Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Children's Happiness

Parents generally want the best for their children. We want them to be healthy and happy, to live productive lives…and to get to Heaven, although you don’t see that last one in any of the mainstream sort of parenting manuals.

Even though I have thought long and hard about getting my children to Heaven, it is still difficult to embrace the thought of them having trials and tribulations here on earth that will help them grow in holiness. I am still tempted to want to make everything easy and pleasant for them, to protect them from the rough times.
I realized this especially just recently, because my daughter has now become officially engaged to the man I’ve mentioned before. I am happy for her, because it’s what she wants, the two seem well-suited to each other, and I think he will be a good husband – at least in an earthly sense.

But he’s not Catholic, and he was civilly married and divorced. That means that they will need a declaration of nullity of that previous marriage if they are to be married in the Church (which is the only option that I will participate in!). I told them six months ago that they’d better go see the priest and put the wheels in motion, because there’s no telling how long it might take. My nagging did not have the desired effect.
So now, they are engaged, and they want to get married in October, but they have still not started the annulment process. My daughter, feeling a little more motivated, went online to find more info about the annulment process (specifically, how long it takes), and texted me in disbelief: “An annulment can take up to 18 months?!” She probably now understands the reason for my previous nagging, but it doesn’t change anything.

She’s trying hard to get an appointment with the pastor of our parish, but they have been playing phone and email tag all week. She’s anxious to find out how long the process might take (and we are all assuming a declaration of nullity will be forthcoming), because she wants to set the date for the wedding. She also knows that there is a good possibility that the whole process will do nothing to impress her fiancĂ© where the Church is concerned. “You might as well forget any possibility of him becoming Catholic any time soon,” she told me glumly.
I was there. My husband and I both had prior marriages and divorces, and I was not Catholic. I resented the very idea that the Catholic Church would presume to declare whether or not my non-Catholic marriages were valid or not! It wasn’t until years later, after I became Catholic, that I understood. But I did become Catholic, despite my disenchantment with the annulment process.  You just have to understand that the Church teaches the Truth, even though Her ministers may fall short of their duties and responsibilities.

But…back to my main point in writing all of this: I want to pray for a swift resolution concerning the annulment. And I do pray for that, but every time I do, I am compelled to add “but Your will be done, Lord, not mine.” Because perhaps it is for my daughter’s good that the annulment take “too long”; perhaps God has something for her to learn from all of this – something that is not pleasant, but something that is necessary for her growth in holiness, for her eventual admittance to Heaven. I would not want an easy solution to be something that interferes with the ultimate good for her soul.
And yet, the earthly mom in me still wants it to be quick; I still want them to be able to get married in October. Then the more spiritual mom comes forward and says, “But what if God has a better plan.” Of course, His plan will be best.

There’s something for me to learn in all of this, too, of course. I am trying very hard to learn NOT to pray, “You will be done…but…”

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.


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