The importance of prayerful discernment in dating and marriage.
In a perfect, sinless world, everything would be the way God planned it to be. Man and woman would be naked and not ashamed. They’d love Him with their whole hearts. They’d join together in the union of marriage, with perfect self-sacrificing love, and endless bliss.
But since the fall, things became a bit more difficult. It’s no longer a matter of lounging in the garden, eating ever-ripe fruits straight from the Tree of Life. Now we have to work hard for our living, our holiness, our vocation. God’s will isn’t as cleanly spelled out as it was in Eden days: “Don’t eat the fruit of that tree.” Not only do we have to choose between right and wrong as laid out by the Commandments and the precepts of the Church. But we also have to choose between good, better, and best.
Yes, there are moral absolutes. But there are also endless ambiguities between various good choices that leave us in dire need of prayerful discernment and openness to God’s will. We can discern our vocation to single, married, or religious life. But then we still have a myriad of decisions to make. What career path will allow me to use my God-given gifts and talents best? What religious order fulfills my desire to serve God? How do I find my soulmate in a sea full of men?
What’s a gal to do?
Her only recourse is to seek God’s will above all else.
Not only do we have to choose between right and wrong, but also between good better and best. Tweet this.
A woman who’s discerned the vocation of marriage and embarks on the journey of dating must pour herself into seeking a spouse that meets, not her own idea of perfection, but God’s idea of what’s best for her salvation. She must allow God to lead her heart and her path. She must devote herself prayerfully to God’s will, trusting Him in all things.
And while she may hold the picture-perfect marriage, wedding day, and family in her heart, she must ultimately surrender her heart to God, allowing Him to guide her path, leading her toward holiness.
While the Catholic Church upholds the beauty of the sacrament of marriage between two faithful, practicing Catholics, it also allows for cases of mixed-faith marriages (CCC 1633-36).
I love the tragic love story of St. Cecilia. She made a vow of abstinence but agreed to marry a pagan anyways. Then he converted on their wedding night and soon after they both died martyr’s deaths. She’s one intense saint. And the perfect example of following God’s inspiration in your heart – which He can bring to perfection despite all odds.
I also love the fact that there are Saints like Rita and Monica, who were in less than ideal marriages (Rita was married to a stone cold murderer) and prayed for years for the conversions of their family.
And Saints like Zelie and Louis Martin, who were faithful and devoted Catholics and raised their children together, unified in faith.
The Church’s diversity goes to show that holiness is achieved, not through living an ideal life under perfect circumstances, but in seeking and following God’s will above all things. Saints are formed in all kinds of circumstances.
Holiness isn’t achieved by perfect living circumstances but by seeking God’s will above all things. Tweet this.
I’m pleased to present you with three stories of Catholic women who prayerfully discerned God’s will in their dating life, and found themselves in three strikingly different relationships. The one thing these women hold in common: they all treasured the ideal of settling down with a faithful Catholic husband. The reality: God led them all where He desired them, for the sake of their growth in virtue and holiness.
Over the next week, these women’s stories will be published on my blog. Follow To Jesus, Sincerely on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss them!
Coming Monday, October 9th, Lexie will share her story of discerning her decision to date only faithful Catholics.
Lexie Metzler is the blessed owner of 4 The Love of Lexie. A lover of her boyfriend, books, elephants, purple, and above all else, Jesus, she loves spending way too much time on Pinterest! Lexie loves all things Italian, aspires to write a book, and will read anything related to St. Therese. Currently an editor at a private trade publication, she hopes to start working more in youth ministry so she can spend her life helping young women and men develop a relationship with Jesus within the Church. Her favorite topics include modesty, chastity, and of course, relationships!
Coming Wednesday, October 11th, I (Sara) will share my story of discernment, and how God led me to a relationship involving conversion.
Hi, I’m Sara! A Catholic wife, mathematician, former teacher, sometimes artist, and mom of 3 who loves the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. When I visit Jesus in Adoration, I write my prayers down to help me stay focused. I pour my heart out to God like ink across my notebook page. And then I bring it to you. I’m here to open wide the doors of my heart and let you in on my joys, my struggles, my questions, and my life lessons. I invite you to pray and reflect along with me on my blog, To Jesus, Sincerely. Together, we can lift our mind and hearts to God, seeking to walk the path of holiness He sets before us.
Coming Friday, October 13th, Anni will share her story of discernment, a journey from religious life to married life, and the way God’s inspired growth in her faith through interfaith marriage.
Anni is a proud Army wife to her husband Chris and mother to their young children. She has a BA in History, a Masters in Social Work, and has worked with disabled veterans, troubled teens, and in early childhood intervention therapy. Since the birth of her children, she has dedicated her time to volunteering with several military chapel communities. She blogs about topics of Catholicism, parenting, and military life at A Beautiful Camouflaged Mess of a Life. You can also follow her on Instagram at beautifulcamouflagedmess, or on Facebook at A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life.