Not Only a Husband but Also a Father


Today is Father’s Day… A day where we honor the men who are biological, adoptive, and spiritual fathers. It is a beautiful time to reflect on those men who have stepped up to fill the demanding and beautiful role of raising children. I am blessed to be able to say that I have a wonderful father who is truly a hardworking patriarch and source of laughs for our family. He is a man of feeling and of strength.

In the midst of appreciating my own father , I began to think of all of my sisters in Christ who are discerning a man in their life. There are so many times when we talk to one another about good qualities that would carry on into marriage; things like kindness, honesty, gratitude, attentiveness, and affection. Something that we don’t always look at as immediately important is their ability to be good fathers.

If a woman is called to the vocation of marriage, she may want to consider both the husband-like and father-like qualities of the man.

When St. Joseph was chosen by God as the foster father of Jesus, both the care of our Blessed Mother and of Jesus were entrusted to him. He was appointed as both husband and father- a two fold calling. Set up by the Church as a role model for holy fathers, we can learn a lot from St Joseph about what to look for in our own boyfriends, fiancées and love interests.

In father Lawrence Lovasiks book “The Catholic Family handbook” he writes “Fatherhood is a vocation in Gods service, to be not held lightly or frivolously, but with the serious determination of serious men”. Fatherhood is not something that we should view as an easy, cross-less path. It is one that requires much strength and intense sacrifice.

The first thing to look for in a man whom one is discerning is this strength. By this, physical strength is by no means implied. This type of strength is a firmness of character and a resolve to do what is right. It is a drive to be honest, virtuous, and to stand firm against spiritual attacks. Saint Joseph was charged to protect the Christ child and his mother from various attackers and threats to their lives in the early years of Jesus’ life.

This strength is what will drive him to pray for his family and protect them from anything that may try to come between family members whether it be arguments, misunderstandings, or other outside influences. This strength acts as a glue which grounds the entire family unit spiritually and mentally.

It has been said that “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”. While I would add that above all he need to love God and serve him, this order of loving the spouse and living the children through this love is very important. Why? You may ask. Some may think it is more important to directly love the children first and foremost.

By loving the mother first, a father shows his children that there is a correct order to the world. By seeing their mother loved correctly, children learn to love correctly and healthily. They know that before anything, their parents are united. They also know that their parents, because of their immense love for one another, have not only created them by the grace of God but also are now able to sustain them through the love that they share. It provides stability and joy in the home when parents are united in such a way.

Within this thought, something to look at is the WAY this person loves you. If you find yourself to be a priority in their life and you notice that the two of you are able to work to understand one another even in the midst of argument, this is a positive sign of healthy future parenting.

To be your significant other’s priority is something that seems like a great asset in dating but when it comes to marriage it is a necessity. A husband and wife pledge to be as one flesh together. To neglect one another is as to neglect ones own self.

St Joseph doesn’t say much in the Bible, in fact, he doesn’t say a single word in any of the Gospels. He was a hard working man who completely submitted his will to the will of God. While there are many things we do not know about St Joseph, scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18).

It’s not about what a man says or plans for the future, or how he looks/smells. It’s about his heart. To have a righteous(Virtuous/excellent) heart is something so crucial to being a good father and working to raise good children.

Children learn so many things from their fathers. If their father is righteous, all of the other qualities mentioned above will follow and the children will in turn have a great role model.

No one in this world is perfect but there is plenty of goodness to go around. We are all capable of it and we are called to not only goodness but to greatness.

We cannot expect others to be flawless but it is not wrong to desire greatness. I have heard it said that If you want to find your St. Joseph, model yourself after the Blessed Mother. Holiness is attractive and it is also inspiring.

Ladies, let us strive to follow the humility, love, and purity of the blessed Mother. Let us draw the men in our lives to holiness through our beautiful example that we are oh so capable of.

And men- thank you for your strength, righteousness, and holy Chastity. Taking St Joseph as your patron, draw women to a higher awareness of their dignity and help us get to heaven.

