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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
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Fearing LOVE

Nov 3rd 2013 new
"Love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free. Be more like the man you were made to be." Mumford & Sons

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." 1 John 4:18

This may be one of those "sound of chirping crickets" threads, but it is a topic that weighs heavy on my heart as I have started to make sense of some of the situations I've experienced in dating and just the world in general.

God has truly been gracious to me in teaching me over these years more about what it means to truly LOVE (but I am still learning). I have not taken the conventional route to learning these foundational truths about Him and the human person, but I have learned them nonetheless, as all vocations are ways that God can teach us how to LOVE. But it is up to us (free will) if we will dare to take the risk to learn it. I am convinced that true beatitude can only be achieved by the headlong embrace of LOVE. The reason for this being that GOD IS LOVE. (John's Gospel, 1 John) Any love I give in this world, no matter how imperfect it is, can only have the end result of teaching me more about God - helping me to know His Heart, as well as "seeing as He sees." Two of my favorite Scriptures both illustrate what has been revealed to me about life in this world. The first is, "Not as man sees does God see; man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the HEART." (1 Sam 16:7) The other is one of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall SEE God." (Mt 5) When meditating on these Scriptures, I deepen my understanding that life is not about finding someone to love me (though this would be a great joy) but about affirming the life of every person I meet by SEEING THEM AS GOD SEES and then after SEEING (warts and all) by CHOOSING TO LOVE. Loving the image of God as revealed in this person. So " In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love," as St. Therese of Lisieux discovered as a young woman who struggled to know how to pour herself out in this world for God. However, this is a difficult (yet joyous) vocation, as it requires a person to LOVE in spite of being hurt. To LOVE (appropriately) even when the person whom my love is directed towards may not know how to return such love because they do not know God in this way yet.

So now moving from thought to this world: my experience has been that many people are afraid of Love. While they make overtures to finding it by signing up on websites such as this and attempting to engage in relationships with others, it is often all too clear that FEAR outweighs the desire for LOVE. They want a relationship, but they do not want LOVE. I am not primarily talking about people on this website, but people in the world at large. I have met people who want everything else - sex, intellectual discourse, orthodox Catholic belief, companionship, a warm body to inhabit their world - but they do not desire LOVE - or even a close approximation! I do not think it an accident that many in our culture are fearful of LOVE (yet hope to discover it at little personal cost) at a time when many also have renounced belief in GOD (are fearful of God, so much so that they decide He doesn't exist). I imagine those who fear love relationships with human persons will also isolate themselves from a deep relationship with God. So then for such a person to meet another who desires to LOVE is truly terrifying!

I discovered a profound truth many years ago: the opposite of love is not hate. It is FEAR. FEAR, rather than hate, has motivated all of the greatest atrocities committed in this world. Think Nazism (fear of economic instability) or any situation where one group of people is attacked by another. Behind the hate is the root cause of FEAR. So it was also in the Garden of Eden. It was FEAR that caused Adam and Eve to turn on one another and rupture the bond of LOVE that existed between them. I think it is this same FEAR that grips many in this culture - probably it is more present to those of my age group as the idealism of youth has faded and many have been really hurt by others and do not want to be hurt again. So we wall ourselves off, protecting ourselves either by becoming hardened to the feelings of others or by complaining about the walls of others! It is a vicious cycle.

I truly believe the only way to diffuse the cycle of FEAR is to LOVE! That is why John says "perfect love casts out fear." Simple, yet terrifying - but not as much when a person already knows the Love of God! This is what makes the "Christian story" so compelling - it is the triumph of LOVE in the face of raw FEAR; Jesus chooses in the Garden to embrace LOVE (unlike the first Adam) by being nailed to the Tree of the Cross, giving His life for His Bride the Church and conquers the Evil by using the chief weapon of Evil, suffering, for the purpose of LOVE!

So my question to CM readers is how can we fulfill our common Christian vocation to LOVE in a world that seeks protection and chooses to give in to FEAR? And how can we create a culture on this website where LOVE can flourish - regardless of whether we personally find it here? How can we best LOVE our CM brothers and sisters who struggle with fear so they can be truly open to believing in LOVE?

