing with conflict in a marriage. But divorce is nothing new because it was obviously around during the time Our Lord walked on the earth.

Our Catholic Church has some beautiful words that help us to understand this fundamental teaching of Christ. The Church receives Her teaching from the Sacred Scriptures. In the Bible we hear that Christ loves us with the passion of a groom for his young bride. What is our response to God's love for us? Fidelity. God wants us to be faithful to Him, which means that we can have no false gods. To go after a different god is adultery. Our Loving God calls us to love Him totally and exclusively.

The Sacrament of Marriage is meant to be a sign of the love between God and us. Throughout the Old Testament we read again and again that God is the groom and Israel His bride; therefore do not go after other gods. Fast forward to the New Testament and we see Our Lord is the Bridegroom who willingly offers His life even to die for His bride - the Church.

Of course Our Lord knew that we are weak and we fail. Our Lord knew He was giving an extremely difficult teaching on the permanence of marriage. The Catholic Church has done Her best to uphold Our Lord's strong teaching. I do encounter many sincere people who struggle with the Church's teaching on marriage. So, I would like to clear up three common misunderstandings. 

First, Jesus taught that marriage is a lifelong and exclusive union between a man and a woman. Secondly, the Church teaches us that to have a valid marriage a Catholic must marry in the Church. This norm for Catholics of course does not apply to non-Catholics. We presume the validity of their marriages. Lastly, the Church has no power to grant a divorce, although it does have a process to determine if a true marriage existed.

We all know people who enter into a second union - and who do the best they can to worship God at Mass, even though they cannot come forward for Holy Communion. Our human reality is messy. Always has been; always will be. But that does not mean we can change Our Lord's teaching on marriage.

I have met couples over and over who have had a very difficult marriage. It is often these same couples who are the first ones to recognize the beauty of Our Lord's teaching. Ultimately, Christ's teaching on marriage is about more than our human relationships. It is about the relationship of us to God and God to us. God's love invites a total and exclusive response that is meant to last forever. In that relationship above all: What God has joined, no human being must separate.

God Bless,
Fr. Don Kline, V.F.

El amor de Dios es para siempre (parte I de II)

Queridos hermanos y hermanas,

Hoy Nuestro Señor nos ofrece Su enseñanza sobre el matrimonio. Para nuestros oídos modernos, las enseñanzas de Nuestro Señor suenan severas, incluso insensibles: "El que se divorcia de su esposa y se casa con otra, comete adulterio". En nuestros días, encontramos que el divorcio parece ser una forma casi normal de tratar el conflicto en un matrimonio. Pero el divorcio no es nada nuevo porque evidentemente existió durante el tiempo en que Nuestro Señor caminó sobre la tierra.

Nuestra Iglesia Católica tiene algunas hermosas palabras que nos ayudan a entender esta enseñanza fundamental de Cristo. La Iglesia recibe su enseñanza de las Sagradas Escrituras. En la Biblia escuchamos que nos ama con la pasión de un novio por su joven novia. ¿Cuál es nuestra respuesta al amor de Dios por nosotros? Fidelidad. Dios quiere que seamos fieles a él, lo que significa que no podemos tener dioses falsos. Ir tras un dios diferente es el adulterio. Nuestro Dios amoroso nos llama a amarlo total y exclusivamente.

El sacramento del matrimonio debe ser un signo del amor entre Dios y nosotros. A lo largo del Antiguo Testamento leemos una y otra vez que Dios es el novio y que Israel es su novia; por lo tanto, no vayas en pos de otros dioses. Avanzamos rápidamente al Nuevo Testamento y vemos que Nuestro Señor es el Esposo que voluntariamente ofrece Su vida incluso para morir por Su novia, la Iglesia.

Por supuesto, Nuestro Señor sabía que somos débiles y fallamos. Nuestro Señor sabía que estaba dando una enseñanza extremadamente difícil sobre la permanencia del matrimonio. La Iglesia Católica ha hecho todo lo posible por defender la fuerte enseñanza de Nuestro Señor. Me encuentro con muchas personas sinceras que luchan con la enseñanza de la Iglesia sobre el matrimonio. Entonces, me gustaría aclarar tres malentendidos comunes.

Primero, Jesús enseñó que el matrimonio es una unión de por vida y exclusiva entre un hombre y una mujer. En segundo lugar, la Iglesia nos enseña que para tener un matrimonio válido, un católico debe casarse en la Iglesia. Esta norma para los católicos, por supuesto, no se aplica a los no católicos. Presumimos la validez de sus matrimonios. Por último, la Iglesia no tiene poder para otorgar el divorcio, aunque sí tiene un proceso para determinar si existió un verdadero matrimonio.

Continuará…

Dios bendiga, 
P. Don Kline, V.F.

BACK TO LIST