For any single persons reading this, St Joseph is a powerful intercessor for families and couples. I would highly recommend praying his novena- even now- for your future spouse.

“O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St Joseph patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.”

May God bless you all and I will be praying as all of you seek to live out your vocation in the holiest way possible.

God loves you so much and so do I!

1 Corinthians 13

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Dress Like You Mean it: How to Keep it Classy this Summer

As I browsed through the clothing racks of my favorite store the other day, my thoughts were something similar to “so if you pair the high waisted shorts with a crop top the shirt won’t be short anymore… But then the shorts are too short too… so either way my entire legs and potentially my stomach and probably everything else will be exposed to the world and there’s no support for classy dress anymore and I’m going to have to knit my own clothes this summer.” … And that is probably where most people who are trying to dress modestly find themselves around this time of year. So what do we do? Do we give up entirely or do we spend hours looking on Pinterest for “modest summer clothes” and hunting down any lead we can find to the nearest clothing of reasonable length?

It is hard to be classy and keep up with trends at the same time. I am—and always have been—very much into fashion. I enjoy seeing new colors and styles that are on the market and I love helping friends pick out their outfits for special occasions.
Summer has always been a tricky season to dress for. It’s hot, people are all wearing basically nothing, and it’s hot. It’s hot. And it can be really hot. Modesty seems to be the last thing that people are worrying about from June to September and I get it because literally—it’s hot.

However, something that I want to remind us all of is that regardless of our temperature, we are our brothers and also our sisters keeper. Additionally, we are the ones that God has trusted to take care of our bodies. Don’t forget that when we choose to wear something, we will be around men who are the future husbands of our sisters in Christ… We will be around our little sisters in Christ who are looking for someone to look up to, we will be around our fellow sisters who are influenced by what we wear.

What you wear matters.

So I am including below some of my tried and true approaches to summer fashion. I have also included some suggestions of where I like to find these articles of clothing. There are definitely more places out there where you can find these things 

#1) MONOKINI.
Wow what a strange word. Basically, one pieces are all the rage right now anyway so this fashion pick is not only modest- but is also extremely cute and current.
Some places that I have found that have super cute one pieces are
-reyswimwear.com
-radswim.com
-anthropologie.com

Here is a link with some very cute suits within it if you dig the vintage Audrey Hepburn style http://verilymag.com/2016/05/iconic-bathing-suits-vintage-retro-swimsuits-audrey-hepburn-elizabeth-taylor-one-piece

#2) 3 ½” TWILL SHORTS
These shorts are super cute and also very in right now. The length is comfortable and is neither too short nor too long. I know that there are people who are taller than me so there are also 4 and 5” varieties. My favorite place to buy these are
-Old Navy
-TJ Maxx
-Tommy Hilfiger (outlet)

#3) TOPS- ¾ SLEEVE BUTTON DOWNS, SLOUCHY TEES, AND THICK-STRAP TANK TOPS.
Shirts are a little easier to pick out. My advice for tops is to make sure you can move around in them without feeling like you’re going to fall out of them. If you can feel the breeze on your stomach or torso, you might want to go back to store and buy an entire shirt.

My personal picks for places to buy tops:
-Marshalls
-Loft
-Kohls (The Lauren Conrad Collection is great)
-Once again TJ Maxx
-Old Navy
-Jones New York

It is all too easy to buy summer clothes without thinking too much about what effect our choices will have on others. Let’s strive to leave a positive impact on those around us by dressing in such a way that we honor our dignity and theirs. Let us be good sisters to one another. Let us be unapologetically fashionable and above all, let us be a little bit classy and a whole lot of holy.

While it may require a little bit more shopping around than usual, a classy, smart, and fashionable wardrobe is definitely within reach. Do it for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Clothe your body in a way that reflects your inherent dignity.

I am praying for you all as you enter this season of difficult fashion trends.

God loves you so much and so do I !

