Hey. There’s a really important election coming up. And maybe you’ve heard... that “your vote matters.”
But it actually really does. There are local issues that need your vote. First, I’d like to urge you to Google “my ballot.” Enter your address, and you’ll find everything that’s on the ballot for you this year.
This general election is an important one for LIFE. There’s a lot on the line. As a Pro-Life voter, the presidential election hardly has a winner. No matter who you choose to vote for—if you can in good conscience vote for anyone—compromises have to be made.
The “Pro-Life” (in terms of abortion) candidate is also a death penalty enthusiast; the other is the biggest abortion advocate in the U.S. history of presidential candidates, is also in favor of the death penalty, and has views on euthanasia nothing short of enigmatic. By voting for either candidate in this election, you are voting for an ideology that rejects the value of a certain populace’s life—so much so, that their response is death.
And tbh I don’t care who you vote for in the presidential election. I’m going nowhere near that dumpster fire.
But as a Nebraska voter, you have the opportunity to vote for really important legislation that respects life. Because the language is a bit confusing, this is something I think needs to be addressed. Nebraska will be voting on Referendum No. 426 regarding the death penalty. The Nebraska Death Penalty Repeal Veto Referendum, also known as Referendum No. 426, is on the November 8, 2016 ballot in Nebraska as a veto referendum. The measure asks voters whether they want to repeal or retain a law that eliminated the death penalty in Nebraska in 2015. Please look at the image here to better understand how to vote on Referendum No. 426.
And then remember to check “retain” on November 8.
While the moral dilemma in checking “repeal” ends when you put down your pen, the responsibility in your vote transfers to a person now responsible for executing your decision.
Propagating the lethal condemnation of any human is not just radical; it's demented.
Killing killers won’t bring back our victims.
I promise this isn’t nearly as morbid as it sounds. Stay with me.
We live in a society where the answer to any one of life’s question marks is to simply “do what makes you happy.” I’m not saying we shouldn’t follow the pursuit of happiness. But I think we’ve stumbled into a grave misunderstanding in the difference between happiness and pleasure.
When faced with a tough moral dilemma or difficult life decision, we find comfort in the adage, “Just do what makes you happy.” As if the choice that makes us feel “good” is the one that will bring us the greatest joy.
If we understood the reality of genuine “happiness,” we might be slower to tell people to do what makes them happy. Because to really do what makes you happy is to commit to a life of suffering and sacrifice.
Unlike pleasure, happiness has never been easy. It’s not the simple solution to a tough choice; its road has never been paved. But it is down this road alone that we find true fulfillment.
Pleasure is the feeling we get when we open a bag of Doritos after work rather than hit the gym. Pleasure is what we find when we sleep in on Sunday morning rather than drag ourselves to church. We find pleasure in making choices that feel good in the moment with little or no regard to our future. Pleasure is for the impatient. Pleasure does not challenge us. It does not advance us. It doesn’t make us harder workers, better husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, or friends.
Only happiness can be sustained beyond the activity producing it; pleasure cannot.
We’ve let a skewed view of happiness blur our definition of life and love. All too often, to “do what makes you happy” is a call to action for us to make selfish and compulsive choices.
Don’t forfeit all of your impulsivity. We all deserve to feel good in the moment. Eat a bag of Doritos in lieu of a workout. Slam a Big Mac. You’ve earned that. But don’t let the feeling of pleasure overcast your journey towards happiness. If we shape our choices solely around what feels right in the moment alone, we surrender to a life of empty pleasure.
Genuine happiness is the act of dying to yourself; relinquishing all selfish needs and desires in commitment to a reward much greater than mere pleasure or instant gratification. It takes work. The road to happiness is more likely to carry us through misery than walk us through our comfort zone. Which often feels like suffering.
But we were made to suffer. It is in our suffering that we are brought closer to Christ. And it is in Christ alone that we find the happiness we desire. Happiness develops through acts of selflessness.
Don’t do what makes you “happy.” Do what makes you suffer. And in your suffering, you will find your happiness.
People think we’re crazy when we tell them that we’re doing Natural Family Planning.
You’re going to get pregnant in your first six months of marriage.
Granted, if you pushed me into giving you some ideal timeline of when we would like to begin building our family, we’d probably be talking somewhere 2-3 years down the road.
