Dear Father Angelo, good morning.
I wanted to ask a question.
I am a catechist and I made friends with a woman catechist. Little by little this friendship became love and mutual desire, the wish to be together and live together, sharing everything. Unfortunately, our common wish to live together and marry cannot be fulfilled at the moment, because she is already married. When we met, we did not experience love at first sight, nor physical attraction. In fact, we found each other a year later, at a time when we were both feeling depressed, and both of us a eager to love each other, and we need each other. She is neglected by her husband, with whom everything has withered; I, without her, am alone. When we are together, we both experience a feeling that we never experienced before, and we are bound by something that unites us despite everything else. We found each other completely, we talk about every kind of things and through empathy we understand each other and feel what the other feels. We do not have a full relationship, but a very strong feeling binds us and we are convinced that it is a gift from God, a love that was given to us as an answer to the desperate prayers which were constantly repeated by both of us, even though neither of us was aware that the other was praying for the same thing. Both she and I were praying to have one true love in our hearts, and one next to us in life with whom to share everything, and to give ourselves fully to one another. She does not find in her husband what she is looking for, she never found it in him, and over time this discomfort, this want, sharpened both in her and in her husband, because he too does not seek her, does not appreciate her, does not make her feel complete, does not make her feel like a woman who is loved, esteemed, understood. In fact, he often disparages her, shows his contempt in his remarks, despises her, and treats her badly, wishing her bad things. He is unhappy with her and she is with him. He seems to be into another woman and she wants and finds in me what she is looking for, the man she needs. And she doesn’t feel comfortable with him, but with me. She wants to be with me and I with her.
From a religious point of view, we are both catechists, and we know that this relationship is wrong. But we need it ,because we love each other inexorably, inevitably. And indeed it is love. Can loving be the wrong thing to do? We tried to put an end to everything but we cannot give up ourselves, this love, the wholeness we experience when we think of each other, that is, always. I am her first thought in the morning and the last in the evening, I am the first person she calls to share anything… from religion to catechism, from the most intimate thought to matters of work, and I behave in the same way with her. We want to get married and we make plans, we dream of living this love openly, walking hand in hand. But for now, we live it by moments that are almost stolen. We cannot live without each other. We tried and we were both dying inside. So we ask ourselves: what can we do? Is it right that we have to live without love? Is it right to live without love? One can be doomed to live without the one person who makes one whole, who makes one fulfilled, who makes one truly feel a man and a woman, merged into one another like a single person. Is it right to be doomed for life to unhappiness and to live next to someone you do not wholly and totally love, but love more like a friend, who does not see you and does not seem to love you and does not seek you, does not want you…we are in love with each other and bound by one great, immense love. She is my one great Love and I am her one great Love… God is love and he listened to the prayers of the two of us. How can we now live this love together and not suppress it? We cannot suppress it, we do not want to do it, because one cannot live without love and God, who is love, cannot want that a man and a woman, bound by a special and intense love like ours, be doomed forever to live separated from each other and therefore unhappy, dead to love and unable to love anyone else, unable to live. What can we do? We are both praying so that we can be happy together. We want to be together and live together, love each other wholly, marry and share the rest of our life together. How can we do it? How can we live this love? It is not possible to suppress it, because she is the only one I love and she makes me whole and I am her one true love who makes her whole. We cannot live separated and we cannot leave each other… it makes us feel we are choking, it kills us, and we want to live, together, with love, loving each other because to live is to love and one cannot live without love.
Please, tell us something.
Thanks from both of us
Answer from the priest
only today I was able to read your email and I apologize for it.
1. I have no doubt that what you are experiencing is love.
But not all love is good, especially when a person is already married and has promised before God to be faithful to one’s spouse through good times and bad times.
2. The person you are in love with no longer belongs to herself. She belongs to her husband. With him before God she forms one flesh.
You know well that Jesus said: “Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt 19: 6).
3. Love therefore does not justify everything.
Love can sometimes be wrong, as it is in the case in which it undermines the unity of a family.
4. Love is a feeling and as such it is neither good nor bad.
Its goodness depends on its object and on the use that is made of it.
Love for evil is love. Sometimes it is passion, and indeed overwhelming passion.
But love for sin, in itself is a perverse kind of love, because one becomes attached to people or things to which one’s heart cannot be permitted to attach.
5. You are a catechist and you honestly recognize that there is something wrong with this affair.
And you know well that if you do not resolve to end this relationship, you prevent yourself from receiving Holy Communion and also from receiving sacramental absolution.
6. You also know that the first duty of a catechist is to bear witness to what he teaches.
He must bear witness not only outwardly, but also in his own personal life.
7. You tell me that you prayed a lot and that right after such prayer this flame was lit, and you interpreted it as God’s answer.
Here it is clearly necessary to slow down.
In fact, Sacred Scripture says: “Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil” (1 Thes 5,21-22).
And also: “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God” (1 Jn 4:1).
Right in the Gospel of next Sunday (16th Sunday of ordinary time, year a) it is said how the enemy of man acts, coming to sow weeds even in good soil, such as that of a catechist, who can be tempted to mistake for good grain what is harmful to him.
I assure, for you and also for the person of whom you told me, my prayer so that you may each walk your own way according to the ways of God, and that you may always receive his blessing in fullness.
I bless you too.