1 Corinthians 13

A Case for Modern Dating


I sat around the kitchen table and watched my grandmother open her mother’s day gifts from my mom. I couldn’t help but notice the way that she showed my grandfather every gift that she pulled out of the gift basket. When she was done reading the card, she passed it my grandfather so he could read it too.

I remembered at that moment a conversation that I had with my mom about them months before. She told me “They have always done everything together, even grocery shopping was something that they would use to be together… even after decades of marriage they still do these little things together”. My mom told me about the way that all of her siblings could see how in love their parents were. Today I saw what it means that “the two become one”. My grandparents love one another in such a way that if you give a gift to one, it becomes a gift to the other as well.

My mom’s stories left me starry eyed and dreaming of a future where I could experience the same kind of love. My grandparents have been married for over 50 years and I can feel my grandparents love for one another whenever I am around them.

Unfortunately, the basis for many contemporary relationships is not this type of dedication and intentionality. It seems as though our culture is endorsing a lax desire for closeness without sacrifice. It encourages a fear of losing friends, of changing habits, and, in extreme cases, losing yourself. All of these fears are directed at young couples and try to suppress any real kind of holy sacrifice or effort that they might put into a relationship.

Young people are settling for relationships which are contained within the sphere of their own home or even just through their cell phones. Our relationships have somehow moved from excitement, sacrifice, love, and romance to a kind of objective, boring, semi friendship mixed with the utmost intimacy.

The prevalence of the “Netflix and Chill” culture is poisoning modern relationships.
The only way that our generation can overcome this twisted norm of relationships which seem so gray and unexciting is by dating. Like honestly, GO ON DATES. It can be hard to really get to truly know and fall in love with someone if your relationship is founded on bodily intimacy and only spending time together behind closed doors.

St John reminds us that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” (John 4:18)

So be bold and intentional within your relationships. You may be thinking “well I’m broke and there is nothing to do near me”. While that may be valid, dating isn’t just about going to fancy dinners or events together. Make your daily routines inclusive of the other; go to the store, grab a burger, take a mini day trip, go to daily mass together and then cook breakfast.

Whatever it is that you do, make it a date by paying complete attention to the other. Let car rides be something that draws you closer to one another, allow anything that you need to do throughout the day become a new way of getting to know the other person.

My grandparents would probably not have been able to maintain their beautiful love for one another if they never did anything together in public. Relationships are not shameful or anything that should be concealed from the world. Our human relationships that are oriented towards marriage glorify God if we allow them to.

It is when couples do things side by side that they get a chance to learn very real things about one another. Favorite sports, favorite coffee shop, the way they interact with their friends and family, how you work together to deal with the little bumps in the road that will undoubtedly come up, how they goof off whenever they have too much sugar, what their relationship with God looks like.. You learn where your personalities are in sync and where there is friction and a need for compromise. These are all things which encourage love and understanding between people.

While intentionally getting out and dating someone does not 100% of the time lead to marriage, it gives your relationship the best effort that it can be given.

Do not let fear of commitment or rejection keep you from experiencing a good, healthy, honest relationship. Enable your relationship become an example and inspiration for generations to come.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI reminded us “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness”. Let your relationships be great. Reject the comfort of non-commitment that is so endorsed by our culture.
I am praying for all of you as you form and maintain holy relationships.

God loves you so much and so do I.
1 Corinthians 13

How to be Single (For Now)

About a year ago, I was talking to a good friend about a dilemma that was weighing heavily on my heart. I felt so ready to just date someone and eventually get married but the problem was that there wasn’t anyone in my life who interested me in that way. It brought me to despair a little to think that at a ripe young age I was already destined to end up an old dog lady (sorry not sorry to all cats reading this. It’s not my fault you have claws and dogs are nicer). In all honesty, this thought was really upsetting to me because I didn’t understand why I had such a strong desire and seemingly nothing to do with it. Cue the classic “Saint Anne Saint Anne find me a man as fast as you can” prayers and St. Joseph Novenas.