I’ve discovered that the most frequent question recently married women are asked is some variation of, “So when are you planning on babies?” I tell them it’s somewhere in our future but that we’re very open to life. This confuses people.
Sadly, in today’s world, pregnancy is often viewed as a consequence of sex. Life and love have become detached. So much so that women every day choose to neuter their femininity and mask their most beautiful God-given gift, the ability to create life, so that they can be constantly sexually available to their spouse.
Many women who use contraception within their marriages have quoted that they’ve felt used. That contraception has lowered their sense of worth. Because their husbands saw them as constantly being sexually available, they felt taken for granted. These were not experiences that I was eager to encounter within my marriage.
Now I’m not saying that my husband (as of May 2015) and I are eager to begin having children right now, but we have had a rare and blessed opportunity to experience the raw beauty and true meaning of intimacy (both emotionally and physically). We cannot see life as a burden and we continue to grow closer to one another through our growing strength in our faith and understanding of one another.
In just a couple of months of marriage, I quickly understood the importance of chastity in a dating relationship. It isn’t arbitrary. We were practicing. We were practicing self-control, communication, and our ability to be emotionally (not just physically) intimate with one another. All virtues within a marriage.
I thought that Natural Family Planning was going to be difficult. But our dating relationship provided a natural and seamless transition into this lifestyle.
During our times of abstinence, we get to express our love for each other in nonsexual ways. As a result, the intimacy between us has deepened. And by using a calendar to track my cycle and know my fertility, I get to show my husband that I want to be with him as much as possible. Our anticipation for this marital act intensifies its joy.
Many couples do not consider Natural Family Planning because of the amount of “work” that it is. Unfortunately, I think there is a grave misunderstanding as to what exactly NFP is. I’ll spare you the details, and instead urge you to please research NFP. It’s hard to imagine your sex life being 5000x better, but it’s possible. If you want to develop a deeper the deepest level of intimacy with your partner, then Natural Family Planning is absolutely for you.
Happy Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.
It's crunch time! Our wedding day is quickly approaching so now come our final preparations. This Thursday the 14th is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church: The Ascension of Jesus, the return of His heavenly glory. Before Christ ascended into heaven, he commanded his Apostles to remain in the city of Jerusalem for the nine days until the feast of Pentecost, and there to await the descent of the Holy Spirit. With this, our Savior instituted the practice of the Christian Novena – nine days of prayer, especially in preparation for a solemn feast or in petition for some special grace.
Christ Jesus commanded this first novena both as a period of preparation (since the feast of Pentecost was approaching) and also as an act of petition to Mary and his disciples.
While we anticipate the Vigil of the Pentecost (May 23rd), we also get to anticipate our wedding (May 23rd)! It's kind of a cool coincidence that we get to acknowledge these nine days before our wedding in parallel to the preparation of the Feast of the Pentecost.
Many faithful Catholics like to celebrate this time by praying a Pentecost Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, starting on the Friday following the Ascension. We're bending the "rules" and starting ours this Thursday, May 14th and ending the night before our wedding, Friday, May 22nd. St. Raphael the Archangel has had some significance in our relationship, through our marriage prep, and in our wedding, so we would like to invite any family and friends to pray a novena to St. Raphael with us, citing our marriage and relationship as your intentions! And of course you do not need to be Catholic to pray with us.
Significance of St. Raphael: Very Abridged
St. Raphael is the patron saint of happy meetings and good health. He is mentioned in the book of Tobit and was sent to help Tobias find his wife, Sarah. If you're unfamiliar with the story of Tobias and Sarah, Sarah had married seven times before, and each bridegroom had died on the night of their wedding before they could consummate their marriage. Raphael led Tobias to Sarah and Tobias knew Sarah's past and didn't even care... THE BRAVERY. The story of Tobias and Sarah provided much strength and meaning to Brock and I's dating relationship in its early years and is the reason Tobit 8:4b-8 will be the First Reading of our wedding.
On their wedding night Tobias arose from bed and said to his wife,
“Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord
to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.”
Sarah got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
They began with these words:
“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”
They said together, “Amen, amen.”
Brock was confirmed on Easter Vigil; St. Raphael the Archangel was also Brock's confirmation saint, which is pretty special. Many people ask St. Raphael to pray for them as they search for their future spouse. Though we already found ours, we feel like asking St. Raphael to pray with us in preparation for our marriage is equally suiting. Brock and I will be praying the below novena prayer for the nine days leading up to our wedding; the best wedding gift that we could receive are your prayers. So please join us!
