Christmas Presents, Catholic Presence, and Dating
Mr. Chemistry Lips
Choo-choo, Cha-cha, and Childish: Part Two
Choo-choo, Cha-cha, and Childish: Part One
Okay, I Admit It. I'm Desperate! Part Two
Okay, I Admit It. I'm Desperate! Part One
Why Am I Still Single? Part Two
Why Am I Still Single? Part One
Survive or Thrive?
How Open Is Your Marriage Window?
Angels, Demons, and Dating
|Survive or Thrive?
Written by Anastasia Northrop
We have been raised in an era of "radical privacy."
According to national Catholic speaker Dave Sloan, "radical
privacy" is the concept upon which the "right" to abortion
was granted to women in Roe vs. Wade, and upon which
the acceptance of contraception in our country is based.
This belief has proceeded to invade the consciousness of
Americans, to the point that we are convinced that, as "free
individuals" we have the "right" to make whatever decisions
we wish, as long as they don't directly harm someone else.
Is the isolated individualism that we now face what we as
singles really want? Is this what corresponds to the deepest
desires in our hearts? I know I can't speak for all, but I
speak for many when I assert that we as singles don't want to
believe that our single life is a final vocation, but that
it's a phase of preparation for the day when we will make a
free, total gift of self through the married life or the
celibate vocation. Unlike those who defend the growing trend
of singles today and try to make us believe that single life
is really a very satisfying way of life (for example, see www.unmarriedamerica.com), most of us
see the emptiness of a life uncommitted to a good greater
than ourselves, to a life not lived in communion with others.
But the question is: How are we spending this phase of
preparation for making a complete, life-long commitment of
ourselves to another? Does further developing our
individualism really help us become more others-oriented? Do
we really want to thrive – or just survive?
"Being a person means striving towards
self-realization, which can only be achieved
"through a sincere gift of self."...To say that
man is created in the image and likeness of God means
that man is called to exist "for" others, to become a
gift." (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women 7)
Our society constantly emphasizes the importance of
self-fulfillment through our doing everything for "me."
But upon searching deep into our hearts we realize that
no, we're not going to really be
fulfilled except through a free and selfless gift of
ourselves to others. The whole idea of living life as
a gift of self requires a radical paradigm shift for
single Catholics today.
In order to accomplish this paradigm shift we can start
thinking in terms of "giving a gift" instead of in
terms of "getting as much as we can" in relation to our
families. If we're single, it's likely that we don't
have our own families (obviously no spouse and very
possibly no children). But we all come from a
family (whether that family is "intact" or not). Not
only are married couples called to be a sign of God's
love for the world, but all of the individuals in a
particular family are also called to live in communion
as a sign to the world. It is so easy to think that
somehow a family is just a random collection of
individuals that do their own thing while happening to
be born of the same two parents. But Pope John Paul II
made it clear that families do indeed have a particular
responsibility as a result of their very nature. He
said to all families, "Become what you
are." What is a family? It was created by God
to be a community of life and love. If the
nature of a family is a community of life and love,
then the primary goal and mission of each and every
family is to live that reality to the fullest, to LOVE.
In his apostolic exhortation The Role of the
Christian Family in the Modern World John Paul II
wrote, "Looking at it in such a way as to reach its
very roots, we must say that the essence and role of
the family are in the final analysis specified by love.
Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal
and communicate love, and this is a living
reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for
humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church
His bride. Every particular task of the family is an
expression and an actuation of that fundamental
mission." (Role of the Christian Family 17) In
other words, as communities of life and love, families
have the responsibility, yes, the obligation to
be witnesses to the world of God's love. As single
adults we must take that call seriously. In this age
of technology, we can't let physical distance become an
excuse for neglecting the biological family that God
has given us.
Of course, many times there are issues other than
physical distance which keep us far from our biological
families. We must remember that along with our efforts
toward communion with them, we are also called to live
in the family life of the Church, to build close
relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Admittedly, the Church has been slow to recognize the
need for ministry to the rapidly growing numbers of
single people, but we can't use that as an excuse to
remain uninvolved in our parishes and dioceses. If
there is something not happening, then perhaps we are
called to start it. If we can view this time of
singleness in our lives as a time to use our freedom to
make a gift of ourselves as spiritual mothers
and fathers, we can go a long way toward not only
helping others, but helping ourselves to become the men
and women we were created by God to be. As
international speaker Katrina Zeno points out,
all women, whether married or not, are called to
be spiritual mothers by "nurturing the emotional,
moral, cultural, and spiritual lives of others." All
men need to be spiritual fathers by leading, protecting
and encouraging the people in their lives.
Love = gift of self. Deep down John Paul II's words in
his first encyclical The Redeemer of Man
resonate in our hearts, "Man cannot live without love.
He remains a being that is incomprehensible for
himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed
to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not
experience it and make it his own, if he does not
participate intimately in it." (Redeemer of Man
10) It's our choice. Will we as singles choose to
risk society's disapproval and strive continuously to
love, to be a gift to others? Or will we continue to
follow the world's lead and pursue an easier life of
self-centered, materialistic individualism? Love
is difficult. But it's worth it.
Do you want to learn more about how to love
authentically and live freely? Join hundreds of other
singles in Chicago (April 27-29th) or in San Diego
(June 29th-July 1st) for the 3rd annual National
Catholic Singles Conference where you will hear
fabulous international speakers talk about the real
struggles and challenges of the single life and help
you find ways to live this current state of life in a
truly meaningful way. Meet many others who can relate
to your questions and desires, and seize the
opportunity to socialize with brothers and sisters in
Christ from all over the country. Don't miss out on
this inspiring and unforgettable event! For more
information visit www.NationalCatholicSingles.com.
- Anastasia Northrop