My friend asked me if I had thought about praying that I can become the woman I need to be in order to best love this person when I do meet them. Of course that was a stupid question because obviously I was ready. I mean come on… I was attending daily mass and going to adoration whenever I could spare time between classes… And besides that I already knew how to cook any meal that I could google a recipe for. My life just screamed “I’m ready for him Lord”. Spiritually and mentally I thought I was there.

I didn’t understand why the Lord was allowing me to remain single. What was I doing wrong? Did I need to pray more? Was it because I wasn’t pretty enough? Was I just not called to be happy? I had no clue what the answers were to these questions but that didn’t stop me from asking myself 4,000 times a day.

I didn’t get a clear answer to any of these questions until more recently. In the year since that conversation, I have come to see why my friend asked me about becoming that person I needed to be first. Through all of my experiences since then, my heart has grown and changed, I have encountered God’s love in ways that I never expected and I have learned how unpredictable and beautiful Gods plan is for our lives. I learned that being single, for any amount of time, is also part of Gods will.

Being single isn’t a waiting period- as much as it may feel like it. It is a time to live, a time to learn, and a time to love. It is just as much a part of God’s plan for your life as being in a relationship is.

Whether we are single or not, we are called to live a life of love, sacrifice, and holiness. God knows every detail of every day that we will live….Just take a second to really breathe that in. Every second, every minute of our lives is already known by Him. There is never a need to despair or lose hope. The Lord loves you and he desires your peace and your happiness.

I was reflecting the other day on the Bible passage where the lord says to Jeremiah “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) it brought me to understand God’s great plan for me and the presence of His love filling my life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know about.

Time spent single is a blessing… use it to become someone who is able to love the Lord and listen to Him with your heart… pray that He shows you how much He loves you and how worthy you are of a very real and total love.

A verse that I often use to help myself understand his love for me is this: “Listen daughter and pay careful attention: forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” (Psalm 45 10-11) The Lord is literally amazed by your beauty. So go see Him.

I want to invite you to spend an extra ten minutes a day with the Lord in the upcoming weeks. Just let Him look at you (whether you go to adoration or set aside time to pray) take this time to forget all anxiety or worry that may be filling your heart and get ready for the peace that only time with the Lord can give.

Pray that you can become the person you need to be in order to better love that person that you will be called to love.

Let this time of being single turn into the start of a beautiful relationship with God, yourself, others, and eventually that beautiful person or calling that will be your vocation.

I will be praying for all of you as you approach the Lord for comfort and reassurance as you near your calling.

Rejoice and be glad because God Loves you tremendously and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

 

How to Avoid Using Others As Explained By Coffee

  
The other day I was thinking about coffee. This is not an unusual occurrence in my life seeing as I can’t even seem to form complete sentences until I get my cup of Joe in the morning. This thought, however, was less about how good coffee tastes and more about how I drink it.

There are two very different ways of drinking a cup of coffee: You either enjoy it in a mug, or you take it on the run in a disposable cup. Both of these avenues provide you with a nice jolt of caffeine and both probably taste relatively the same. The big difference I see between these approaches is how the product is used and what kind of experience it produces.

When you drink coffee out of a mug, there is a considerable amount of care put into the making and cream/sugar ratio of the coffee, one then takes time to enjoy the coffee. You have to handle the cup with care so as to not spill the coffee or burn yourself. After you are finished, you have to wash the mug so you can use it again the next time you want coffee.

When you drink coffee out of a disposable cup, convenience is key. You are able to multitask while drinking the coffee and get the caffeine out of it without any mess from it spilling while you do other tasks. This experience of coffee is defined by its disposability. When you are done drinking the coffee, you throw away the cup and the next time you want a caffeine fix, you can just get a new cup.

By now you might be wondering what any of this has to do with anything but I want to pose an idea to you.

In Philippians, Saint Paul writes about how we should be treating one another. He says “Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3). This inspired my New Year’s resolution and I want to invite you to be moved in the same way.

What if, we used this New Year to treat people like coffee out of a mug? What if we all made a resolution to not use others but to act out of selflessness? I’m sure that may sound a little challenging or even confusing so I am going to connect this idea to the coffee example which I just gave.

