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Being a celibate is about being in relationships and not about avoiding them. I work hard to define my celibacy in terms of availability to those who are in need. It is common for monks, nuns, priests, or lay religious to be asked what they have against marriage. The answer is, of course, that we love and revere marriage. God has simply called us to express our human love in a different way. If that’s the case, though, then what could we possibly know about romantic relationships?
To show what celibates might say to help with romance, I propose a question: “how do you make yourself attractive romantically?” The answers we receive from pop culture are interesting, and they are usually about presentation. You’ve got to project confidence, change your appearance, display qualities that impress others. These answers are harmless in small doses. On the healthy side, these steps might make the real you more visible. On the unhealthy side, they may be attempts to hide the real you out of fear. There is an unspoken assumption that if people saw your flaws, they would find you un-lovable.
Foundation - Life - Foundation - Life - Acceptance
A foundation of the spiritual life is also a foundation of a successful dating life: you must foster a deep and abiding acceptance that you are loved. You are not loved for what you do or achieve but for who you are. You are loved without condition: by God at least and very likely by many other people in your life. Most of us “know” with our heads that God loves us. It is a different experience to feel God loves you in your heart. Your breath slows. Your fears fade. Gratitude and contentment rise up. And you have hope for all your endeavors and interactions.
If you develop the prayer life to really incorporate...
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