NOVENA PRAYER TO ST RAPHAEL
-- Thursday, May 14th through Friday, May 22nd
(You may state your intentions, and meditate over your intentions throughout the novena, which may be recited each day for the nine days)
O Glorious St. Raphael, Patron and Lover of the Young, I call upon thee and plead with thee for thy help. In all confidence I open my heart to thee, to beg thy guidance and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Obtain for me through thy intercession the light of God’s grace, so that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. O Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand to find each other. May all our movements be guided by thy light and transfigured by thy joy. As thou didst lead the young Tobias to Sara and opened up for him a new life of happiness with her in holy marriage, lead me to such a one whom in thine angelic wisdom thou dost judge best suited to be united with me in marriage.
St. Raphael, loving Patron of those seeking a marriage partner, help me in this supreme decision of my life. Find for me as a helpmate in life that person whose character will reflect the traits of Jesus and Mary. May he (she) be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with chaste and unselfish love, we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please God to entrust to our care.
St. Raphael, Angel of chaste courtship, bless our friendship and our love, that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely that our future home may ever be most like the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Offer thy prayers to God for both of us and obtain the blessing of God upon our marriage, as thou wert the herald of blessing for the marriage of Tobias and Sara.
St. Raphael, Friend of the Young, be thou my friend, for I shall always be thine. I desire ever to invoke thee in my needs. To thy special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future wife (husband). Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love, and harmony in this life and attain to eternal joy in the next. Amen.
In honor of St. Raphael recite one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be.
I'm getting married next month. #omigosh
I always thought that if I could carry my chaste relationship into an engagement, then the rest would be smooth sailing. "The light at the end of the chastity tunnel." All we need to do is make it to marriage, then it'll be a sexual free-for-all. Just kidding. Kind of. No.
Marriage was my end zone for chastity. My engagement the checkered flag. And I think that's how most people view it. But then marriage prep happened and we found our hearts so called to the world of Natural Family Planning. A lifetime of chastity. Well shit.
Sure, through our engagement I've had some concerns toward the future. What are we going to do with all of this money that we don't have? Do I have to change my Twitter handle to reflect my new last name? The important stuff. I think it's natural and healthy to carefully consider your relationship with your future spouse; how you will rear your children, how you will deal with conflicts that inevitably arise. With every thought that has spun through my mind, the biggest one missing is the fear of my future husband ever stepping outside of our marriage.
In a world of sex, lust, compulsion, and sin, the statistics regarding infidelity in marriages are heartbreaking. It's estimated that nearly 30-60% of married individuals in the United States will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage. Even though these statistics portray the majority of marriages, it has never brought me unease. Over the past few years, my future husband has proven to me that he will only have sex with a woman that is his wife.
Sex does not prove your love for one's soul, it demonstrates your desire for their body. In a marriage, "two flesh become one." This intimacy through our bodies is beautiful. Divine. But if we allow ourselves to unite our flesh with an individual who is not our spouse, can we fully trust that we or they will never submit to this again? We should certainly be able to! But jealousy and trust are hairy things; no matter how much we fight against or fight for them, they are not always easy to accomplish. A chaste relationship does not equal more love than an unchaste relationship, but I whole-heartedly believe that we can most greatly prove our love for our partner through chastity. That takes some serious strength. Seriously.
I'm not saying that people who have sex before their wedding are unfaithful in their marriages. Simply, chastity is the realest way to experience this sincere, full trust in your spouse. Learning to love your husband as a brother. Putting his soul before his body.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous for a lifestyle of Natural Family Planning. It won't be as easy to plan a family as taking a pill or getting a shot. But I look forward to a lifetime of knowing that I will never be "Wife: An object of my sexual desires." My body will never be seen as anything less than life-giving, and so much more than a source of gratification.
I have been so fortunate to never need to deal with jealousy or a lack of trust in my relationship, and I find so much joy in knowing I will find that same luxury in my marriage. I have to dedicate all of the trust, security, and confidence in my relationship to our decision to fight for chastity. It has not been easy, but none of the best things in life ever are.