Nov 3rd 2013 new
Hi Kristen,

I don't think it's a "cricket" thread. I liked what you had to say and it makes sense. I can relate to some of what you say. Hurt does cause walls. When we go beyond our fear, we get sent back to fear. It's not impossible, but it is a challenge to stay in the "Love". I had seen the following before, but this time, I opened my eyes more.

"Imagine a man so focused on
God that the only reason he
Looked up to see you was
Because he heard God say:
'There she is'..."
Nov 3rd 2013 new
Kristen
Great topic. Earlier today on Facebook I read this blog by Seth Adam Smith that is titled Marriage isn't for me. sethadamsmith.com
Nov 4th 2013 new
(quote) Johnny-975202 said: Hi Kristen,

I don't think it's a "cricket" thread. I liked what you had to say and it makes sense. I can relate to some of what you say. Hurt does cause walls. When we go beyond our fear, we get sent back to fear. It's not impossible, but it is a challenge to stay in the "Love". I had seen the following before, but this time, I opened my eyes more.

"Imagine a man so focused on
God that the only reason he
Looked up to see you was
Because he heard God say:
'There she is'..."
Hi Johnny,

Your observation about hurt is so true! I feel like I've visibly (and electronically) witnessed people who have reached a wall and retreat back into fear. That's where LOVE is a CHOICE that moves beyond initial attraction. I sense there are many who have been hurt so badly that the desire not to be hurt outweighs the desire to love...

I love the quote! That is beautiful!! I hope you experience this soon!
Nov 4th 2013 new
(quote) Kevin-696435 said: Kristen
Great topic. Earlier today on Facebook I read this blog by Seth Adam Smith that is titled Marriage isn't for me. http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/
Hi Kevin,

Wow! This blog is essentially saying (in a much more straightforward way!) what I've tried to express! I wholeheartedly agree that the point of marriage and love is primarily to give love than to receive. People who approach it selfishly are bound to be disappointed. Having the right perspective is so important!
Nov 4th 2013 new
(quote) Kristen-878108 said: "Love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free. Be more like the man you were made to be." Mumford & Sons