Treating our significant others like coffee from a mug looks a little something like this:

  1. TAKE THE PROPER CARE OF THAT OTHER PERSON

The same way that we need to take time to make sure the coffee has just the right amount of cream and sugar, we also need to take the time to make sure those who we are in relationship with are getting the care and attention that they deserve from us. We need to make sure to be sensitive in the way that we speak and act towards them. This selflessness way of thinking is key in avoiding use.

  1. ENJOY THEM FOR WHO THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY CAN DO

When drinking coffee from a mug, we get to enjoy the drinking process and not just the end result of being more awake. With our significant others we need to appreciate who they are deep down and this means getting to know them. Spend more time appreciating these people in your life and get to a place where you can see them for who they are now and all that they dream of being in the future. Once we can see others as people with their own hopes, dreams, problems, and gifts, it will not only become easier for us to pray for and with them but will also help us to enjoy the journey of a maturing relationship with them and avoid using them for our own selfish purposes.

  1. KEEP IT CLEAN

Just like we need to clean any kind of residue or germs off of our mugs when we are done drinking our coffee, we need to make sure we are keeping our relationships free from buildup. This means taking care of any issues that arise in the relationship and not letting them get worse. It means being honest with that other person and thinking long term with our actions making sure they are aimed towards the goal of loving that person in the way we are called to. This will help us to discern our actions with more compassion and care for the people we are in relationships with.

Use is not what people are made for but it is something our world has become all too familiar with. Through prayer and intentionality, we can reverse the harmful effects of use in our world and in our lives.

A Bible quote that I want to share with you for this New Year is from the book of Esther and has been inspiring me in many ways, including in my relationships. It simply says “Perhaps this is the moment for which you were born” (Esther4:14).With that I want to encourage you… Do not be afraid to be bold and to be sincere in relationships this year. Treat others with respect and expect the same in return.

I will be praying for you throughout this new “use-free” year. May your coffee be hot and your relationships be holy.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

Mr. (Not exactly) Perfect

I was eating dinner with a lovely friend of mine the other night and the topic of future spouses came up somewhere in the course of the conversation. Both of us expressed the confusion we feel about the “perfect guy”. Some people say that there is no such thing as Mr. Perfect since we are all flawed and others will say “don’t settle until you find that perfect person!” so what are we, as young women, to actually believe? I would like to propose my personal take on the issue.

I would like to start by clarifying that the imperfection of humans is not to be used as an excuse for a man treating you badly. Sure, we are all flawed because of sin but that doesn’t make us bad people. We ARE capable of self-control, kindness, love, and holiness. Look for someone who is striving for these things in his life.

Concerning Mr. Perfect, I would argue that he does exist. It may not be in the way that you think of at first so keep reading if you want to know what I mean by that. I am a firm believer that God knows us better than we could ever know ourselves… and that’s a great thing because sometimes I don’t even know myself well enough to decide what I want for lunch. That being said, He knows what makes us happy and He wants that for us. Not just like the happy we get when we see our food coming in a restaurant, but the happy we get when we know that we are where we are supposed to be.

God wants this happiness for us but He will never force anything on us. Jesus tells us “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11)

Our Lord reveals Himself to us so that we may be filled with his complete joy. He alone knows how to give us a taste of His perfect love on this earth, why do we doubt that he knows the person who can best show this to us and help us grow in holiness better than anyone else could? He knows. He really does. We need to pray that we live our lives in such a way that we can come to love this person and accept their love in return.

Something that is very important to keep in mind is that your personal perfect person isn’t the objectively perfect person. He might be a terrible dancer, he might think that orange and pink are complimentary colors, he might not be the most romantic person in the world; but he will love you.

While he may not come out as the stereotypical Mr. Perfect prototype complete with a sports car and 5 Olympic gold medals, I do think that it will be easy to Recognize and appreciate Christ loving you through him and that will in turn enable you to grow in holiness and also be Christ to him as well.

