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God never “gives up” on us!

I didn’t criticise the Ten Commandments, as I knew that it was us who had shut the door on our salvation.

God never “gives up” on us!

When I met Jakub, twenty-four years ago, the whole world seemed to dance around us…

It was a forbidden feeling: a few years before, Jakub had entered into an unhappy sacramental marriage (they didn’t have any children and received a civil divorce).

We thought that such love like ours happens perhaps once in a lifetime and we couldn’t let it go. Before I went to do my last honest confession, I had already known that I wouldn’t be given absolution and that I would be excluded from receiving Holy Communion. My priest’s arguments fell on deaf ears. Deep in my heart, I apologised to God for our plans and decisions; I also apologised for driving my mum to despair and for the pain we were inflicting on other people by our relationship. We started our journey through life.

In my heart of hearts, I made a promise that I would do anything to stay close to God and the Church. I didn’t ask for much or expect any “progressive thinking” in the Church to accept our situation. I didn’t criticise the Ten Commandments, as I knew that it was us who had shut the door on our salvation. Soon God made us the parents of two happy and healthy children. We were grateful for this miracle and went on with our life, attending Sunday mass every week. We tried to pass on the faith and Christian values to our sons, who became altar boys very early. God never forgot about us and made us meet people and see signs that meant only one thing: He hadn’t given up on us. Despite violating His Commandments, we felt that He was near. We were often aware of His presence and we knew that He was taking care of us. One day, after a retreat for non-sacramental couples and discussions with a priest from the Clerical Court in Poznań, a beam of hope lit up. In early 2000, in our diocese office, Jakub applied for his sacramental marriage to be declared invalid. Praying more and more for a positive answer to his request, we waited patiently for the reply.

At that time, we felt a great need for a sense of togetherness, for belonging to a prayer group. Although we had never been rejected by the Catholic Church, having non-sacramental status made things difficult for us. Perhaps our faith wasn’t strong enough or it wasn’t the right time yet? Some time before, we had heard about Medjugorje from a friend who used to go there, transmit the addresses made by the Mother of God and encourage us to go there. Thanks to his involvement, and on his initiative, in December 2000 we set up a prayer group of Our Lady of Peace affiliated to our church. We have been meeting twice a month, drawing on the experience of other prayer groups in Medjugorje attending evening prayers and the adoration of the Lord Jesus. Our prayer group is really important to us. It is for believers who wish to get closer to God by prayer. At the group’s first meeting, during the celebrations of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the priest presented us and some other people with a Carmelite Scapular – a symbol of Mary’s motherly love, which we reciprocate with pride and respect. Now, almost fourteen years since we devoted ourselves to the care of Our Lady of the Scapular, I can see how much she has been looking after us, helping in our daily lives and taking decisions, leading us to Christ.

The decision to live in a marriage blanc, like brother and sister, was taken together

Accepting the invitation of Our Lady of Medjugorje, I first went there for two weeks with my son in 2001, just before his First Communion. A warm atmosphere of prayer, singing, openness and testimonies forged a unique climate on the coach during our journey, and all my fears and doubts dispersed. Just at that time, I noticed a small miracle: my son, who is normally very shy, couldn’t stop himself from trying to get hold of the microphone to say the rosary over the speaker system. The whole trip was really lovely and unusual in every respect. The prayers, the adoration of Lord Jesus on the Cross and in the Holy Sacrament, meetings with people who can see the Mother of God, walks to Kriżavec and Podbro, a general atmosphere of warmth, and the fact that thousands of people were taking part in the prayers – all of this made us unwilling to return home and provoked reflection. Looking back on my life, I started crying with grief. The pilgrimage to Medjugorje was a perfect time for reflection.