I’m serious. Stop calling yourself gay. Or straight. Or lesbian, transgender, bisexual. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be proud of who you are; in fact, I’m saying the opposite.
Who are you? To your core, what defines you? I am so happy that people who struggle in understanding their sexuality no longer have to feel completely alone in the battle; we’ve taken leaps in these past several years. Embrace the things that make you you. But don’t let your sexuality define who you are as a person. And don’t dismiss another human as worthy of love based solely on their own sexuality.
We define our love, our relationships, the very core of who we are by our sexuality. Of course, sexuality is very important. But it’s only one facet of who you are as a person. Self-identifying with phraseology like straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender isn’t helping us discern who we are, it’s holding us back from how great we could be. Putting our sexuality on a pedestal and crowning it as the delineating point in who we are is preventing us from living the life that God intended for us.
God created us to be many things; he also created us differently, which is what makes this world so beautiful. But I don’t think that His intention was for us to overlook all of the amazing things that we could be by allowing our sexual preferences to cloud the more meaningful qualities that make us so incredibly special.
Instead of self-identifying with terms like gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, think of all the other terms that we could self-identify with; terms like father, mother, brother, sister, friend, and most importantly, beloved sons and daughters of Christ. We are people. We are more than sexual beings.
We’re living in a culture in which we’re told that in order to discover who we are, we have to give ourselves away. If we don’t experiment sexually, then how will we understand sex? How will we know love? If we don’t label ourselves by our sexual preferences, then how will people understand who we are?
BE PROUD. Be proud of who you are. Be proud of the quirks and gifts that make you different. Be proud of the fact that you were made in the image and likeness of God.
You are so much more than your sexuality.
How do you define yourself? Let's start a conversation. Please comment below or share! To your core, what defines you? How are you more than your sexuality?
When I was 14, I watched The Notebook for the first time. And it rocked my world. I didn't know much about this movie, but I had heard a lot of people talking about it, which was all I needed to know that I had to see it. I had never experienced love (at age 14, good God, no one should) but when I saw this movie, I was convinced that this is what true love was. How could you not? It was portrayed so beautifully/cinematically/ with a perfectly scored soundtrack.
Since, I've grown up and realized that love is much more than screaming, slapping, chest-punching (followed by great sex where someone inevitably walks in), rubbing ice cream in each others' faces, being dangerously reckless by lying in trafficked streets and threatening to jump off a Ferris wheel if rejected from a date (in movie=adorable, in real life=deranged). You can't deny that they were passionate. But come on.
The media doesn't hide from 14 year-olds and I wish it had. The Notebook is an entertaining movie, no doubt, but it is not the image of love that a young, impressionable teenage girl should have; disobey your parents, have passionate, premarital sex, scream irrationally and use physical violence on your boyfriend, date two men at once. I watched it out of popularity and it wasn't entirely harmless. But if that was 14 year-old me's draw to The Notebook, can we expect 14 year-olds today to not be drawn to 50 Shades of Grey for the same reason?
I've heard many adult Christian women say that they don't agree with the movie or books, but want to go to the premiere "because they think it would be funny." Maybe you're at the point in your life where you feel like you're no longer impressionable and don't need to jeopardize your morals or convictions through simply watching a movie. But if for every 22 year-old woman who saw this movie, so did a 14 year-old, would we be more hesitant? Is this the image of love and the perception of sex that we want displayed to our next generation of men and women?
When a "love story" benefits the business of hardware stores across the nation with sales of cotton rope drastically increasing in reciprocity to the rising popularity of the books, we have to question what this storyline of bondage and sadomasochism is really teaching us about sex and how to act on our sexual desires. -- Additionally, sex injuries in the United States alone have more than doubled. The saddest part? Most find this funny.
Is it hypocritical to stand up against sexual and domestic violence yet find entertainment in watching over 20 minutes of on-screen sadism?
14 years-old is not too young to learn about the beauty and the purpose of sex. I was taught at a young age that sex is beautiful, natural, and something that is shared between man and wife. It serves a Christian purpose and is truly a gift from God.
It's difficult to predict where my morals would lie had the 50 Shades version of sex been my first perception of how a man is made to treat a woman.
As sons and daughters of Christ, we were designed for more. We were created to find happiness and fulfillment through true love, not mere pleasure through acting on impulsive desires and devouring eroticism.
