Monday 12 September 2022

Does God not want me to love her?

Young Reginald called at Father Ignatius’ office as arranged. He was a little nervous as he announced, “Father, I wish to get married!”

“Oh …” replied the priest hesitating for an instant, “You’re getting married. Congratulations. I wondered why you rang yesterday asking for an urgent meeting. I’ll get you some leaflets about the Marriage Encounter weekend. It will be held at the Monastery at the edge of town. It starts on a Friday afternoon all the way to Sunday afternoon and it is free. It is for couples intending to get married and there are various talks and discussions about the commitments we take on when we take this big step in life.”

Reginald smiled weakly and said nothing. The priest continued for something to say and to encourage the nervous young man to speak.

“Who is the young lady? How come you did not bring her with you?”

“She does not come to this church!” replied Reginald.

“Oh … she’s from a different denomination?” asked Father Ignatius, “that’s not a great problem. Many Catholics marry Christians from other denominations … other religions too. There are some things I’ll have to explain to both of you when we next meet!”

“No Father,” interrupted Reginald “she is not of any denomination or religion. She does not believe … I mean … she says there is no God!”

“I understand,” said Father Ignatius in his calm manner which he had honed over the years in order to defuse tense situations, “and how do you feel about that?”

“She’s not a bad person really …” said the young man, “she just says that there is no God. She doesn’t believe in anything.”

“Yes, I can see she is not a bad person,” smiled the priest to ease the tension, “you would not want to marry a bad person would you? But do you see the situation this creates? Both of you would be standing at the altar in front of God to make your vows, and one of you does not believe He exists!”

Reginald said nothing.

“And as you go on into married life, and you’re blessed with children, how do you intend to bring them up?” asked Father Ignatius tentatively.

“Oh … Helen believes that children should make up their own minds when they grow up what religion they should follow or whether there is a God at all,” the man replied without hesitation, “children should not be indoctrinated in any faith or belief!”

The priest noted that the young man’s response had been direct and very well-rehearsed; but he did not react to it.

“I have known you since you were a baby baptised at this very church,” he said calmly, “do you think you have been indoctrinated in any way?”

The man shrugged his shoulders and said nothing.

“Let me ask you something,” Father Ignatius went on, “let us imagine you had been brought up just like Helen suggested. Without any teaching or knowledge of God. Would you today have been a Christian?”

“I don’t know …” Reginald replied looking downwards.

“In that case it is a good thing you met Helen and got to know her,” Father Ignatius said, “because she has made you think about your own faith. She has made you question what you truly believe and why.

“As children grow up, they need guidance from their parents, and other adults. They need to be taught right from wrong, how to behave towards others, different values and morals, and how to be a good citizen and a member of society. It isn’t just religion that needs to be taught or not; but many different aspects of life. If we don’t teach religion, as Helen suggests, then we might as well not teach other things like good behaviour, the rule of law, and let youngsters make up their own minds when they grow up as to how they live and behave. We should not indoctrinate them in anything.”

“Does God not want me to love her?” mumbled Reginald.

“Of course he does,” said the priest, “you fell in love with Helen and that’s a good thing. You both love each other and wish to marry, that’s why you’re here. Many people don’t even bother to get married and just live together.

“What I am asking you to consider Reginald is two things primarily.

“First of all, I think you should question your own faith and beliefs. How truly do you believe in God? Now that you are an adult and can make up your own mind as Helen suggests, you need to examine your own beliefs and on what basis you hold these beliefs.

“On that first step, rests the answer to your situation. No one is telling you not to love Helen. Often people are attracted to each other and fall deeply in love. But for that relationship to last it should be based on some solid foundations. Both should agree on certain things as they go through life together. Why they’re getting married, whether they will both work or not, whether they’ll have children, what beliefs and values and standards are important and vital enough to impart to their children … and so on.

“I’m not sure how many of these things you have discussed with Helen; or whether you’d be happy for any children you have not to be raised in the faith.

“As I said, you need to think about your own beliefs first and move on from there. I’ll always be here to help you and Helen if you wish. Father Donald too can help. He runs the Christian Encounter sessions for people wishing to know more about being Christians.

“Why don’t you discuss all this with Helen and let me know what you decide. She is welcome to come along with you if you wish.”


  1. ...I proposed to my Sweetie 55 years ago, it was the right thing to do then and it still is today.

    1. Congratulations, Tom. Happy Anniversary and wishing you many more full of joy, good health and all you desire.

      God bless you both.

  2. This is a VERY important topic. Well approached by our Father I. This is a 'thinker' , also a tough subject in any denomination. Good stuff, great approach....

    1. Thank you Jack. Yes, it is very important to clarify before marriage one's differences in religion, and what we truly believe, and how we will bring up any children we may have. Many enter marriage as if it is a game.

      God bless you and Sherry.

  3. What a dilemma! And just the thought of children being brought up 'free range' is enormously troubling. (Yet, there are couples nowadays who believe in that very thing.) Will there be a sequel to Reginald and Helen's story?

    1. Thank you Mevely. I had not planned a sequel to this; but after a lot of research, there will be a follow-up story concluding this dilemma.

      Thank you for your support.

      God bless.

  4. Maybe God brought them together so she can come to know God through him. It happened in my life. : )

    1. What a beautiful thing that happened in your life.

      God bless you and your family always, Happyone.

  5. Love this, Victor! Once again, Fr. Ignatius' down to earth wisdom and God-inspired knowledge get the message across in a caring and sensible way.

    1. Many thanx Martha. I am so glad and honoured that you enjoyed this short story. Thank you for supporting my writings.

      God bless you and yours.

  6. It's sad, but sometimes love is not enough. The emotion, i mean. True love, wanting what is best for the other even if it's not always best for yourself, that's enough. In this case, he might need to love her enough to let her go.

    1. I think I understand what you are saying, Mimi. Let her go ... but then, see Happyone's comment above. In her case the non-Christian became a Christian as a result.

      God bless.

  7. Dearest Victor,
    What a grand subject!
    Guess the 'pushing–off–the–table' of religion is the culprit of all immorality we see in the daily news nowadays. Crime is so high and punishments are very soft punishment; so the good people suffer.
    That is all the direct result of no longer allowing God into schools, into many homes and so on.
    You don’t have faith—you don’t have morality
    You don’t have morality—you don’t have democracy or in this case a sound marriage...

    1. It seems trendy these days to announce that you do not believe in God. We see it all the time on TV and radio over here. Many celebrities and people in the public eye like politicians, sportsmen, comedians and so on announcing in conversation they don't believe in God. It is of course their prerogative to believe what they want; but by going out of their way to announce it these celebrity atheists are encouraging those more vulnerable to trends to follow their example.

      God bless, Mariette.

    2. We just met a Dutch female writer and she also declares openly that she is not religious. They want to look cool in the eyes of the younger generation. One day they pay dearly for such statements in which they 'encourage' those more vulnerable as you say!

    3. I am so sorry when I hear news like this, Mariette. Of course, people are free to have their own views on religion or other subjects. I have known many nice people who are non-believers. What I feel is wrong is when influencers in society like celebrities and people with large followings use their privileged position to pass on their views onto others. Like in the UK - singers and comedians and others who come on TV and mock the belief in God. Their job is to sing, or do what their profession is: not to tell others that God does not exist.

      God bless always.



God bless you.