Thursday, March 08, 2018

Never Settle. Ever.

I'm in my late '30s now. The lot of you have no right to complain about singleness, relative to me. Or that's how it feels most days. Men get like caged animals at times. I don't want to get graphic on you, but there's a part of this longing that's downright primal. Our female counterparts have this, too. It's just more acceptable for men to talk about sexual desire, for a whole slew of reasons. Anyway, it would be no big deal, really, but for the fact that the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, calls us to live holy lives of total purity and chastity. If not for grace, I would frankly laugh hysterically at this entire idea.

I don't speak from high in the saddle on some high horse on this one, you deserve to know. Just trust me on this. On the other hand, if I have tasted of the mercy of God in any way, there must be some great glory in celibacy. There is some mystery in chaste life, its difficulty but attainability, that promises total freedom. Every time we have failed--or if you like, friends of yours--we are aware that there was nothing inevitable about that failure. No matter how many times the merciful God makes a new way for us by the forgiveness of our sins, we have the memory of that choice, and that willing is the substance of our guilt. It's mercy to be aware of our guilt, but not to condemn ourselves with that awareness. For this mercy we give continual thanks.

In any case, you may be like me, in that you firmly believe that you are experiencing a trial until you step into the vocation of marriage. Maybe it's been a long trial, as well. Maybe even so long that you begin to doubt where you have been, and what you intend to do. Perhaps you think--against the very facts of the matter--that you are ugly or unlovable. Let us be direct. You might have all manner of insecurities, too numerous to name. In this situation, besides the inclination to sin, you may survey the landscape and wonder if prudential decisions about romantic partners were wrong. I don't mean to say that it's impossible that you're too picky. Only people you really trust can help you make that determination, that you've closed yourself off from possibilities for silly reasons. But...never settle. If values, or circumstances, or something else show you that a particular person is a bad match, trust yourself, and trust the Lord. Besides, God can change you, if in fact you're being an idiot. His grace is dynamic; He doesn't have a "backup plan" for you. If you go the wrong way, God will restore the years the locusts have eaten. If you've arrived in a vocation, and you are unhappy, the problem is you.

Even if the choosing was horribly imprudent, guess what? God wants to use you where you are. If you've chosen, He's chosen, and by His grace, suck it up, Buttercup. Maybe you think you have married a quarrelsome wife. Maybe you have. I found your cross, my friend. It's not your job to play God. If you have chosen the priesthood, or some other celibate vocation, it's more fixed. Spouses die; promises before God don't. Not without sin, anyway. I would rather bear the cross of incompleteness and frustration than choose poorly. There is no "need" of sex or companionship that requires you to settle. It's better to remain unmarried, even if it's hard. Married life has its challenges, too. Recognize the joy and the gravity. "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

My soul waits for the Lord, like watchmen for the morning, like watchmen for the morning.