My Sister, My Bride: Preface

Although initially not intended, by the time the first edition of My Sister, My Bride had been published, it was apparent that a second edition would be necessary. This first edition served more as a market survey, if you will, to test reception among Roman Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, and the Christians of the particular Churches resulting from the Union of Brest (i.e. Eastern Catholics). While reception was quite positive among Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, reception was mixed among Roman Catholics. This mixed reception consisted mainly of silence with some positive response.

The first edition received a revision two months after its initial release, which included additional material as well as some corrections. This was followed by the present revision around a year later. This third revision was released while work on the second edition was well underway, though more slowly than had been anticipated.

The reason for this third revision to the first edition before completion of the second edition is twofold. It did not seem possible to take the first edition off of the market before the second edition was released, but it seemed important to somehow mark this first edition as only a preliminary publication of a fuller work. Since the best way to do this was to make an addition to the book’s text, thus requiring a revised printing, it seemed good to make some corrections and additions to the first edition so that it could better stand on its own. These additions are not new, but were simply not included until this revision.

A theological poem has been included in anticipation of the section of theology and theological speculation that will be included in the second edition. This poem, Theosis, was written before work on the first edition had begun and contains the theological basis upon which I understand marriage, the catholic Faith, and my very life.

A greatly revised and shortened description of a few relevant experiences in my life has also been included to serve as an explanation of what led me to the knowledge that allowed me to write this book. It also serves as a real life example, as opposed to the fictitious example contained within the main section of the book, demonstrating the necessity of reforms in a number of areas.

God willing, the second edition, to which belongs the following draft for a preface, will eventually be released. Until then, this third revision of the first edition will serve to suggest that an unusual interpretation of Matthew 5:32 may not only resolve some problems regarding annulments in the Catholic Church, it may help facilitate full visible union of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Preface to the 2nd Edition (Draft)

The first question someone may ask, particularly if he is highly educated, when looking at this book is: who is this common idiot who writes with such boldness?

I admit that I do not have any formal education in anything other than electronics and computers, aside from one critical thinking philosophy course and being a music school drop out. However, I’ve been with Jesus.

A few months before I was fully initiated into the Catholic Church, I began attending Mass during lunch on Thursdays at a Polish parish across the street from where I was studying computers. I understood almost none of the words because it was all in Polish, but I was with Jesus. After I had graduated, I was fortunate to gain employment in an office building that was only two blocks from my cathedral. After reading the Bible, praying my morning prayers, giving my sleeping wife and children a blessing and a kiss, and commuting to my office, I would spend around twenty minutes in Eucharistic Adoration before assisting at Mass everyday before I started my work. That is, except for a couple of days a week when that twenty minutes was cut short because I had to prepare to serve at the altar, or during Lent when Mass was moved from the morning to five minutes after noon, at which I served at the altar everyday and with the archbishop on Holy Thursday.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, at the end of the summer during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, I was allowed to begin living an almost semi-monastic life. Everyday I would spend at least an hour in Eucharistic Adoration, a half hour to over an hour reading the Bible, a half hour to over an hour reading other spiritual books, and praying between five to seven of the canonical hours in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours (i.e. the three major hours, one to all three of the daytime hours, and Compline), among other daily prayers and ascetic practices, including frequent Confession and spiritual direction by a priest. I was able to do this, even during the three months I spent a little over five hours everyday visiting my wife in the hospital, until I became ill with cancer twelve years later.

While I have read a little on the subject of theology, it has been my time in prayer that has enlightened me concerning things of God. Likewise, it has been my time with my wife that has enlightened me concerning things of her. Just as I could never truly love and know my wife by simply reading about her, I could never truly love and know theology by simply reading about God.

As Evagrius of Pontus said, “If you are a theologian, you will pray truly. And if you pray truly, you are a theologian.”

Far too many professional theologians are merely academics who spend little, if any, time in true prayer. Appearances may be deceiving as hours of self absorbed contemplation or neurotic fear will do nothing but increase one’s absorption into one’s self or a false god who is not Love. Likewise, a self-absorbed husband or a self-absorbed wife, or one who is afraid of his or her spouse, will never truly love and know her or him.

Doubting myself has never been a problem for me. I find it very easy to doubt myself and defer to someone else. This has, unfortunately, often been to the detriment of both myself and those I love. Nevertheless, it has allowed me to investigate possibilities that suggest I might be mistaken until the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that I am correct. That is, of course, unless I am wrong, but investigating that very possibility makes it much easier to correct myself.