I want to close with something I wrote in my journal when I was younger and has stuck with me ever since “If a guy doesn’t make you feel like you’re the most beautiful girl in the world to him, dump his sorry butt on the ground. God has someone in mind who will love you to the point that you will feel God loving you through them.”

I know this is a strong statement but this is what your perfect person looks like. He is the man who will love you better than anyone else could. He’s not perfect in the strict sense of the word but he is the most perfect person when it comes to helping you grow in holiness and love.

Don’t give up hope and do not doubt Gods perfect desire for your happiness. Pray for your future spouse, pray for yourself as you grow to be able to better love them. Pray for your other brothers and sisters in Christ who are looking for this love.

St Raphael, patron of the happy meetings of future spouses, Pray for us!

I am praying for you.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

The Importance of Prayer in Relationships

I recently took a 9 day pilgrimage to Betania, Venezuela where the church has approved several apparitions of the Blessed Mother to a woman who is now on her way to sainthood. This woman’s name is Maria Esperanza and we stayed on her property with her family and family friends while we were there.

Before leaving my home for the airport that Saturday morning, a book caught my eye and I decided to bring it with me for the 8+ hours that we would be spending in a plane that day. The book “The World’s First Love” by Ven. Fulton Sheen had been given to me months before by a good priest friend of mine and I hadn’t picked it up in a while.

Somewhere between Philadelphia and Venezuela I read a line that really blew my mind in an extremely simple way. It said

“It takes not two to love, but three: you and you and Jesus… Married couples ought to say the Rosary together each night, for their common prayer is more than the separate prayers of each”.

Being a 20 year old unmarried college student, I could be tempted to think that this quote holds no immediate relevance to my life. However, my first thought was quite the opposite; I realized that it holds an utmost importance to every person young or old no matter what their vocation is. What we do now prepares us for what is to come.

For those called to religious life or to the priesthood, you will benefit greatly from this because it is how you will court the church and learn the ways of faith before being brought into full consecrated union with her. A rich prayer life will lead to a fruitful ministry in your life-giving mission of saving souls.

If you are called to marriage; whether you are currently single or dating, this is a habit to start immediately. The single person has the duty of preparing themselves for what God wants from them through prayer and through action. By developing a prayer life, you are giving God the go-ahead to radically change your life for the better and consequentially bring you that much closer to the realization of your calling.

St Paul says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians5:16-18.

Trust that God is working through your singleness to better prepare you for the happiness He has in store for you.

For those who are currently in a relationship, you should know that dating is a process of discernment leading towards marriage- couples who have this in mind should look ahead and realize that the habits they form at this stage will lead into what kind of marriage they will build. Couples who regularly pray together before they are married will have that deeply rooted groundwork set to carry them into an even more in-depth connection with one another together with our Lord.

In the gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us “truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20

The power of the prayers of a husband and wife who choose not only to be one with each other but also with the Lord is something so beautiful and inconceivable. It is something to be desired and sought after. To have that other person you pray with for your petitions be the love of your life… now that is truly remarkable. That is the kind of love and commitment that will change our world.

Here is a short prayer for you that I picked up while in Betania: “Saint Anthony, make me blissful in my marriage. Grant me complete joy together with my spouse, for you visit those who marry.”- Servant of God Maria Esperanza. This can be prayed either in the anticipation or in the realization of your vocation.

I will be praying for all of you as you grow in this beautiful adventure of love with our Lord and with one another.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

He’s Just Not That Into You(r Faith)

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You have feelings for him; he’s handsome, he cares about you, he gets along with your crazy family… BUT… he doesn’t share your faith. When the whole “flirt to convert” thing doesn’t work out, many women find themselves in this tricky situation and are seemingly torn between their heart and their conscience. Having previously been in and witnessed many relationships like this, I think there are two possible ways to work with them; either you need to work things out in a way that will benefit both of your journeys to God, or you need to break it off for the time being if not permanently.

