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Sunday, April 8, 2001

"He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered
 by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness."
 - Emerson, from "Self-Reliance"
         In the past several weeks I have been working on marriage ceremonies, writing ceremonies and performing a ceremony as part of my ministerial studies.  For a minister, one of the most important aspects of performing a wedding is the "marriage counseling" that is done in the weeks prior to the actual ceremony.  I have realized in the past few weeks that it is almost impossible to separate the ceremony from the counseling.  In fact, I know the ceremony would not be very significant or meaningful without first spending time with the couple to find out what their beliefs are regarding marriage.  As we know in metaphysics we are always experiencing our beliefs, so the "marriage experience" becomes a demonstration of our beliefs about this most important relationship.

                      A couple of weeks into my study I came across an article in the LA Times regarding Pope John Paul II's teaching on divorce. His Holiness [as referred to by Catholics] stated that there is to be no divorce, even when there is suffering in the marriage.  He stated, and I am paraphrasing here, that since Jesus suffered on the cross, suffering will bring us into a closer relationship with God.

                      Wow!  This stayed on my mind for a few days.  Being a former Catholic, I understand the influence that the Pope has on hundreds of thousands of people.  I wondered how he arrived at this conclusion.  Since the origin of his opinion began with the belief that Jesus suffered, I decided to examine this first.  To me, Jesus is the Greatest Metaphysician that has ever walked on the earth.  I believe with conviction that Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead and awakened him to life again.  I believe with conviction that Jesus walked on water and I believe with conviction that Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.  And since I believe these things I know with conviction that Jesus could have walked off the cross had he chosen to do it!  But he didn't and neither was he suffering - he was teaching us his last and greatest lesson - that we are Spirit and we are Life - we are not physical - we are spirit!  And yes, I understand, from scripture that he hesitated for a "moment" but it was just for a moment.  I bless the Pope, but I do not share his belief regarding Jesus' great demonstration and I find no information or Principle to support it.  However, I easily found the Principle that is the foundation for marriage.  It is outlined in scripture as well, "what God has brought together, let not man put asunder."  The key to this Principle is "what God has brought together."  Now, I don't believe God, who created me in His likeness and image, who sustains my life and maintains my life, would bring me together with someone to cause me to suffer.  God just would not do that!  God does not know suffering for "He knows no iniquity" states scripture.  And if I were to make the "mistake" of getting myself involved in a marriage that brought suffering into my life, I would know that I made a mistake and that God did not bring us together.  Then, I would turn to God in prayer and either the marriage would find its harmony and peace or it would be dissolved.  Divorce is not a "sin" but a mistake.  It would be "sin" [self-inflicted-nonsense] to believe that God could will it to be otherwise. When Jesus stated that there should be no divorce, he cautioned against casting someone out of our lives and divorcing ourselves from any concern for their welfare.  That would be an act of vindictiveness and selfishness and would be outside of the Principle, "love thy neighbor as thyself."  The Pope's statement is derived from a "belief" that there is a God of punishment and reward.  There is no such God except in the mind of man.  There is no sin, but a mistake and there is no punishment but a consequence - "as you sow, shall you reap" stated the Master Mind Jesus.

                       God brings us together with our Soul-Mates for God Is Love.   As we put our trust in God, and God alone, we will be brought together with the right and perfect person to "share" this life with.   And when this happens we will be brought together to love, honor and obey - to be obedient to the great gift that God has given us by always giving our best to this relationship.  The Bonds of Holy Matrimony are not to imprison us but to give us a greater experience of the Love that God Is.  Our desire to be loved and our desire to love, Is God within us.  God is changeless, but man changes and when he does sometimes the marriage must end.  This is life on planet earth, it does not have to be this way, but sometimes it just is.  Soul-Mates are not Cell-Mates.

 And So It Is!           

Letting Love use me in Its own Good Way,
Henry Lee Bates