A Rare Treasure

When I was in high school, my best friend’s dad used to tell the boys, “There are girls you date and there are girls you marry. Never get the two confused.” It’s a pretty funny statement that rings very true. The woman worthy of marriage is hard to find, she is a rare treasure. The girls you date, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. There are plenty of those fish in the sea. I don’t think most of us think like this in our relationships. A woman of worth does not sleep with her boyfriends. A woman of worth dresses with modesty. A woman of worth, finds that worth in Jesus, not her dad, the culture, or her boyfriend. Do you see your worth through the eyes of God?

We, as women of faith desiring marriage, should conduct ourselves accordingly. Later we will see this woman who has worth beyond jewels is wise, compassionate, and steadfast. During this blessed time of singleness we should grow in virtue, diligence, and develop in our relationship with the Lord. To Christ, your worth is already beyond jewels, so throughout the next few weeks, let’s start viewing ourselves the same way. When we can see how Jesus sees we will live in a way that honors him and the people around us.

  1. Are you a diamond in the rough?
  2. Are you the kind of girl to date or marry?
  3. How can you grow in your relationship with Jesus and in virtue to prepare yourself for marriage?

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The Glue

During the consecration at Mass this morning, the Lord sparked a thought in my head: He is the glue in a marriage. I’ve seen pictures and posts online about godly marriages having Christ at the center. I knew this was a good thing, what should be the goal of all marriages. If Jesus is supposed to be the center of our lives, then of course he should be the center of the marriage. But today he spoke to my heart. He isn’t supposed to just be the center, he’s the glue.

It is through Christ that our relationships are successful. We are incapable of the true, deep, authentic love that is required in marriage while we are in our fallen state. But Jesus shares his love with us and through us. It is only in him that spouses are capable of the complete self-sacrifice that he displayed for us on the cross. The example is a vital component for teaching us to love, but the fullness of that love is found in Eucharist.

Jesus didn’t just die on the cross 2,000 years ago. He makes present for us that sacrifice at every Mass. I wonder how often couples who receive communion regularly get divorced. The Blessed Sacrament is the glue in our marriages. It is in it that we see love, sacrifice, joy, and peace. Frequent reception of Holy Communion should be at the heart of our relationships. We receive the graces necessary to live like Jesus when we receive him sacramentally.

I have noticed that some couples put other things between them. A lot put the kids in the middle. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is, eventually the kids grow up  and if the only thing Mom and Dad have connected on over the past 20 years is the children, then they’re going to have some trouble when the birds fly the nest. Some put TV, work, or the house in the center of their marriages but this probably leads to a lot of strife. Jesus is the only thing that should be between a husband and his wife. Only Jesus can pull them closer to one another rather than drive a wedge. Jesus will help couples move past their struggles while everything else will cover up, at best. Eucharist is like spiritual medicine, not just for our souls, but also for our relationships.

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The Sins of My Mother

I found this verse spoke to my heart very strongly recently and I’ve been rolling it over in my head for awhile. One of my greatest challenges is trust. Trusting God, trusting family, trusting friends–trusting everyone. I live in pretty constant anxiety because I can’t trust. Living one’s life with the fear of someone hurting you or taking advantage of you can have a devastating impact on quality of life. I find myself incapable of sharing my heart fully with anyone, causing me to feel alone, isolated, and misunderstood. And since I have a tough time trusting God, it makes it hard to have hope.

My mother is the one that taught me not to trust anyone. My dad a little bit, but mostly my mom. She watches far too much Law and Order and Lifetime Movie Network. I remember her coming into my room at night when I was young to tell me all the awful things people do to other people on he shows: mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse. She often told me never to trust a police officer, a fireman, a religious leader, a teacher, a doctor. No one can be trusted. A couple months ago my brother asked her if there was anyone in the world she trusts and she said no. My parents have been married for 30 years, my aunt and uncle are around, and my grandmother is still alive. But even with all that family and childhood friends, there is no one in the world she trusts.

One of the greatest challenges with this is my mom doesn’t even care. I’ve tried talking to her about it and she says, “I didn’t want you to be afraid, I want you to be aware,” “Well you know you have a problem, you fix it,” “I managed to get married and live a normal life, if you want it bad enough, you’ll figure it out.” But I have found it to be very difficult trying to sort out my loneliness alone. I really do want to have friends and relationships, but I’m afraid and insecure.

