We are drawn to certain people, they are incredibly alluring. They have a power over us, as a result. We become weak to that special person. It is like, there is a world we want to be in. You know, the kid who changes their wardrobe, and starts going to concerts to be near them. If they are so obvious and flat, they are not quite as intriguing. God is much the same way. God is mysterious, and we keep coming back desperately for more grace. It is like, what is on the surface is wonderful, and what is beyond is so magical. It is indescribable.
An anecdote about “Kelly”
When I came back to church, there was this girl, who I will just call “Kelly” who was very alluring. What I quickly discovered was not that I was attracted to her, but I was attracted beyond her. I was attracted more into what she loved than her.
I think I identified with her. She had a conversion at some point. She had quirks, but was bold enough to humbly serve God. I wanted what she had. I wanted to be to God what she was to God. I wanted the special relationship with God that she had.
As I posted on Attractions, there was something more. It was like, God shone through her to draw my gaze back to himself.
The Sacramental Imagination
Catholics have a Sacramental Imagination. We like to stop and smell the roses. Then we pluck the best ones and put them before a statue of the Blessed Virgin. We see creation as imbued with wonder and beauty, in some way manifesting God’s wonder and beauty.
If we are daring enough to admit that in our own person we are mystery, and that says something about God’s wonder. If we don’t understand ourselves, it is okay.
Specifically, when we receive Sacraments, we know that there is something mysterious and invisible happening. Water, Fire, Oil, Bread, & Wine reveal deeper and truer realities. It is no longer bread and wine that we consume, but Christ’s Body and Blood.
To a lesser extent, objects, and even people manifest this reality, and the Sacred is everywhere. I carry around a Miraculous Medal in my pocket. I got the scapular. I don’t know exactly what they do all the time, but somehow God is working through them. It is the same with people too.
Friendship is Sacred
Communion is not merely the Eucharist that we receive, but the relationship that we sustain with all those in the Body of Christ. There is something special that happens, no, something Sacred. It is not merely that we have these relationships here on earth because they make us feel good. It is because God is somehow disclosing himself in the affection and laughter in a friendship. It is altogether more reason to value and cherish the friendships that we have. They have a sacred character.
To take it a step further, it should motivate us to reverence the people we date. We would want to take things slowly, not just because it would give us something else to look forward to, but because we can never fully comprehend or grasp another person, as we can never be fully comprehended. It is part of being made in the Divine Image. In addition, why would we want to allow our entire being completely subsumed into just one single person, by practically eliminating other important friendships. Although dating usually means that one individual maxes out on our time, it would not help us be chaste by eliminating others.
Expressing and Acting on our Faith
A Sacrament, or Sacramental is something that we can grab onto. A fantasy, a vague “Spiritual but not religious” sentiment is merely a fantasy or a sentiment. We can never grab onto it. I have found that we have to make our faith expression more tangible. That’s part of what romance is about, making our feelings tangible. Maybe we can learn to do that with God.
I find that Eucharistic Adoration is one of the best ways. Liturgy of the Hours as well. I can grab onto those things, I can seek them out. They keep my energy moving toward a divine encounter. Formalizing Spiritual Activity, instead of always imagining it, actually helps me to be more chaste. It is a mysterious dynamic that is difficult to explain, but somehow the grace is always there.
Spiritual Direction might be the secret to healthy celibate chastity.
When we have feelings, we are embarrassed. I wish it were easier to just talk to our parents about it. We need wisdom, we need to grow, and wisdom is often a gift. Wisdom from our parents, elders, mentors, and the like are very important in relationship. The “wisdom” of Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Drake or Lil Wayne will be to little avail to helping us mature and take care of other people, but merely to fulfill our appetites.
I have found, that as a vowed Religious, Spiritual Direction is essential. Christ is the primary Spiritual Director. Sometimes a priest, or other suitable individual sits and listens and talks so we distinguish Christ’s voice from our own. Sometimes I am given advice. I also receive some informal Spiritual Direction from my superiors and other brothers. Sometimes conversations with close friends result in informal Spiritual Direction. I mean if the only advice we got was from the significant other, we can learn to easily delude ourselves.
As it were, you might have a lot of friendships that result in some kind of informal direction. Maybe you will want to talk to a priest. Although I place it here in the context of Chastity, if all you want to talk about is chastity and relationships with other people, then you might be failing to have quality spiritual direction. Although you learn to talk about your relationship with God, you also need to learn to talk about the person you are becoming. If I were to make a list of components for Religious Consecrated Chastity, Spiritual Direction would probably be right behind the other thing I keep talking about: Prayer.
Sacraments are God’s Romance
If the Sacraments say something about the character of God, it gives us impetus to imitate. I believe that the Sacraments are like God being Romantic. The Sacraments are gentle and subtle, despite the love behind them being beyond measure. God makes himself so small and vulnerable before us. In addition, the Sacraments, and Sacramentals are tangible, we can touch, taste, smell, and hold them in our hands in some way.
For those intending to be romantic it is important to be gentle when expressing your love. That is why flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, and the like are important. Especially when they are random or spontaneous. If you overdo it, then you are going to leave them feeling awkward and obligated. It is important that they are gentle and subtle enough gifts that you don’t overpower the person’s willpower, and leave them second guessing and heartbroken later on. The more gentle you are, the easier it will be for two free persons to mutually encounter one another.