That may sound like a very black and white way to look at a situation where feelings are involved but I would like to propose a certain way of looking at it. Dating relationships are for getting to know another person on a more intimate level and will either end in a break-up or a wedding. If you are planning on eventually breaking up with the person you are dating, there is no point in prolonging your relationship. But if you are in your relationship with the hope of a long future, there are certain things to be mindful of.

The first question you might ask yourself is: is he striving for the same things that mean a lot to me? Being in a relationship with someone is all about helping one another along the path of life and eventually Heaven. If your faith means a lot to you, you will want to grow in it and become the best that you can. Does he help you with this or does he hold you back?

In the book of Corinthians, St. Paul says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) Not saying that your boyfriend is “wicked” or “darkness” but think about what St. Paul is saying… Is your guy pulling his weight when it comes to virtue or is he pulling you back?

I know that there are great and beautiful souls who happen to not be practicing Catholics. I’m not saying that these people are bad. What I am saying is that you may want to take a second look and make sure that unshared morals doesn’t equal uneven morals. If you are working towards a pure and chaste relationship, you already know how hard that can be. When the other person in the relationship is not reaching for that same goal and you have no one to hold you accountable, it becomes easier to fall into sin.

Whether you are in a relationship like the one described above or not, I encourage you to continuously pray for your future vocation whether it be to marriage, religious, or single life. Pray that you may always do Gods will in order to bring His perfect plan for your life to fulfilment. God has a plan for you. His plan will bring true happiness and peace. Do not lose hope and do not settle for anything less than the love that will get you to heaven one day. And on that glorious day when you stand in front of the throne of God and hear Him say “well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much, Enter the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21) you can look to that special person who helped you get there and thank him. It will take sacrifice to get there but it will be more than worth it.

I am praying for you now and always as you seek holy relationships.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

Is He Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong?

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Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not the person that we ladies spend all of our time thinking about, texting, and/or crushing on will actually be good for us in the long run. If a guy is handsome, charming, and smells nice… chances are we don’t mind his 300 other girlfriends, the questionable way that he never texts back, or his possible criminal record.

I mean, I understand that he has a gorgeous smile but there are more things to consider here. A nice smile doesn’t mean much when you want to have a heart to heart conversation about your faith or something that means a lot to you.

I was in adoration recently and I opened up my Bible to Ephesians 5:25 where St. Paul gives the women of the Church a fantastic guideline for making sure they are in a good relationship. He writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

What criteria does this give us for when we are discerning a relationship?

Well first of all, is this person selfless? Christ “Gave himself up” for the church out of love for her, if Christ only thought about himself, he would not have been loving perfectly. Instead, he does not think about himself at all. St Paul reinforces this point in 1 Corinthians 13:5 when he says that “(love) is not selfish.” If your guy just wants to talk about himself all the time, it’s probably high time to move on. You’ve got more important things to do than listen to him brag about how many grapes he can fit in his mouth.

Next, does this person love you? Now I know that is a very serious question and most people over the age of twelve don’t say “I love you” in a relationship until they have been dating for 300+ years… but love in one of its many forms is the preference of another’s happiness over your own. If your guy is constantly canceling his plans with you to hang out with his other friends… That could be a red flag concerning how much he actually cares for you. I’m definitely not saying that you should be his only friend or that he can only hang out with you, but if your plans together get pushed aside or forgotten by him a lot, you may want to take a harder look at your relationship.

Finally, while this person will most likely not be asked to give himself up for you in a death like Christ’s, he will be asked to die to himself and his passions every single day in order to preserve your purity. Does he die to his impure passions for the good of your relationship? The struggle to remain pure in a relationship should be something that you can both unite to take on together. If he does not fight to defend your purity then he is not respecting you in the way that you deserve to be respected most. You are a priceless creation that deserves to be guarded and loved in the right way. If he does not see that, you most definitely should get him a new pair of glasses and promptly show him the way to the door.

Relationships are not easy, love is not easy, and discerning both of these things can be exhausting. Thankfully, we as a church have wonderful examples of love to follow and learn from.

