By Maria Jacinta.
Leaving the peaceful, quiet lifestyle of the convent and returning to a world of chaos – where do I begin to describe the results / emotions that come with such a switch? I could be all over the board about this, but I’ll focus on one topic for this post: dealing with guys. Especially dealing with the good looking, well-off, single Catholic guys!
After being gone from the convent for almost a month, I would say I have a love-hate relationship with young men my age. A love-hate relationship may sound extreme so I’ll call it a “love to be around them but know I need to be careful” kind of relationship. Let me elaborate:
Upon coming back, one of the first things that was on my mind was encountering young men. I was thrilled at such an idea! They are on my mind A LOT more now than when I was in the convent. For example, when I go to daily Mass I find myself looking around to see if there are any young men there. Or I will randomly think of a male friend of mine from college or a past young adult group and wonder what he is up to these days. Is he single? Maybe we could go out? Would he make a good husband? Ahhhh!!! Seriously, I feel like I am reliving my middle school days when all I could think about was boys. Am I just insane, or is this normal?
The Lord was kind enough to send me two people to help with this. I went to Confession the other day and asked the priest about what I just described. He said there is nothing wrong with the feelings we experience with being around guys. After all, we are women, and God created us to be attracted to them! I think I was getting too hard on myself in regards to how I felt being around them. I almost felt like I was cheating on Jesus. The priest went on to say that we cannot control these feelings / attractions that we have towards guys, but what we can control (by the grace of God!) is our will. So we can will these feelings to be used in a sinful way or in a way that respects their human dignity. There is nothing wrong with thinking if a young man may be a suitable husband, but true love is when we desire the best for another. So we need to be praying for them that they may be become the saints they are born to be. I find that praying for them helps me to understand that they are truly my brothers in Christ.
I also wrote to a woman who left the convent a while ago. She said that my reaction towards men after leaving the convent is normal and that Jesus is not upset with me. Praise God! BUT I need to be careful. Our natural desire to be loved by a man can cause us to want to jump right into dating. This is not a healthy thing to do. The woman told me that we should not let a relationship define who we are. We need to be gentle with ourselves, as we transition back, and focus more on our relationship with God. What does He want of me?
Before Mass today, I was having trouble getting a young man out of my mind. I then offered him to Jesus and Mary, along with the feelings I have towards him. I asked Jesus and Mary to take care of him and do with him as they willed. It was so freeing to say such a prayer! The Lord will make it clear if and when we are ready to date. Let’s reflect on St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians: “Love is patient.” Moral of this post: do not be afraid to be around men, but while doing so make sure you guard your heart!