I often like to finish my blog posts with a  bow of completion, but that’s inauthentic. I haven’t figured out this problem yet. If you have any recommendations on how to move forward in my life, please let me know.

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Show Me Your Friends, I’ll Show You Your Future

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My spiritual journey started when I was in college. I observed people drinking, smoking weed, and having sex. I reached out to a Christian friend of mine that basically told me I need Jesus. That was the jumping off point that led me to the Church.

Recently I had been spending time with a nice young man. He is kind, compassionate, and sensitive. Our time together was precious to me because he was always so gentle and understanding, but also challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. Like most young women, I tried to take part in his life and connect with his social group. Now that the Lord has called the two of us to part ways, I’ve realized when the young man and his friends were together, they are like the friends I had in college.

In my opinion, drinking to drunkenness is a waste of time and engaging in erroneous bedroom activities is inconsiderate of one’s future spouse. I want to grow spiritually, intellectually, and physically through dialogue, books, movies, hikes, trips to museums and the theatre. These were not the folks for that; not to say they never did any of those things, it’s just what they did most of the time.

I am someone who wants to be married and have a family. I often look to the future (more than I should), and it impacts the choices I make in the present. I like to be around people that understand the long term implications of the decisions they make rather than only temporary distractions or satisfactions. I would like to be around people who know how to have healthy, productive fun most of the time. I am conscious of saying, “most of the time,” because I know people like to celebrate birthdays, holidays, bachelor parties, etc.

These behaviors were not fun or cool to me when I was 18, they aren’t fun or cool to me at 24. Although our time alone was spent doing things I enjoyed like hearing stories of his travels, walking in the woods with his dog, or going bowling, when he moved in with a friend, the chance of him partaking in activities that I didn’t enjoy, went up.

Now, I don’t think this was the reason we stopped spending time together, but hindsight is 20/20. I pray for him and his friends, that each of them lead happy, healthy, peaceful lives. I want nothing but the best for each of them, but I don’t think we are meant to be the best of friends. I don’t know what the future holds for any of us, but I want to work toward my dreams of traveling and goals of having a family. To do that, I must surround myself with people who feel the same way.

Have a sparkly day!

Safe With Me

For the past few months I’ve been seeing someone. Like all super cool millennials, we never identified what we were. I certainly got more attached than I should have, we are unevenly yoked. Every time we spent time together, I prayed our time together would be focused on good things, not sinful things. I am tremendously grateful to the Lord for keeping us from sinning against our own bodies.

One day I went into contemplative prayer about this young man. The Lord said to me, He is safe with you. It is hard for me know exactly what he meant, but I think about it a lot, especially since the young man and I have stopped seeing each other. I think I am/was close to true Christian love for him, closer than I’ve been to anyone else. To love someone is for them to be safe with you. So I thought I’d share some practical things about living in Christian love:

  1. I will pray for him. The definition of love is to will the highest good for another person. The highest good for all of us is perfect union with the one who created us. Above all other things I want for and from him, I wish he becomes the man God has made him to be and to develop a relationship with our Lord.
  2. I will keep his secretes. Sharing your heart with another person is far from easy. Trust is one of the most difficult and complicated aspects of human relationships. I am grateful he felt safe enough with me to share things with me. I will hold those secrets in my heart, just as I hold my own.
  3. I respect him. Although I don’t agree with everything he does, and there are times my selfish desires get the better of me, I will respect him. God loves us truly and part of that love is respect for us and the freedom to make our own choices. This is the reason bad things happen, the freewill of people. Well that’s a whole other post. Back to the point, I respect him and his choices, even if those choices are not my ideal scenario.
  4. I will tell him the truth. Love isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, contrary to what Hallmark movies and RomComs want us to think. There are times when the person we love makes poor choices or hurts our feelings. For this, I will tell him when he is wrong. We can only be held accountable for the things we know. If he doesn’t know how his choices can impact another person, he is likely to hurt someone else in the same way. Therefore, I will tell him when he is wrong. Whether or not he listens, is another story and goes to point number three.
  5. I will defend him. If I’m honest, he’s a pain in the butt sometimes. But contrary to what he wants people to think, he’s not a bad person. Many people say negative things about him  (including myself), but not anymore. I will defend him against anyone who says an ill, misinformed word against him. I know he is a truly beautiful person inside and out.

I am only human and there are times when my selfish desires to be with him get in the way of Christian love. Luckily, God gives me the grace to love truly and completely. When my moments of weakness arise, I pray and remember these things that make us capable of love.

