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Single Living

“So when do you move in?”

“Huh?”

For what seemed to be the millionth time, I explained to yet another person that I am officially moving into my fiancé’s house the day after our wedding. I looked past the concerned look and changed topics, wondering how it came to be that the choice not to co-habitate necessitated a frown.

Even prior to our engagement, well-meaning friends and co-workers questioned why George and I were not “taking our relationship to the next level” and forgoing our double house/rent payments for a single mortgage payment. Post-proposal, the questions resurfaced, and we both had to gently explain to many of our peers our intent to live separately until marriage.

It’s difficult to be Catholic in our world. So much of our society is anti-Catholic from social norms to federal laws. As a Catholic single, you face pressures in the dating scene that may not even phase non-Catholics. As a divorced Catholic, you likely face misunderstanding and judgment as you seek an annulment.

When we think of the brave, we rightfully think of the military men and women who serve our country both here and overseas. We think about the saints, leaders like Nelson Mandela and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai. We rarely think of ourselves and the brave people that walk among us. It’s not just Catholics, of course, but it’s all people who stand up for something greater than themselves for a purpose.

We go to battle each and every day, which is why St. Paul in Ephesians 6:10-18 urges us to “put on the full armor of God:”

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

My fiancé’s brother recently spoke to our parish after Mass about the abortion crisis, urging parishioners to pray and take action against the injustices that occur every day. At 19, he was already speaking publicly about a stance that is unpopular in our culture. As I, too, face difficult discussions with friends about topics like contraception and natural family planning, I often think about the early Christians that were persecuted for their beliefs. It sure makes me feel less sub-conscious going to work after Ash Wednesday Mass with ashes on my forehead knowing that at least I have the freedom to do so, even if a few stares are directed my way.

As Catholics – especially single Catholics – we are called to be brave warriors for Christ. The Gospel is not easy to preach and it’s definitely not easy to live out in every minute of our lives, but through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, we can shed Christ’s light on this world. Just because our culture deems cohabitation acceptable and abortion just, doesn’t mean that we can follow suit. Just because sex on the first date found its way into nearly every sitcom and remarriage without an annulment is commonplace, doesn’t mean that we as Catholics are not called to something greater.

I love hearing the powerful Sara Bareillis song “Brave” on top 40 radio encouraging us to say the truth, let the words “fall out” and be brave:

“And since your history of silence

Won’t do you any good,

Did you think it would?

Let your words be anything but empty

Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

Let those lyrics propel you through your Catholic experience and your everyday life. It’s not easy to face the challenges of this world, but we don’t have to be brave alone. Stand strong with your fellow Catholics and live the Gospel through your actions as you search for the spouse God has prepared for you.

Be brave.

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16 Comments

  1. Matt-685717 November 5, 2013

    Frankly, I find it scary all the single adult Christians who say they believe that saving sex for marriage is the best thing but they don’t do that because “there’s just no way to get along in this world if you save sex”. Really? If these cowardly conformists would do what they (supposedly) believe, then there would be a much larger pool of singles saving sex for marriage.
    *facepalm

    • Dominic-981542 November 5, 2013

      Hi Matt . . its not about saving sex , Its about making room for God to help a true loving friendship grow between & within so as two become one . . . this does not always happen because of self interest self love inter fear’s .

  2. Michael-220757 November 5, 2013

    To Jessica, the author of the article,

    I want to respond to the following sentence from your article which is dangerously misleading: “As a divorced Catholic, you likely face misunderstanding and judgment as you seek an annulment.”

    This sentence erroneously leads many who read it to believe that for a catholic who wants out of their marriage, the process is: divorce followed by an annulment. This is not the case. To be clear, divorce is NEVER allowed by the catholic church, EVER! However, annulment is a process in which n church-appointed eccelsiastical court reviews the circumstances under which two people were married to see if there ever was a marriage in the first place.

    Since marriage is a sacrament and since in the marriage ceremony the man confers the sacrament on the woman and the woman confers the sacrament on the man, the church’s role is simply to witness the event and to bless the event. For the sacrament to be conferred, both the man and woman must be: i) proceeding of their own free will, and ii) proceeding with the full intention of forsaking all others, and iii) intending, if able, to produce children. If any of these conditions are violated, by either the man or the woman during the ceremony, then the sacrament will not have been conferred and when they walk out of the church together they are not husband and wife; the marriage is void, it is null, hence the word “annulled”.

    Many catholics get divorced anyway and then try to seek an annulment afterwards in order to justify or legitimize their divorce so they can marry someone else. This in itself is a violation of their marriage vows (see condition ii above). These people are then surprised and disappointed when the church-appointed court refuses to grant an annulment because their marriage was valid in the first place.

    Your sentence which I quoted above gives the impression to the less-informed that instead of divorce, the catholic church has this thing called annulment which is really the same thing as divorce. Make no mistake; this is not the case, but the sentence to which I referred makes it appear as though this is the case. So in the future, when writing articles like this on a catholic site, be careful.

    • Dominic-981542 November 5, 2013

      Well spoken & understood Michael .

    • Mary-1019000 November 7, 2013

      Just for clarification, my diocese required evidence of my civil divorce before they would open my annulment case.

