Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I think it's sort of funny that when Protestant girls get frustrated about being single, they joke about becoming nuns. Some guys joke about the priesthood. In my limited experience, Catholics don't do this.

I would hope it is because we recognize that a call to the priesthood or religious life is not a fall-back; if this is God's plan, nothing else will fit. I could be wrong, but I don't think there are armies of sexually-frustrated priests and nuns; I think they freely enter into that state, and they mourn that which they did not choose. But no one gets dragged into anything.

There are two aspects of carrying the cross as a single person if you believe you are called to marriage: the physical, and the emotional. The physical is about recognizing rhythms. At certain times, you will be physiologically tempted to commit sexual sin. Again, in my experience, you just have to recognize the moment, and develop a specific plan of action: leave the room, call a friend, sing a hymn. It passes. It really does. Usually in a few minutes. Also, we have to decide that we're not going to feed the desire. The things on the way to sin are called, "the near occasion of sin."

The other part is harder. The reason is that our hearts cry out to be connected. We reach out, and if that reaching out involves the opposite sex, we face a danger that we'll move emotionally too fast, that we'll build up something into more than it is. You have to know yourself; if you can't serve the other person unselfishly, you've gotta back away. You can't decide what's best for someone else, and you can't control the situation.

I guess the two challenges are there with any vocation, but a special vocation sort of presupposes acquiring and using these graces of detachment for the good of the Church.

1 comment:

Deborah Allinder Lee said...

Also important to remember is how Satan will attack with sexual temptation when you are moving closer to him. I know that both temptation and opportunity increased dramatically when I was in seminary. How much greater for someone who has committed their lives to the higher calling of a vocation. Makes me even more thankful for the graces of the sacraments.