Reading an erotic novel or watching an erotic film in search of arousal is not innocent. This is literally the definition and purpose of pornography.
The truest fear lies in the development of entertainment following the boom of 50 Shades of Grey. If this is what proves to sell in the box offices, is this the direction that all movies will inevitably follow? Is this the image of love that we want portrayed to our children and younger siblings?
If you'll stand up for anything, stand against this movement.
Okay, for the record, I love weddings. In fact, I know I wept during the half a dozen I went to last summer. Like watching a baby get baptized or witnessing a child receive communion for the first time, my heart melts at the sign of a sacrament. And perhaps it's because the sacrament of marriage is the first sacrament that I have felt wholeheartedly called to, whereas in baptism, reconciliation, communion, and confirmation I was simply guided through the process (this is of course not to say that confession and the Eucharist are not two of the things that most greatly capture my heart today).
But there is something about seeing the heart of a man, ready to die to himself to live for his wife that makes me ugly cry in front of both I-Don't-Care-Who and their date. Despite the purity and beauty in the sacrament of marriage, it seems that over the years, weddings have warped into something much more superficial. The size of a diamond is how we measure the strength of love; we say "show me the ring," not "show me your heart." There have become these societal standards for what a wedding needs to be: how extravagant, creative, unique, impressive. Engagements have grown longer to provide more time for planning and more time for saving ("weddings are expensive", right?).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to have an extravagant wedding; I mean, if that's your thing, then more power to ya (I hope I'm invited). But I think it's time that we all stop feeling the pressure to conform to this new standard of a "wedding."
$51,000,000,000 (that's 51 billion dollars... 9 zeros): the money Americans poured into the wedding industry last year.
Though most couples spend less than $10,000, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $25,200. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE HONEYMOON. Please tell me that doesn't make your jaw drop. If there are actually couples in their mid-twenties that have this kind of disposable money then I am doing something terribly wrong with my life.
I think we all know that financial burden, especially early in a relationship, is the top predictor of divorce. And unsurprisingly, according to a September study in the Department of Economics at Emory University in Atlanta, the more you spend on an engagement ring and wedding ceremony/reception, the shorter the marriage. That makes me sad, because I think we can all uniformly agree that open bars are neat.
But let's not ignore the timing between the rising divorce rate and the increasing cost of the average wedding. There are plenty of more-than-happily married couples that spent $25,000 on their wedding. But knowing that the old man who I saw sneak a kiss with his elderly wife outside their car in the church parking lot last Sunday spent virtually nothing on his is what inspires me.
I love big, beautiful weddings-- especially when they really capture the beauty in the sacrament of marriage. But nothing makes me more sad than to see a couple pouring months (or years) of time and money into trivial details of their wedding day. As soon as this day ends, now begins the rest of their life. We have to stop viewing a wedding as a finish line for a dating relationship and begin seeing it as the first day of the rest of our lives with our new spouse.
Or maybe I'm just cheap.
"Wow, good for you. I could never do that." -- The same words I speak to those who walk through a state fair without indulging in the hedonistic gut bomb that is the funnel cake seem to be the very words received nearly every time anyone hears me say, "Actually, I'm waiting for marriage." Chastity seems to be a dying trend, but it's a lot more common than many realize. Much like us middle schoolers who wet the bed, we elected to remain silent about what happened under the sheets. Though we were silent, we were there. We were there.....
Because we don't hear much about chastity, we assume it to be a fallen virtue. We don't gossip about it ["Oh my God, did you hear about Karen and Josh? Well everyone saw them at the party last night, and they were TOTALLY practicing chastity."] Whether it's music, movies, or magazines, we are totally consumed by sex; it's the one universal thing that every person everywhere shares in common and can agree upon as being very, very good.
Backed by Science //
Waiting for marriage aligns nicely with our own Christian ideals, but the reason why you should wait in your relationship transcends far beyond the realm and "rules" of Christianity. This stuff is backed by science, people.
Produced by the hypothalamus, there's this really cool hormone called oxytocin that's secreted by both men and women during sex. This hormone is crazy awesome and just does a lot of really neat things, especially in women. If you like to science, check that out sometime. This hormone is literally referred to as the "bonding" and "love hormone" for what it does in us. Women secrete oxytocin in crazy-concentrated and really high amounts during childbirth, as well as breast feeding. But this totally makes sense, right? During childbirth, women experience an obvious amount of pain and agony, details unnecessary. But because of this hormone, they are so bonded to their baby, that they not only get through the childbirth, but they crave the experience again so they can feel more of this love and attachment. Men of course don't breast feed nearly as often as women do, so they only experience the joys of oxytocin during sex.
