Friday, November 22, 2013

"You used to hold my hand when the plane took off"

(Another) Late Friday traditio. Man this week went by quickly! Nothing since writing on Purgatory. With no apologies, I love the music of Sinéad O'Connor. I always wished she could've met with Pope John Paul II after her SNL performance. I feel quite certain that he would've given her a big fatherly embrace.

"Last Day Of Our Acquaintance" is a sad song for certain. I've been reading a lot lately about what canonical and legal remedies are needed in order to "save" marriage. I am not opposed to this approach, or even to some of what is being suggested. However, I do not think any canonical or legal remedy, or various combinations of them, can ultimately "fix" what's wrong with marriage. What's wrong with marriage is what's wrong with us.

Divorce, I think, rather than the way it is often described by people arguing for the permanence of marriage (something I think is of huge importance), as something done for a lot of glib reasons that can be reduced to statistics and then subjected to reductive analysis, is excruciating for most people who get divorced. Very often divorce is like a death, sometimes even worse, which is why this song is a kind of dirge. So, reductive analysis and policy prescriptions are way too abstract and cold. My pastoral and personal experience with friends who have gone through a divorce is that divorce is much more like what O'Connor sings about in this song: devastating. If a devastated person cannot find shelter in the Church, which extends the arms of Jesus, then where?

Endlessly repeating social statistics in not persuasive here. As with anything that truly matters, the ultimate answer cannot lie with external remedies, but in the heart, by Jesus' Sacred Heart, with which He loves us all the way to our destiny, especially in and through our brokenness. Why do think, though now risen and never again to die, He still bears the scars? To me, His scars are His most beautiful feature.

Two years ago the seed was planted/
And since then you have taken me for granted/
But this is the last day of our acquaintance/

Honestly, there are times in even marriages that don't end in divorce that some of what is sung about here happens. In my view, the answer is not to de-personalize marriage, but precisely to re-personalize it, or, more accurately in my view, personalize it for the first time. I refuse to live my life in loyalty to an "institution," which are always abstractions and ephemeral, but only to a Person and to (through?) other persons. Love has a face. Love has a name.

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