I remember reading a book by Jason Evert while I was in seminary. I think it was If You Really Loved Me. One sentence in particular struck me and really changed my outlook concerning my vocation: The best thing you can do for your future spouse is to become a saint.
We believe that all men and women are called to a spousal relationship via their vocation—to become either biological or spiritual mothers and fathers, to espouse either one person in chaste marriage or the entirety of the Church through a vow of chaste celibacy for the Kingdom. But, like many young people of our generation, it took me awhile to figure out to whom I would be espoused.It’s hard to wait on the will of God. It’s easy to manipulate the details of an attraction or encounter to see what we want to see: “He paid for my coffee…I think he may be the one;” “I know I love her. I got goosebumps when she looked at me, plus she liked my picture on Facebook.” (By the way, I’ve heard both of these. I work in a high school). It’s easy to rationalize our deep feelings for a person and allow our bodies to react to every emotion that stirs within. Even when you find an amazing man or woman who shares the faith, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are your future spouse. I’ve certainly struggled through that temptation when I’ve met holy, awesome, beautiful women (heads up, guys: the holiest women are
the most beautiful women).Thankfully, I realized early in seminary that whoever my future spouse was—either a tangible woman who I would commit to in the role of a loyal husband, or the entire Church through the priesthood—I would only be ready for the task if I began training for sainthood now. You can’t start training for a marathon the week before the race, nor can you assume you’ll be holy and chaste with your future spouse if you’re not training for holiness now. This paradigm shift turned my prayer life around. I really committed myself to a daily rosary and confession at least once a month (it was usually more; one time my spiritual director smiled as he saw me approach and said humorously, “Back so soon?”).
Whoever my future spouse would be, I committed myself to being ready for her and would wait on God’s time, not my own. I could probably write a whole blog series on Batman and theological references, but I’ll end here with one of my favorite lines from The Dark Knight trilogy:
Alfred: “Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
Holiness is not an option. Don’t settle. Be a saint.