This has sometimes been misinterpreted to give the impression that I hold an opinion that I do not hold or an opinion that is contrary to the truth, when in fact I am suspending my final conclusion until more certainty is had. However, even after gaining almost certain certainty, I would defer to someOne Who would know better than me or those who speak on His behalf. It has been my experience that those who refuse to even consider the possibility that they may be wrong are actually very insecure in what they believe to be true.

The first section of this book is an improved version of the first edition with added chapters. The middle section contains some theology and theological speculation. This section of theology may be entirely useless since I am an idiot and not an academic, but this is doubtful. I will leave the determining of its usefulness to those with some education and credentials. The final section describes some of my life’s experiences that are relevant to the subjects of this book.

If nothing else, the first section frankly explains the crisis concerning marriage in the Catholic Church today. It also makes clear some of the problems concerning ecumenism, as well as the acceptance of surreptitious eugenic thought and the abandonment of liturgical traditions among many Catholics, not to mention a number of other side issues. The answers to all of these controversies and problems lie in the teachings of the many saints who have gone before us and the example of the subsequent suffering produced by those who have not followed.
My one possibly unique contribution is an unusual interpretation of Matthew 5:32, which I did not gain until just a few months before I began writing the first edition of this book. Until then, my conclusions concerning second marriages were much like those of St. Basil the Great. These conclusions made me uncomfortable due to my correspondence with Lady Alice von Hildebrand and my respect for her late husband, and due to having St. Thomas More as my patron saint as a Secular Franciscan. It was a relief to be able to write on this subject without implying anything negative concerning their marriages.

The most in-depth explanation on the particular aspect of Matthew 5:32 that I focus on was in The Jerome Biblical Commentary published in 1968: “the saying sounds quaint, to say the least; the divorced wife commits adultery unless she has already committed adultery.” It must be remembered, however, that I am an idiot and not an academic, so there may be a number of much more learned persons who could better expound upon the true meaning of this verse. However, I have yet to find them and nobody has pointed them out to me. In the words of Martyr Djan Darada to the question of if I understand what I am reading, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”

There may be much in this book to which you agree, but there may be much in this book to which you disagree. Neither are a problem for me, nor is any offence taken in logical and valid arguments against what I have written. I am not the least bit offended if you disagree with everything in this book as that is your free choice, but I ask that you reciprocate the same respect and love me as a friend. I welcome all constructive criticisms in a true spirit of love so that I can better understand these most important aspects of life.

There are persons who have legitimate authority to correct me and, as mentioned above, if I am wrong on any point, I eagerly await correction accompanied by the truth concerning these issues. If you are not one of these persons, any attempt to correct me would be a demonstration of grave arrogance and disrespect. If I have erred in any way, I trust that the full truth will eventually be expressed. I know that even if an Angelic Doctor writes opinions so erroneous that they would eventually be considered heresy, God will provide a Subtle Doctor to correct the errors of the common master in philosophy and theology.

I am under no obligation to discuss religious matters with anyone who appears to be hostile to my religious beliefs. As I say before I receive Our Psychiatrist (Ο Ἰατρός τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν), Who is the Pharmaceutic of Immortality (φάρμακον ἀθανασίας): “I will not tell the mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas…” It is enough that I simply say that I am a Christian.
My religious liberties are currently protected by civil law where I presently reside. Thus, I am free to conform every aspect of my life according to the Gospel of Love. There is no need for me to respond to any bigoted attacks containing ad hominem, straw man, or any other logical fallacy. The failure to love in such attacks is itself my counter-argument. If my religious liberties are ever taken away, I will freely submit to martyrdom rather then deny Love.

There are many persons who should be thanked and are responsible for this book being written, but I cannot mention them all. One person has been so important that there is a love letter to her in the first few pages of this book. There are three other persons whom I owe a great debt of gratitude in possibly saving her life and, at the very least, helping me make sure she continues to remember me, our children, and most of our life together. Out of the very large international community of psychiatric survivors, from whence I met these three friends, I would also like to specifically thank another brave person who helped me through a very difficult night. Her incredible way of surviving trauma and abuse enticed me to explore some scientific documentation that, when viewed from the perspective of Christian anthropology, demonstrates the power of the human psyche (i.e. the immaterial and immortal soul), which explains neuroplasticity and the placebo response.

I will conclude with the words of a holy man of prayer, albeit the English translation of the deacon’s wife. When a Russian Orthodox bishop, who has been very kind to me, accepted an early revision of the first edition of this book, after blessing me and my work, he said, “In heaven, we are all one Church. And on earth, we do what we can to get together as much as possible.”