Editor's Note: In the March issue of 4marks Magazine, Beverly and Harry Stevens published an article titled "Straight Talk." The article drew on their experience as a Catholic Match success story to remind members exactly why they came to CM and constructive suggestions for finding "the real thing." In this follow-up, they link the real thing directly to the Real Presence.
So, why are you on a Catholic website? Why not Catholic Match or any of the other secular dating sites?
"Shopping" for a Mate?
We moderns have been brought up to think like consumers. As a result, we shop incessantly, searching, comparing and contrasting potential purchases.
In dating, "shopping" also seems like the only intelligent option. With limited resources (i.e. your time and money) and almost endless variety (so many profiles, so little time), it would seem that we are doomed to a Purgatory of endless shopping.
Speaking as a consumer, Catholic Match and its many imitators would seem to be the logical choice — more selection, plus the ability to search for qualities and characteristics that you want in a mate, including Catholicism. But somehow, the troubling truth is that the consumer metaphor doesn't quite work in this area, does it?
Well, you could say, yes it does, because here I am on a Catholic website, shopping for a mate in an online "boutique." I just don't want to be bothered to sift through the goods for sale in a huge online department store like Catholic Match.
Why It's Not Working
But if it's working, why haven't you found your perfect Catholic mate yet? And, again we must ask, why are you here?
These two questions, we believe, are profoundly related.
First, you must realize that your Catholicism means more to you than you might think it does. And THAT is why you are on a Catholic website. Because the simple truths of the Faith — however much you dimly recall from your catechism days — have affected you profoundly. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are on a Catholic dating website because you want a Catholic marriage, a Catholic home and a life ordered to the principles of Catholicism.
Second, you must understand that Catholicism teaches that there IS a real thing. A real God, a real Truth, real sin and real salvation. And the Real Presence of our God in the Eucharist.
Third, you must accept that your destiny is bound up with how you decide to live in this Real World. You will find the "real thing" when you are ready for it — in God's time.
The Relativist Answer
Whew! That's pretty cheeky, you say. After all, most people just want to find someone that's a little, uh, "cleaner" than what's on Catholic Match or in the bars, you point out.
Therefore, a religious website stands to reason. Less likely here to find people who have been completed worked over by the excesses of our culture, right? Fewer addictions, less neuroses, less troublesome behaviors, right?
As for all this nonsense about the "real thing" and the "real truth" — well, you'd like to point out that Catholicism is just as legitimate as other Christian denominations and indeed other faiths, right?
After all, it's just the flavor of religion that we happen to choose. It's like anything else. Some people like chocolate. Others like strawberry. People on a Catholic website just happen to like this flavor. It's all in people's personal preferences, you say. Hence, the need to shop.
(A little digression here: Some people call this position "quasi-Catholicism.")
Why It's NOT a "Choice"
We, however, beg to differ. (So does Pope Benedict XVI, and I quote: "Christianity must not be relegated to the world of myth and emotion, but respected for its claim to shed light on the truth about man, to be able to transform men and women spiritually, and thus to enable them to carry out their vocation in history.")
You have entered the "no-spin" zone of Catholicism here. Whether or not you want to admit it, you know what the rules are for living a good, Catholic life. (If you don't, we advise you start reading right now. Go to http://www.catholicexchange.com/en/node/add/www.Ignatius.com and start doing some truly meaningful online shopping.)
Specifically, you know that the real reason that you are here is because you really want a good, Catholic love that will last a lifetime (aka "the real thing"). Amazingly, despite what our culture is daily pounding into your head, somewhere deep inside you is this intense longing for the real thing. And you are on this website as an act of faith — that somehow, against the odds, there just might be a chance for you to find the real thing.
So, let us speak to that tiny spark inside you that refuses to be drowned out by bitterness, by cynicism or by world-weariness. This spark that can hardly dare to believe, but that really, really wants to believe.
First, that spark is correct. And all your other negative thoughts and doubts are wrong. There IS such a thing as real love.
Second, you have come to the right place. Here, you can find real love — and the Real Presence of our God in your life.
Third, Catholics believe in miracles. Yup, we even have a special office that authenticates miracles. Nobody else — no other religion — has that.
What this all means for you People who believe in miracles necessarily believe in a God Who takes a personal interest in human beings' lives. This, by the way, means YOU.
YOU and your happiness and your eventual salvation, really matters to God. (How do we know this? He sacrificed his Son to make this point crystal clear, remember?)
So, what you want here is a miracle, right? Your own personal miracle — your own real, true love.
So, what's the matter with you? What are you waiting for? ASK for it!
You know the drill. Go find yourself the Real Presence in the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Get down on your knees and humbly ask the God of Jacob, the God of Isaac and the God of Abraham to help you find your real, true love.
No Shopping Required
You'll notice that all of this has very little to do with shopping for a mate — how good of a shopper you are, how high your standards are, where you are shopping, etc.
In fact, have you noticed that lots of people say they finally found their mate after they had "given up" and stopped looking?
What they mean is that they stopped relying on their own abilities, and gave over this very hard, almost impossible search to God. In doing so, they then freed themselves to concentrate on life's problems on a more homely, human scale. That is, they tackled things that they DID have more control over — like getting out of the house, stopping smoking, losing weight, making new friends and broadening their spiritual, social and intellectual horizons.
They left the hard stuff — the finding of their own true love — to God. They humbly begged their Creator to help them. They asked for help in this superhuman task.
But before you ask God for this help, make sure you know what you're asking for. That is, make sure you are fully cognizant of what the rules are for living a good, Catholic marriage. Faithfulness. Period. And getting your priorities straight.
First comes God, then comes your mate, then come your kids. Finally, at the very end of the list, comes you. This is how married people get to heaven.
If God believes that you are ready and willing to accept these difficult terms, then you are ready to find your real, true love.
No shopping required. Just faith in the Real Presence.