I will pray for all of you as you pursue holy relationships.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

50 Shades of Authentic Love: College Women Say What They Really Want

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With 50 Shades of Gray coming out this St. Valentine’s Day weekend, it may be easy to wonder what ever happened to romance. I know that it is in the human heart to desire something greater than the kind of affection that we are being shown through the media. It almost seems like we as a culture have forgotten how to show people that we are interested in them without getting overly physical and flat-out gross. I interviewed 50 college women from Mount St. Mary’s University and asked them what guys can do to make them feel loved and respected…

The results are beautiful:

  1. “Something small and spontaneous like leaving a note or a flower.” –K.E.

2.”When he notices something small… like a smile.” –M.H.

3.”Actually listen. That’s very important to me.”-S.B.

4.”Hold the door. Don’t just push the handicap button.”-K.W.

5.”Surprises. Just surprises.”-E.S.

6.”Offer your place in line to her.” K.W.

7.”Kiss her forehead”- E.R.

8.”when they hold your hand. It’s intimate without being overly-so.”-F.M.

9.”Give up your seat for her.”-E.S

10.”Respect us for who we are and not just how we look.”- J.H.

11.”When they play with your hair.”-J.H.

12.”When a guy lets you walk up to communion first.”-S.B.

13.”Just like holding the door, pulling your seat out, little stuff like that.”-K.Q.

14.”When he brings God into the relationship.”-H.R.J

15.”When they make you something.”-G.H.

16.”When they give you a compliment that’s not appearance based.”-M.O.

17.”When they complement you in a way that’s not flirtatious.”-K.Q.

18.”Ask how you can pray for her. It’s a beautiful way to build the relationship from the inside out.”-E.G.

19.”Give us a hug and listen.”-J.D.

20.”Offer me tea when I’m sick.” T.S.

21.”Give me candy on a bad day.”-H.M.

22.”Text me randomly throughout the day and invite me to hang out with your friends.”-A.W.

23.”Write me a poem or a song.”-M.S.

24.”Bring me something to feel better when I’m not feeling well.”-H.A.

25.”He called me and asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted to see him. He told me to look outside and he was standing there.”-A.K.K.

26.” When he makes dinner with me.”-M.S.

27.”Dancing with me when my favorite song comes on.”-A.K.

28.”Slow dancing.” –K.E.

29.”Go to mass together.”-M.S.

30.”When he tells you to wait for him just so he can say bye to you.”-J.C.

31.”He left a single rose outside my door when he was on his way to work.”-K.S.

32.”When he gets nervous. I think that’s really cute.”-N.C.

33.”The small stuff. Like getting my favorite candy or flowers.” –A.K.

34.”Pray with me.”-V.F.

35.”When they kiss your forehead.”-C.C.

36.”When they pray with you or write you a letter.”-R.H.

37.”When he picks you up.”-M.C.

38.”When they surprise you and visit you.”-M.R.

39.”Give me food. I know it sounds bad but I love food.”-N.R.

40.”Text me good morning or goodnight.”-M.R.

41.”Give me a hug when I need it.”-Y.F.

42.”Scavenger hunt.”-A.K.

43.”He bought me the girl version of the cologne that he wears because I like it so much.”-S.B.

44.”Handwritten notes and letters.”-A.G.

45.”When they sit down and listen to you.”-K.V.D.

46.”Telling a lame joke and then trying to make up for it. I think that’s really cute.”-R.O.

47.”Putting off spending time with friends to spend time with you.”-K.E.

48.”Takes an interest in something you’re passionate about.”-B.R.

49)”Open the car door for you.”-A.D.

50.” (From me, Rebekah) “I think it’s really cute when guys notice something that I do without thinking or facial expressions that I make. It shows me that they’re paying attention.”-R.H.

Gentlemen, take notes. This is what the girls around you want. Christian Gray doesn’t have anything on a Catholic man.

I will continue to pray for you all as you stand up to the culture and demand real Love.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13