India: Amoris Laetitia, a 'gift' for the difficulties of mixed pairs
Lynette and Atiq are married since 2011. They told their story at the National Symposium in Mumbai. The Christian woman had divorced her previous husband. Atiq was a Muslim, but he "could not grasp God's love in Islamic prayers." Family pressures; the distance of the communities.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Amoris Laetitia "is a great gift for couples facing challenges and difficulties," affirms Lynette Syed a parishioner of the church of Saint Francis Xavier of Panvel (Maharashtra) to AsiaNews. The woman participated in the National Symposium on "Understanding Amoris Laetitia in the Indian Situation", held at St. Pio X College in Mumbai from October13 to 15.
She spoke of her experience as the wife of a Christian whom she divorced and how she remarried a Muslim man who then converted to Christianity. The pressures she suffered from the family and the Catholic community were enormous. So many sufferings for the lack of a spiritual guide. For this reason, the post-synod apostolic exhortation "supports tenderness and pastoral help to couples in crisis" to help them care for their wounds.
According to Lynette, "with Amoris Laetitia Pope Francis made a great gift to the spouses in crisis, to broken families. [The document testifies] his kindness, love, and above all the understanding of our sufferings."
Marriage, he says, "I was married to a Christian but for various reasons, the relationship soured and marriage broke up. It was a traumatic phase of my life when I had to go through the process of getting a civil divorce. Painful, but my Christian faith supported me. I lived once again a single life, got myself involved especially in the parish ministry to children. And then, in my office, I met a Muslim, Atiq, who changed the course of my life. " His family did not accept the relationship with a woman of a different religion and Lynette was faced with a choice: to convert to Islam as the boyfriend's family wanted, or to break up. "I did not do either," the woman said, "and fortunately I had Atiq's support."
The differences between the families were great, "even for eating habits. I secretly prayed for Atiq at every Mass, but not for his conversion. " At that time, she adds, "nobody guided us. We could not marry in church because I had not yet received an annulment, so we opted for a civil ceremony. From there started the most difficult phase: my work in the parish was stalled, the pastor asked me to step down from all activities, I was denied the sacrament of the Eucharist. " The woman continues: "It was an agony. The children were apiece of my heart! I begged that I could continue with the service, but I was not allowed to. The parishioners looked at us differently. Both of us would return home dejected, tears rolling down in prayers. I was confused, was this my religion of love. My faith in God has been tested several times. "
Meanwhile, love for music and guitar had brought Atiq to the parish choir. It was the melody of hymns to move him. The man says he was a Muslim, "although I never understood the meaning of the prayers. I did it only for fear that something bad could have happened to me if I did not. In me there was more fear than God's love. I felt hunger for God's love, but I could not grasp it with prayers. Meanwhile I grew confused about my life, religion, and the ultimate purpose of my existence." "Then came Lynette," Atiq reports, " My life changed when I happened to attend a retreat, unintentionally. I accompanied a friend who was going for the retreat and something happened there. Those in attendance were asked to raise their hands to heaven, close their eyes and focus only on Jesus, abandon our lives to Him. I felt touched, something had happened in me, tears began to fall down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed by love and joy. "
At that point for Atiq the doubts begin: "Why was I curious about Jesus? I was afraid of being unfaithful to my God. If my God had made me a Muslim, why was I attracted to Jesus? Would I be punished for this? I continued to go to the mosque, but instead of praying the Koran I wanted to recite the Creed and the Rosary. " Atiq confides his emotions with the pastor, who becomes his spiritual guide. "At some point I realized that the best solution to overcoming my religious battle was to give up to God. I said, 'Lord, put me where you want me to be.'" After five years of formation, in 2011 Atiq was baptized and celebrated the Christian wedding with Lynette, who had received her annulment. "Our marriage - they say - was blessed. Now we live together in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. " Even the difficulties of their mixed marriage have slipped and families continue to "adjust themselves and take measurements of each other in every situation". "For couples like ours, Amoris Laetitia is a great help," they conclude.