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." 1 John 4:18

This may be one of those "sound of chirping crickets" threads, but it is a topic that weighs heavy on my heart as I have started to make sense of some of the situations I've experienced in dating and just the world in general.
God has truly been gracious to me in teaching me over these years more about what it means to truly LOVE (but I am still learning). I have not taken the conventional route to learning these foundational truths about Him and the human person, but I have learned them nonetheless, as all vocations are ways that God can teach us how to LOVE. But it is up to us (free will) if we will dare to take the risk to learn it. I am convinced that true beatitude can only be achieved by the headlong embrace of LOVE. The reason for this being that GOD IS LOVE. (John's Gospel, 1 John) Any love I give in this world, no matter how imperfect it is, can only have the end result of teaching me more about God - helping me to know His Heart, as well as "seeing as He sees." Two of my favorite Scriptures both illustrate what has been revealed to me about life in this world. The first is, "Not as man sees does God see; man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the HEART." (1 Sam 16:7) The other is one of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall SEE God." (Mt 5) When meditating on these Scriptures, I deepen my understanding that life is not about finding someone to love me (though this would be a great joy) but about affirming the life of every person I meet by SEEING THEM AS GOD SEES and then after SEEING (warts and all) by CHOOSING TO LOVE. Loving the image of God as revealed in this person. So " In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love," as St. Therese of Lisieux discovered as a young woman who struggled to know how to pour herself out in this world for God. However, this is a difficult (yet joyous) vocation, as it requires a person to LOVE in spite of being hurt. To LOVE (appropriately) even when the person whom my love is directed towards may not know how to return such love because they do not know God in this way yet.
So now moving from thought to this world: my experience has been that many people are afraid of Love. While they make overtures to finding it by signing up on websites such as this and attempting to engage in relationships with others, it is often all too clear that FEAR outweighs the desire for LOVE. They want a relationship, but they do not want LOVE. I am not primarily talking about people on this website, but people in the world at large. I have met people who want everything else - sex, intellectual discourse, orthodox Catholic belief, companionship, a warm body to inhabit their world - but they do not desire LOVE - or even a close approximation! I do not think it an accident that many in our culture are fearful of LOVE (yet hope to discover it at little personal cost) at a time when many also have renounced belief in GOD (are fearful of God, so much so that they decide He doesn't exist). I imagine those who fear love relationships with human persons will also isolate themselves from a deep relationship with God. So then for such a person to meet another who desires to LOVE is truly terrifying!
I discovered a profound truth many years ago: the opposite of love is not hate. It is FEAR. FEAR, rather than hate, has motivated all of the greatest atrocities committed in this world. Think Nazism (fear of economic instability) or any situation where one group of people is attacked by another. Behind the hate is the root cause of FEAR. So it was also in the Garden of Eden. It was FEAR that caused Adam and Eve to turn on one another and rupture the bond of LOVE that existed between them. I think it is this same FEAR that grips many in this culture - probably it is more present to those of my age group as the idealism of youth has faded and many have been really hurt by others and do not want to be hurt again. So we wall ourselves off, protecting ourselves either by becoming hardened to the feelings of others or by complaining about the walls of others! It is a vicious cycle.
I truly believe the only way to diffuse the cycle of FEAR is to LOVE! That is why John says "perfect love casts out fear." Simple, yet terrifying - but not as much when a person already knows the Love of God! This is what makes the "Christian story" so compelling - it is the triumph of LOVE in the face of raw FEAR; Jesus chooses in the Garden to embrace LOVE (unlike the first Adam) by being nailed to the Tree of the Cross, giving His life for His Bride the Church and conquers the Evil by using the chief weapon of Evil, suffering, for the purpose of LOVE!
So my question to CM readers is how can we fulfill our common Christian vocation to LOVE in a world that seeks protection and chooses to give in to FEAR? And how can we create a culture on this website where LOVE can flourish - regardless of whether we personally find it here? How can we best LOVE our CM brothers and sisters who struggle with fear so they can be truly open to believing in LOVE?
I agree that love is a verb and not easy at the best of times......................
.................. being in the mental health field I have more than a
nodding acquaintance with fear
and healing........................
Nov 4th 2013 new
Thanks, Kristen. :-)
Nov 4th 2013 new
(quote) Kevin-696435 said: Kristen
Great topic. Earlier today on Facebook I read this blog by Seth Adam Smith that is titled Marriage isn't for me. http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/
There is a separate thread in Single Life regarding this article. The thread is titled "Marriage isn't for me", I believe. This is a great article and something most people should read, especially here on CM.
Nov 4th 2013 new
Might I suggest a potential way to get beyond your fear? Go to an event! Sure, it's nice to look at profiles, converse with people in the forums and chat rooms... but there's nothing like meeting people in real life, where your noses are in the same room wink

Be it an evening, a day or a weekend, it is a chance to meet a bunch of people and put into practice your ability to see God in others and in choosing to love those people. I have been to many events, mainly because I'm part of the Indy group of CMers that hosts several events per year. So I've both seen this happen in others and have experienced it in myself.

As Catholics, we should strive to witness that God truly is in each and every one of us. Put it into action! Take it out of the virtual world.

It's my opinion that people who are communicating take too long to meet. Don't just be pen pals, if it's going along well, exchange numbers and talk on the phone. Then if that goes well, MEET! I've experienced people who want this process to take a long time... an extremely long time... with the excuse of wanting to "really" get to know each other. This is much easier to do if you MEET. Fear is truly at the heart of this.

Some are content to keep it in the virtual world... don't do it! Some correspond for a while, then disappear... don't do it!

CM is just the starting point. To me it's not a "dating site"... it's a "meeting site". "Dating" cannot happen in the virtual world, you've got to take it OFF-LINE. There are so many wonderful people here on CM, be bold, step out of your comfort zone and get out there.
Nov 4th 2013 new
(quote) Rob-362135 said: CM is just the starting point. To me it's not a "dating site"... it's a "meeting site". "Dating" cannot happen in the virtual world, you've got to take it OFF-LINE. There are so many wonderful people here on CM, be bold, step out of your comfort zone and get out there.
Hi Rob,

I can relate to some of what you say. Done some stepp'n. There is a CM group locally that I just started involving myself with and plan to do more.
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