Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monica: A Love Story

Monica married early in life. Rather she was given in marriage early in life. Her husband, a brutal and dissolute man, regularly demeaned her and committed infidelity. Monica committed to prayer continually for this man. Her wayward husband eventually became a Christian, reaching salvation, but died shortly thereafter, leaving their three children who were licentious as well. From youth, the eldest stole fruit for the sheer ephemeral thrill of sin. He went on to have a child out of wedlock and became an adherent of Manichaeism, a gnostic heresy. She committed to prayer for him as she had done with her faithless husband. Years later, he became a Christian, like his father. Though he did not die shortly after. He went on to become one of the most well known Early Church Fathers. City of God and Confessions being among the most reputable of his works, Augustine of Hippo and his writings are still studied by serious Christian thinkers and theologians to this day. Augustine, a product of an arranged, abusive and most unhappy marriage, was shaped and no doubt influenced by the example his mother had shown him of Christ's love.

Had Monica lived in 21st Century America, would she have been advised to stay with her faithless husband? I think we know the answer to that question. Did she deserve better? Absolutely. Does Christ deserve better? Yes. We are not worthy, yet He loves us the same. Did her husband love her like Christ loves the Church? No. Did she love him like Christ loves the Church? Yes! Her love for him is a manifestation of true love. It is the kind of love that Christ shows us. Christ is faithful to the faithless and He loves the unlovable. Christ loved us even when we were sinners. He loved us when we spat on Him and nailed Him to the cross. She loved when there was no earthly reason to love, but Christ showed us how to love truly. Monica understood this and followed The Divine Exemplar. And this example was no doubt a powerful witness to her own children. The spiritual fruit of which is evidenced in life and work of Augustine.

"From my tenderest infancy, I had in a manner sucked with my mother's milk that name of my Saviour, Thy Son; I kept it in the recesses of my heart; and all that presented itself to me without that Divine Name, though it might be elegant, well written, and even replete with truth, did not altogether carry me away." (Confessions, I, iv)

Here we see the promise of our Lord, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). Through obedience, the Holy Spirit implemented His glorious and transforming power, which is able to penetrate and change the hearts of the hardened brute and the hedonistic intellectual. Monica, believing this, and devoting her ways and prayer to God, demonstrated true love. What if we who claim that Divine Name exercised such love to the unlovable and the enrichment of marriages and godly children that would accompany? The Kingdom indistinguishable and abhorrent becomes vivid and attractive. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34-35)


  1. No-Fault Divorce is Institutionalized Evil

    Constitutional and family law attorney J. Shelby Sharpe says, “No-fault divorce is a national catastrophe. Anything which overturns the order or systems of things whereby families are destroyed and the whole of society adversely affected is by definition a catastrophe.”

    No-fault divorce is much more than just divorce; it is a legal tyranny that denies the fundamental right of due process to a defendant. Prior to no-fault divorce, the party seeking divorce (plaintiff) was required, by law, to demonstrate cause on the part of the other party (defendant) prior to dissolving the marriage, dividing the family’s assets, and destroying the two-parent structure essential for children.

    These measures provided strong legal protections—primarily to women and children who might otherwise find themselves abandoned by husbands and fathers who simply sought “their own desires.”

    Under the system prior to no-fault divorce, the state was limited in its actions and intrusion into the private affairs of the family except in those cases in which one of the parties committed a legally recognized offense against the other. In the wake of no-fault divorce, the state has been given unprecedented access into and unconstitutional authority over what was previously sacrosanct: the family.

    Historically, the law regarded the family as a preserve of privacy that was largely off-limits to the government. It was what Supreme Court Justice Byron White (1962–1993) called the “realm of family life, which the state cannot enter.”

    What is most shocking about no-fault divorce is the inherent unconstitutionality of it all, a direct violation of human rights. A retired circuit court judge writes, “To the characterization of no-fault divorce laws as both ungodly and inhumane I would add unconstitutional as well.” Attorney J. Shelby Sharpe said he was confident that if a case involving no-fault divorce were ever brought before the U.S. Supreme Court it would no doubt be ruled unconstitutional and no-fault divorce abolished!

    One of our most fundamental protections secured by the U.S. Constitution is the right to due process, which secures the right of an individual to be heard regarding issues of life, liberty, or property. This means that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, or of any right granted him by statute, unless the matter involved is first adjudicated or ruled against him at trial.

  2. No-fault divorce completely usurps the defendant’s constitutional right to due process.

    In the case of Judith Brumbaugh--author of "Judge, Please Don’t Strike That Gavel on My Marriage"--her husband of twenty years decided that he no longer wanted to be married and under the no-fault procedure he was able to file for divorce claiming that their marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

    Judith contested this claim, however the no-fault procedure ultimately gave her husband and the court the right to deny her due process. She was, in essence, charged with a crime, found guilty, and sentenced without ever being heard. The marriage was unilaterally dissolved.

    Judith lost her home, her children, and her husband; she was left nearly destitute from legal expenses and utterly without recourse—which is legally impossible in every other contractual obligation in this country!

    And yet in the most important contractual obligation in society, under no-fault divorce the plaintiff is able to break his or her contractual obligation without the right of due process being given to the other party in the contract. The defendant’s life can be ruined, her liberty restrained in countless ways, and her property taken away by the courts.

    This is a travesty of justice that affects more than a million families each and every year, with an annual related cost to taxpayers of more than $48 billion! This cost doesn’t even begin to consider the secondary societal effects of family dissolution upon crime rates, welfare rolls, and the emotional and psychological effects upon the children of divorce.

    No-fault divorce has created an easy divorce culture, which, according to Maggie Gallagher, an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values and a nationally syndicated columnist, “demotes marriage from a binding relation into something best described as cohabitation with insurance benefits.”

    America’s divorce rate is the world’s highest because the law permits one partner to unilaterally leave a marriage with no allegations whatsoever! What was begun by two people willingly is terminated by one person against the will of the other spouse in 80% of cases!

    It is called “No Fault Divorce,” because no fault need be alleged to get the divorce. No-fault divorce is a social and legal atrocity that needs to be abolished both for the sake of families and their children.