Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
The metropolitan Paul of Sisanio and Siatista
What means a divorce? Our inability to love. This is the core reason. All the others are mere justifications. The failure in love. The wrong perception we had about marriage. Marriage is not a bed of roses…Study carefully the Marriage Service (the marriage mystery) for there are found all the elements and conditions you should know about and thus you will reach the plenitude of your relationship.
The Church shows us the path from the very beginning: ”Blessed is the Kingdom of Father”…And in that moment the priest makes the sign of the cross with the Gospel. What does this mean? Three elementary things. My sons, do you know where you’re going? You are not heading to the unknown with the boat of hope, you have started your way towards the Kingdom of God. This is the true journey of matrimony. Who will be your guide on this journey? The Holy Gospel. And what is your journey? A cross. I tell the couples who marry:
”I don’t know if you understood, my children, but today you have to die.” ”Your selfishness must die.” ”You left your former homes and came here, then you leave this place and go to a new home.” ”Very nice.”” What do all these mean?” ”You have to forget about your former self, about what you’ve been till now and by your coming here your beings will be united by the grace of God.”
See, at a certain moment I join their hands and tell them:
”Have you seen two keys joined by a ring?” ”No matter where they be, they are together.” ”They will be in our pocket, or they will be dropped on the way, or in the sea, but they will always be together, cause they are linked by a ring, a wedding ring.” ”If they get out of the ring it is very unlikely that they would still remain together.” ” But what’s the link?” ”The divine grace.” ”Put your hands, put both your hearts in God’s hand.” ” God does not grab us by force, but stretches His hand and if you willingly put your hands in His hand, He will join you in a perfect, holy union and in this way you will make your journey.”
When civil marriage was established I feasted. I said: ” I will finally get rid of the pain I feel to officiate marriages between people who don’t know what they do.”” Go to the mayor or anywhere else you want, but not here.” ” Because this place is for those who know what they want and believe in what they do.” ” A divorce may have many excuses, but its true reasons are only a few.” How are two young people going to prepare for getting married? From the answer to this question you will be able to understand what’s going to follow. How well do they know each other? Or how deeply they ignore each other? I heard many times these words: ”It was not like this at the beginning.” But that’s exactly how it was, my child, only you didn’t see it. The engagement is not a frothy period when all we have to do is party all day long. It’s instead a period when people talk seriously about their future, see if they undertand each other, if they have the same goal in life, sometimes even in certain things that seem rather superfluous and easier.
Once I said to some young people who were friends: ”My children, it’s better to break up today than tomorrow.”
”But why?” they asked.
”Cause you have no connection with each other.” ”One of you has interests that are totally different and specialized and the other one has only – and the young people use this word today – rubble. After some time you will start to envy her and she will get tired of you. So don’t make mistakes!
Fortunately they understood in time. Cause it’s important to see the truth. ” I love you” and ”do you love me?” is so easy to say these words, but it’s difficult to live them. We learnt that love is incarnated. And if it’s not incarnated, if it’s not crucified, then it has no future.
Ultimately the divorce is a failure. But the question that’s risen is the following: How will we face a divorce? Do we learn from our mistakes? Did we understand how we got here? Are we aware that we failed? And we did not fail by mere chance, but we failed cause of some concrete, clear and visible reasons. Or do we think that only the other one is to blame? To the people who get married I make this wish: ”My children I wish you would learn in your life to be always guilty both of you.” ” Cause if you think that’s only one of you to blame, something goes wrong between you two.”
To marry means to accept the other one just as he/she is, cause I love him/her. To marry means to struggle, to strive for offering joy to the one I love. Thus there is a common journey of two people. The fact that the other one accepts me does not generate the immunity for my selfishness, as long as he/she accepts me as I am. He/she accepts you cause he/she loves you. But what about you? Do you love too? Then correct yourself. If you see that something bothers the other one, correct that thing. When I hear some people saying: ”That’s me, I’m not going to change”, I tell them: ”It would have been better if you hadn’t got married cause the one who loves, changes himself.” ”I won’t change” means ”I don’t love.” All the others are unnecessary.