This "bonding hormone" binds us. It makes us feel happier, more secure, more trusting. But as much as it binds us, it blinds us. This can be really beautiful and necessary in a marriage. It binds us and it blinds us to the petty things that intrude upon marriages and make them hairy.
But what happens when we blind ourselves in a dating relationship? We run through red lights. We ignore the very warnings and road signs that God puts before us. Rather than viewing our relationship as a trial for marriage, we become married; married to this blinding bond that we've created, the very bond a mother experiences with her newborn child. We remain in a relationship with a partner that's not perfect for us, something that we often don't realize until years later when we've already joined in marriage.
Waiting for marriage is the opposite of easy. The desires are there; they are strong, they are beautiful, and they are so natural. Our hunger for sex is as innate as our hunger for food. As humans, we crave it. But this love that we crave and this bond that we create is not designed to be broken. Each time we build and break this bond with a new person, we weaken its power and its ability on our marriage with our spouse.
The secret to the best sex isn't a secret. We all know it, though we try to ignore it. To build a clear-minded and un-blinded relationship, learn to work through the issues, have constructive arguments, and see all of the truths (both good and bad) is to build a strong foundation for the happiest marriage and not simply the best, but the most fulfilling sex of your life.
I grew up in a religious family. I spent every Wednesday of K-12 at my obligatory weekly catechism. I've never slept past 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday. At a young age, I received Holy Communion, I enjoyed the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and was a confirmed Catholic at the age of 12. I loved being Catholic and told myself at a younger age that dating someone who wasn't simply wouldn't work.
I came to college, continued practicing my faith, never missed a mass. I continued going through the routine of the Catholic church and was what I considered to be a "Good Catholic." I have strong values, but to say that I perfectly lived them out would be a stretch of the truth. I had my share of drunken escapades and random make-outs in my freshman year of college. I justified my less than holy lifestyle through relativism and regular attendance at church. I was still a devout and passionate Catholic saving myself for something bigger and someone better but it wasn't until the beginning of my junior year of college that I found a reason for why the Catholic church was my home.
Though I spent my life in search of the "nice Catholic man" that mom promised was waiting for me, in the summer going into my junior year, I found myself head over heels in love with a Baptist (INSERT DRAMATIC GASPS). Though he wasn't Catholic, he attended church with me. I soon found that everything was questioned; he asked questions that I realized I couldn't answer. I spent my entire life in this church. Why did I not know what "PAX" meant, why we pray with saints, the significance of the rosary, why the priest is wearing purple, or the reason why we call him "Father"? ..."Why can't I receive communion?"
I spent my life believing in the Catholic church. But why? It took no time to realize that I was terribly uneducated. My instinctive answer to every question was a sad, "Well... Because."
Dating a non-Catholic was the best thing that ever happened to me. From the beginning, we vowed to grow closer to each other only through Him; we promised to live a Christian relationship, we set boundaries and made the decision to wait with each other. To answer his questions, I educated myself. CatholicAnswers soon became my most frequently visited website. I read books and attended Catholic conferences and retreats, listened to audiobooks, podcasts, and talked to priests. I finally had the opportunity to fully fall in love with the church that held my heart. I never expected him to convert to the church, but if I valued his presence in mass next to me, I realized I needed to find my own value for being there.
Had I dated the "nice Catholic man" I sought, I never would have had the opportunity to rediscover Catholicism. Two years later, this virtuous man that has taught me the meaning of self-sacrificial love is joining my hand and my heart in the Catholic church. Leading him through conversion has been the best experience of my life and through it, I have found reasons for why the church is my home that are finally able to transcend beyond "because my parents raised me here."
This is not to say that rediscovering Catholicism will only occur through dating a non-Catholic, but had I not opened my heart and mind, I would still be an uneducated Catholic stuck in a routine. There are a multitude of ways for you to find your heart in the church again, I was just blessed enough to find mine by losing myself in the love of another.
Proof that a relationship can be founded upon the ripped off
corner of a scrap piece of paper.