“So when do you move in?”
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.