Christian Yogi

For the past year or so I have been on a journey of health and fitness. I looked at myself in the mirror one day and realized I was not treating my body with the level of respect it deserves, being a masterpiece of the Father, temple of the Holy Spirit, and worth the Son’s death on a cross. So I began watching what I eat and going to the gym regularly. I have definitely seen some improvements, and I think at the end of time, when I have to give my accounting for what I have done with God’s resources, I hope he finds me a good steward of my body. But this post isn’t really about my entire fitness story, it is about a relatively new aspect of my fitness journey: yoga. I know you are probably thinking, “Can Catholics do yoga?” Well I haven’t read anything that says no, I’ve checked the Scriptures, Catechism, and Vatican writings. I haven’t found anything that says a Catholic cannot do yoga. What I have found is a quote from Pope Francis saying that yoga, among other things, does not lead us to God. My question for that statement is, does my morning commute lead me to God?

It is my opinion, that you get what you put into things. If I spend my morning commute praying a Rosary, contemplating that days readings, or doing an examination of conscience, then I have just baptized my morning commute. I’ve turned it from something dead and uneventful, and turned it into a spiritual expression and devotion to God. In the same way, yoga practiced without Christ in one’s heart, is a waste of an hour. I use the word baptize purposefully. We are all dead to sin before we are baptized. But by God’s grace we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and then are able to draw into deeper relationship with our Father in Heaven. Does that mean we were not touched by God before we were baptized? No, all things in existence only exist because God allows it to. God is omnipotent and omnipresent, EVERYTHING is touched by God. We just have to find him.

That is a Catholic practice, finding God in all people and circumstances. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor and the Church teaches the way we do that is by seeing that our neighbor is also made in the image of God. The Church is against the death penalty no matter how heinous the crime, because who are we to deny someone the opportunity of repentance and reconciliation? Because of this, I baptize my yoga practice. Where Buddhist yogis use “om” as a mantra, being the sound that started the universe, I have “Jesus, I trust in you,” the words of St. Faustina. Where Hindu yogis meditate to clear their mind, I meditate to drill down on the great m
ysteries of our faith like the incarnation.

I never want to avoid something because someone says it isn’t from God, I’d rather find God in it. I love Harry Potter, sorcery is strongly against all Christian teachings. Yet I watch it because I find my Lord in a young man willing to sacrifice himself for the good of his friends. Rather than locking ourselves in our beautiful stained-glass towers, maybe we should see what other people are doing and show them how Christ has been trying to touch them through it. God is everywhere, including yoga, we just have to find him.

3 Components of Courtship: God

The purpose of a courtship is to determine if the Lord is calling two people into the vocation of marriage with one another. So obviously, God has to be at the center of the relationship. Keeping the Lord at the heart of your courtship allows for greater discernment, trust, and appreciation for the other person. If Jesus is at the center of your life, and he is at the center of a young man’s life, then Christ will also be in the center of your courtship, and more importantly at the center of a marriage. Relationships and marriages today are tough to maintain and only by the grace of God can lasting marriages be made. You both need to know that your strength comes form the Lord and that it is he who brings two people together.
So what exactly does this look like in a courtship? Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith so attending Mass together would be a good opportunity to allow Christ into the heart of your relationship. Sitting next to each other and enjoying the Sacrifice of the Mass can bring two people together spiritually in a way that nothing else can. Not to mention, you can also discuss Father’s homily on your next date. Holy hours are also a great way to place Eucharist at the center of your life. Although, there is no talking in Chapel, there is an intimacy to be shared between the two of you and the Lord in quiet prayer.
Try going to church events together and reading spiritual books. These events can draw you guys into deep conversation about how the Lord is working in your lives as individuals and as a couple. Bible study I think is another great way to connect hearts. I have written a courtship bible study for you guys to get to know one another better. The link is below. Studying God’s word can reveal to both of you the importance God puts on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
You need to pray separately, with your families, and as a couple. Always remember that it is God who brings two people together, not family, not mutual friends, not common interest, Christ alone. And by his grace, the two of you will be able to discern his will in your lives and, if it is in his will, for the two of you to be together for the rest of your lives.

 

In the comments below, let me know what you think about courtship and God. Also, subscribe because tomorrow I will be hosting a linkup for all you bloggers. Thanks for stopping by and have a sparkly day!