Every year, consumers spend millions of dollars for Valentine’s Day, whether it’s to purchase flowers, chocolates, cards, candy hearts, and stuffed animals. It’s insane to see how much money is spent to prove one’s “love” for their significant others, families, and friends. For the record, I wait to buy the left over chocolates for a 50% discount the next day.
Though Valentine’s Day is not an official Catholic Holiday, it’s beautiful to have a special day to celebrate the love shared between all persons. Whether you are single or married, Valentine’s Day reminds us all of our inner desire to be cherished and loved.
For those of us who are single, it can be difficult to navigate through Valentine’s Day without feeling hints of sadness or loneliness. We begin imagining what our lives would be like if we had someone out there who would care for us as much as Jim Halpert did for Pam Beasley in The Office. We begin pitying ourselves and asking why God hasn’t provided us with the perfect person to receive and reciprocate our love.
Isn’t God the one who inspired the Bible which begins with a marriage in the book of Genesis (the marriage between Adam and Eve) and ends with a marriage in Revelation (the marriage between Christ and the Church)? If God has written the greatest love story ever told and said that it is “not good for man to be alone,” then why are so many people today single? How do we discern where God is leading us at this stage in life? Here are 3 helpful ways to navigate being single and Catholic (especially on Valentine’s Day).
Desires and Priorities are very important in our lives since they say a lot about what kind of people we are and offer insight into what matters most to us. They impact the decisions we make, the people we surround ourselves with, the work we undertake, the attitudes we bring to everything we do, and the way we communicate with each other. They give structure to our lives and help us live out our vocation to love God and others.
It’s good to keep our priorities in order as we discern God’s will! In fact, the word “priority” comes from the Latin word Prior meaning precedence in right or rank. Our priorities help us live our faith lives to the best of our abilities. When we are more intentional with our priorities, we begin unifying ourselves to God’s will. This leads to continual repentance and conversion within our hearts. In turn, we begin to understand what God is seeking from us.
The word “desire” comes from the Latin word Desiderare meaning “to look to the stars” (from the phrase de sidere “from the stars”). Our desires come from something, or someone who is found beyond the stars. Our desires come from God. There is something burning within each of us for the true, the good, and the beautiful. God has given us these good desires because He intends to fulfill them.
Our very bodies tell the story of our incompleteness to this truth, goodness, and beauty- a man’s body does not make sense by itself and a woman’s body does not make sense by itself either. Only when seen in light with other is the picture complete. That is where the Theology of the Body comes into play. Human sexuality (our maleness and femaleness and the call to completion) provides us vital information on what God expects of us. Our bodies give us clues to the very meaning of existence and the path to the ultimate satisfaction of our deepest desires.
As men and women God creates us with a desire for union- precisely to tell the story of His love for us.
But wait, we are single! How can we, in our incompleteness, know God?
God has entrusted us to become total self-gift to all those we love and serve. That is what Jesus did. He gave all of himself to the Church, and that is what He is asking us to do too.
We are all given a specific mission to fulfill on this earth. Each one of us has been given the task to offer all of ourselves to those we serve. Husbands are called to give all of themselves to their wives (bodily and spiritually) – it’s the same for the wives—and it’s the same for married couples, except then it’s for their children. It’s also the same for those in the Priestly or Religious vocations. They are called to give all of themselves to God and to their spiritual families. As single Catholics, we must do the same. We must stop worrying so much about ourselves and focus on our families, friends, communities, and even the world.
Let’s face it, many of us have gotten so wrapped up in the fact that we are still single, that we have forgotten our main purpose in life. We so easily forget that God has called us to sacrifice ourselves for those around us.
We need to focus on what God wants of us today and let Him worry about our “tomorrow.” It’s easier said than done, but God gives us all a season of singleness to serve Him in many ways. We must think of it this way: before we can truly love another, we must be secure and content in His Love alone.
It is in our greatest times of loneliness, that He can inspire us to look beyond ourselves and serve those who are even lonelier than we are. Think about it, the happiest people on earth are those who forget about themselves.
In this season of singleness, turn to prayer and ask God how He wants you to serve Him and others. Keep a journal, see the patterns in your life, speak with a Spiritual Director, and, most importantly, trust in God’s will. We must always remember what Jesus said, “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:12-13). Stay blessed my friends.
Carolina Soares is the Event Coordinator of Array of Hope. She received a Master’s Degree in Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University. She is a Portuguese geek who is very passionate about her Catholic faith and family! She looks up to Saint Teresa of Calcutta for inspiration and thinks C.S. Lewis is pretty amazing!