Later, we went on many pilgrimages to other holy places in Poland and abroad, asking for divine grace, and we received it. We gave thanks for everything, whilst remaining aware that we weren’t able to sufficiently offer ourselves. We learned so bitterly about the fragility and transience of our lives, when, over a short period of time, our brothers passed away unexpectedly (both were forty years old). Keeping in mind that Christ had died for us on the Cross, and that he still offers himself under the species of bread and wine, we missed Him more and more, unable to receive Communion. Forced by the circumstances, above all by the grace of God and the care of the Blessed Mother, after many hours of discussions, we were finally ready to take the joint decision to live in a marriage blanc, like brother and sister. The testimony in Love One Another!, showing us that such resolutions aren’t only reserved for people over sixty, inspired us and boosted our confidence. My first confession after eleven years was like coming out of the shadows, like a hurricane sweeping away all the unnecessary things in my life; it was a chance to see the true light, to get closer to Jesus and his overwhelming love. Not only had God been waiting for us patiently for so many years, allowing us to fall over and get hurt, he had also been watching us raise ourselves, mature and grow. But it wasn’t an easy decision for us.

At that time, we were thirtyfour and forty-two. In order to go through life together and bring up our young sons, we had to sort out our lives and develop a new friendship. Eliminating conjugal sex from our life, we tried to strengthen the other elements we shared in our relationship. However, Satan didn’t back down: he put temptation in our way, aroused desires and derided our weaknesses. Thanks to God and the Most Blessed Mother of God, we kept our resolution, which was made before God, in the presence of the dean priest. We were stronger, we had the tools to overcome our weaknesses, and we could perform the sacrament of penance and receive the Eucharist; we knew that “if God is on our side, who would dare to be against us?”

Initially, we thought that we would stick to our resolution for a year or two at the most, until the matter was decided at the Episcopal Court. We considered it our penance and offering to God for the positive settlement. The reality turned out to be a little bit different: the court case took more than seven years, and the outcome wasn’t satisfactory for us. Right after the verdict was pronounced, a feeling of helplessness, bitterness and, to some extent, injustice arose in our hearts. The examination of the case by the lower court didn’t change the ruling. After a short period of disappointment, we accepted the court’s decision and together determined to stick to our resolution. We’ve learned to nurture our platonic love through everyday smiling, respect, understanding, joint prayer and mutual support. In our love, God has taught us not to look at each other, but to look in the same direction. It is a sublime grace that we’ve been given, as we know that we wouldn’t have been able to overcome the obstacles put in our way without it. We are tremendously proud when we look at our young sons, believing that the values that we have instilled in them and their bearing witness to our way of life will positively influence their adult lives.

A short time ago, we visited Medjugorje for the third time. In our hearts, we carried many intentions and requests, but most of all thanks. We went there to sacrifice twelve years of our new life to God and the Mother of God. I asked God through the Holy Mother for the grace we needed to be able to live a life that he approves of and, thanks to his mercy, deserve the Kingdom of Heaven. Unexpectedly, during the trip to Medjugorje, we witnessed a display of evil. At the same time, however, God decided to show us his might and greatness, and let us worship him; beyond all doubt, he proved the sanctity of the sacraments and the power of the priesthood. With hurricane force, he dispelled all the shadows of doubt that were trying to penetrate our hearts and minds in every way from the laicised world around us.

Yet again, we experienced that God is waiting for every person, and that he never abandons us. He is always ready to reach out His helping hand and save us from the snares of evil, offering us the grace of forgiveness. By letting us share His body in the Holy Communion, He makes us stronger and changes our lives. If we only ask Him to do so, He will guide our lives, bestow His grace upon us and give us the strength to fight evil. I believe that sometimes God allows bad things to happen in order to do even more good out of it. I guess that was the case with us…

Małgorzata (46)

During the period before I entered into a non-sacramental marriage, my faith lay dormant. I went to church once in a while – usually on feast days. Although there wasn’t anything that would prevent me from going to confession and taking Communion, I didn’t feel the need to do so. I thought that merely trying to be good and honest was enough to be saved.

It was only then, in our non-sacramental marriage, that Małgosia opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of God and of our relationship with Him. I could feel a growing willingness to get closer to God, but our situation made it impossible. Then we met people who made us aware that there was a way to solve our problem. The decision to live in a marriage blanc, like brother and sister, was taken together. It coincided with my first visit to Medjugorje, during which, after a fifteen-year break, I went to confession and took Communion. It was a marvellous and absolving feeling, and the place was so wonderful.

My first confession after eleven years was like coming out of the shadows

Looking at this from our human perspective, it seems that persevering in our decision is very difficult. For twelve years, God has been giving us everyday strength to do so and mutual love without carnal experiences.

Jakub (54)


The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in September 2020.

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