About and against
I heard it once before that the use of prepositions has an important bearing in the mastery of any language.
Indeed, the common expressions we encounter everyday usually involve prepositional phrases.
And as prepositions inherently capture modification or predication, they add clarity and sense of meaning.
For example, the use of the preposition “about” inherently points out a positive sense.
While on the other hand, that of the preposition “against” denotes negativity.
In today’s gospel reading (Mark 10:2-12, the short version, and 10:2-16 as the longer version) — to make sense of this simple yet significant difference — one can rightly say that Jesus’ teaching is all “about” marriage and “against” divorce.
It is all about marriage, yes, but not about divorce.
For if it is about divorce, then why did Jesus emphatically say, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mark 10:9)?
The Church does follow this teaching and upholds what it signifies.
However, there are certain cases and conditions that the Church considers as commendable.
And here, we are talking about annulment, but never divorce.
While divorce technically and literally breaks and cuts the union between husband and wife, annulment goes back painfully to establishing that there was no union established or contracted from the very start. And this one is not an easy thing to achieve.
Adding a more significant angle to such a case are the children born within the confines of marriage, for they, too, bear the consequences of such a separation, whether divorce or annulment.
This is precisely the anchorage emphasized in the longer version of the gospel reading.
This is the real grain and gist behind a very significant social issue.
And in a way, this is the same reason why the Church holds fast to the value of marriage as Christ the Lord has taught and upheld.
In the manner we live our lives, profess our Christian faith, and value truth, we have to be aware most of the time as well, what are the unchangeable truths, the non-negotiables and the negotiables.
Getting through all the issues around us is as good as grounding ourselves by painfully yet safely understanding and minding the most significant truths about us and about our faith, although these are hard ones to hurdle. And this is praiseworthy, rather than just jumping to the easy way out.
After all, our faith-life is all “about” what we can benefit from it as we faithfully understand and adhere to the unchangeable truths by combing through from the edges to the rims of reality and experience.
Never “against” it.
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