The news that Rome is thinking of accepting the nomination of Bishops put forward by the Chinese Government should have sent me into a seething rage. But I cannot summon up an emotional response. It isn't that I don't care. I care deeply. I have and always will support the Underground Church in China. I do not think it is wise of Rome to do what it is thinking of doing. But I've got beyond feeling pain now about anything that happens in the Church.
I feel like Michal, King David's first wife watching him through a window as he cavorts near naked before the Ark of the Covenant, impressing the slave girls but not impressing her much. She thinks his behaviour is inappropriate, she thinks it doesn't honour God as God ought to be honoured, but he does. Many years ago, Michal had loved David, loved him so much that she risked her life to save him. She helped him escape from the murderous intent of her father, Saul, sacrificing any future happiness they may have had together to save his life. Saul then married her off to another man, and now Saul is dead, David has reclaimed her (more to make a legal point than out of love), leaving her poor husband heartbroke.
So there she is looking at the man she loved so much and wondering what he has become. She is coldly repulsed by him. There will never be conjugal relations between them, though the marriage remains.
And this is the point; neither David or Michal have broken the First Commandment, there is no lack of love of God from either of them. But there is unbridgeable gap between them as to how to go about loving God. They literally can no longer 'make love' together. Neither is wrong.
So how does the story unfold? David is blessed by God and promised unfathomable greatness in his descendants, Christ will be born of his line. Michal fades into obscurity, probably helping to look after David's many offspring from his other wives and concubines. David will go on to commit two great sins. One, a sin of middle age, staying at home and not fighting; becoming lazy and lustful and going after Bathsheba and having her husband murdered. One a sin of old age; surveying what he considers to be his prosperity and taking a census rather than properly attributing it all to God and belonging to God.
Michal's life may very well be the more blameless of the two. Only God knows which of them loved Him the most, but I suspect it was David. The love of God of a repentant sinner is a work of the utmost glory.
God has a place for both of them in His heart. And it is the spiritual fecundity that comes from our love of God that matters not the estrangements in our human relationships. It is much of the human manifestation of the Church that I feel estranged from not its supernatural nature, and I have to keep reminding myself of this fact and somehow keep 'loving my neighbour'.