  3. Eva Z. November 5, 2013

    I was married at 16 years old. My brother a true Catholic trued to stop the marriage. I got divorced after 35 years, since the first year of marriage I felt trapoed and no one to cling even though I was married to my signifant other. I felt obligated to stick it out. I feared The Lord. My spouse neglected and abandoned me. He criticized my faith, prayers, mocked me. You and your God.
    I AM NOW SEEKING AN ANNULMENT, I PRAY IT GOES THROUGH.

    • Dominic-981542 November 5, 2013

      Hope it all works out for you Eva . . i have experience because members of the church are only human & can & have made mistakes . . This is why it can take time so as to get it right . . There are cases of Annulments given to people who should not have it given & those who should not have received it , all in the name of the church’s servants being only human by not being prayerful enough to free them selves of there own opinions & listen to its master & founder Jesus the Christ.

  4. Cathy-564420 November 6, 2013

    Great article Jessica!

    I think the comments got off track here a tad bit from what I believe the true meaning of what the article was really about, which is waiting until your married before you live in sin basically.

    Michael, Sorry you feel that seeking an annulment is not important as this is truly important for someone who wants to remain faithful and true to the Catholic church and receive the blessing of marriage if it were to ever happen in the Church! The only reason I say this, is because I dated a gentleman from here over a couple of months ago, and he has no intention on getting an annulment. It’s like, what’s the point. I can’t date you as you are still married in the “Eyes of God”. He thought there was nothing wrong with that, but for me, it’s like see ya!

    Good luck to you and know the next time that it still is important to have God on top of your relationship now and forever, Amen!

    Otherwise, great article!

    God Bless,
    Cathy

  5. Ann-69118 November 6, 2013

    My only response to the article would why would you feel the need to explain a decision that had nothing to do with other people or wasn’t their business. I see over and over how often people in society believe everything they do has to be ok with everyone else I wouldn’t even meant my living situation and leave it at that. Why would it matter what they thought. If they honestly ask because they don’t understand and aren’t being intrusive then I might be inclined to explain but you don’t have to explain your private decisions to everyone. It’s not their business.

  6. Meesch-691047 November 7, 2013

    AMEN to your message. Thank you!

  7. Jack-131359 November 7, 2013

    I’d tell those other Catholics giving you grief to mind their own 51% beeswax! LOL

  8. Joseph-240565 November 7, 2013

    Marriage …
    Genesis 24: 61 – 67 Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man. Thus the servant took Rebekah and went his way. Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

    Divorce – Annulment
    1 Corinthians 7: 12-17 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever (rebellious), and she consents (is pleased) to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever (rebellious), and he consents (is pleased) to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved (bound to marital obligations). God has called you to PEACE. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. You can be born a catholic and still be an “unbeliever” by biblical definition … God does not expect or require us to stay in an adulterous or abusive marriage …

    The Bible teaches that God hates fraud as much as divorce, but the churches are full of gutless cowards that are afraid to stand up to their so called leaders and demand that church rules reflect God’s standard of Justice, Mercy, Forgiveness, TRUTH …
    Seems to me there is a lot more worship of “beliefs and religion” than the “Worship of God in Spirit and Truth” in the majority of todays churches (not just catholic) …

    :) joseph

  9. Joseph-240565 November 7, 2013

    “And since your history of silence

    Won’t do you any good,

    Did you think it would?

    Let your words be anything but empty

    Why don’t you tell them the truth?

    Say what you wanna say

    And let the words fall out

    Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

    Amen

  10. Naomi-698107 November 9, 2013

    Best way to increase your risk of divorce is to have sex before marriage, for some reason women doing it really send the numbers up high, about a 67% risk of divorce for women whov’e had sex before marriage – even if it was only with the man they married, which even found surprising!

    The rate of divorce for people who were virgins when they married, less than one percent.

    You have to dig for these stats, but they’re out there.

    Plus, while I’m certainly living the Catholic single life for the betterment of my relationship with God, it does seem so backwards to have sex, move in together and then get married. I see a lot of my friends getting married after having been living togehter for 8 years, having a few kids and already having paid a huge chunk off their mortage.

    Frankly, it seems like an awful waste of money to blow on a wedding when you’ve disordered the whole process of courtship and marriage. I can think of better thnings a family can spend 10 grand on. Then there’s that awkward gift giving situation. What do you get a couple who are marrying who have been living together for 10 years and already have a bunch of jjunk and are well established with a family?

    I want the courtship but most of all I want the excitement of moving into the new house/flat with my husband AFTER the wedding day. The crappy second hand furniture sparsely decorating the shabby property. I want the ugly plates gifted from well meaning family members and friends that take pride of place on our two planks of wood laid over a few cinderblocks!

    Plus, I want the opportunity, as annoying as it sounds, to have to explain time and time again to people that “no, boyfriend/fiance and I will not be living together until we’re married”. What a great way to spread our beatiful Gospel of Life in such a hostile and ignorant society. They’re the ones who are missing out, they’re the ones who are backwards and ignorant. They’re the ones who will never really be happy. We have an opportunity to share that joy with them! The Truth will sset you free, that’s what Our Lord said, llets not be ashamed or annoyed to keep repeating.

    Someone’s gotta be listening. Hhe.

  11. Penelope-1027904 November 10, 2013

    I agree and may God bless you all!

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