Lent Day 6: ‘No One Said This Was Going To Be Easy’


Being a single Catholic in a hook-up culture isn't easy

By Erik-215414


I was beginning to feel positively medieval.

I had just mentioned to a woman I was dating that premarital sex was out.

“What?” she replied. “In this day and age?”

That was to be expected, I suppose. What was unexpected was that my Lenten mortifications would evoke the same response from her.

Now, I’m no candidate for the monastery. I’m a revert, and I admit that I tend to make up for lost time and go a little further in my faith than is fashionable.

But I had no idea that a resolution to fast all through Lent was going to cause such concern. Limiting myself to lunch at noon, coffee in the morning, and a collation in the evening didn’t seem extreme to me, but it did to a woman I was interested in. (The funny thing was that she was always watching what she ate very closely to maintain her admittedly exquisite figure.) Perhaps my eating modifications done for God seemed a little…crazy.

But that’s the way it is these days. Self-denial in the age of living-for-the-moment is not always attractive. It may even smack of self-abuse.

No one said this was going to be easy. I remember the moment I decided to come back to the Church and to bring the woman I was dating at the time with me. That time the reply was, “Couldn’t Catholicism just be your thing and I can have my own thing?”

I’m sure it seemed reasonable, but I knew it was a recipe for disaster. She was an excellent cook, and at the very least, I knew that would mean running a gauntlet of temptations during every Lent. When a beautiful woman cooks you dinner, you’re a gonner – I don’t care how holy you are.


Reflection question: What is getting in the way of your Lenten sacrifice?






26 Comments

  1. Steven-408478 March 16, 2011 Reply

    Erik,

    Very good message. Men need to take a positive role in a Chaste life. Very important for women to know men believe in this life style. Most importantly the young people need to hear your story. The beauty ot his message is that you want to enjoy the Banquet in Sanctifying Grace. God Bless you and remember the Sacrament of Reconciliation often.

    Steven

  2. Frances-26250 March 17, 2011 Reply

    Calling all Reverts!

    I just read in The Face of God by Paul Badde (Ignatius Press 2010) on page 228 that there is an indulgence all Reverts really should take advantage of:

    In 1718, Pope Clement XI gave a plenary absolution from all temporal punishment for sins to everyone who made the pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Italy. The face of Christ is on display there on a mysterious veil. What’s not to like?

    PLENARY ABSOLUTION FROM ALL TEMPORAL PUNISHMENT FOR SINS? (Um, hello, you should be shopping airfares right now.)

    I’m personally hopping a plane in mid April to take advantage of this opportunity. Cost of plane ticket to Italy versus the cost of the temporal punishment due to sins? A no brainer.

    Beats the alternative. Really, any and all Reverts should consider making this pilgrimage. This is just another example of God’s Mercy extended to us in space and time.

    Erik, thanks for sharing the perspective of us and the worldlings. Who knows, maybe you’ll win a soul this Lent…

  3. Bonnie-305136 March 17, 2011 Reply

    Refreshing to hear that men struggle with these issues. As a woman who desires to stay committed to my faith I lead a pretty dateless life even on a “Catholic” web site. Doesn’t anyone read the Bible, or the Catechism, listen to EWTN, read any of the Popes books, or better yet do they not care where they spend eternity???

  4. Sally-624249 March 19, 2011 Reply

    Your faithfulness will be rewarded. Stay close to Our Lord and He will guide you always. I will pray for you. May God bless you during this holy season of Lent.

  5. Melinda-598916 March 19, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences Erik! It is awe-inspiring to read how true masculinity is being restored in a society that demasculinates men who remain chaste and faithful to Catholic teachings. How fitting that I came across your story today…Blessed Feast of Saint Joseph!

  6. Andrew-680201 March 20, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story Erik. I’m really impressed with your strength. In this day and age this situation comes up all too often for the young generation. Especially with the magazines, tv, and media in this country. Sadly to say.

  7. Joan-684265 March 20, 2011 Reply

    Erik, thank you for sharing your story. I pray that if I do meet someone here through Catholic Match, that he will think the same way that you do. ((It seems to me that we live in a sex-addicted culture, and that, regrettably, faith-based persons are scorned.)) Joan in Houston

  8. Sandra-464061 March 22, 2011 Reply

    Great story, words to think about.

  9. Ron-565573 March 24, 2011 Reply

    Nice story, Erik.
    The morals of today’s society cause a lot of problems for a good Catholic. I have a good answer for the girls who want to jump into bed on the first or second date: “Sorry but I gave up fornication for Lent!” Be careful using this line because one of them thinks that this means she can have her way with you on Easter Sunday….UGGGH

  10. Julia-384276 March 25, 2011 Reply

    I still remember my first date during a Friday during Lent. It was a double date with a mutual friend and his girlfriend. The mutual friend was also Catholic and I was mortified when he ordered a steak at Applebys. Of course I was young then, but I couldn’t understand at the time how easy it can be to give in to the rest of the world.

  11. Donna-305598 March 26, 2011 Reply

    I commend you! You are not old-fashioned or medieval you are reverent and disciplined, that is rare these days. Don’t be swayed – I’m a woman and would be thrilled to find a man with your faith.

  12. Patricia-692173 March 29, 2011 Reply

    I enjoyed all the comments related to Erik’s “No one said it was going to be easy”. Way to go Erik. Keep up the good faith. We should all live in Christ first and foremost. A bountiful reward will follow. Whether we spend it with someone specials or not, God will always be with us and thus we will never be alone.

  13. Carol-243203 March 29, 2011 Reply

    Hello,
    I applaud you for standing up to a women who doesn’t know her faith. The faith never chages just the times, and it doesn’t make it right just because none wants to keep themselves for there soulmate. Thanks for this site, I have the same problem. If you don’t want to have premarital sex then they don’t want to date or see you again. I pray for them and pray for a man like you. God bless you all in your search! Happy Lent!

  14. Marie-358246 March 31, 2011 Reply

    “When a beautiful woman cooks you dinner, you’re a goner – I don’t care how holy you are” – hmmm…I seem to remember Jesus saying something like it is better to pluck out your eyes!

  15. Albert-689276 April 3, 2011 Reply

    I am a weakling. I told myself , i’ll fast for lent but then I started to get a little dizzy so I gave that up. then I said i’LL go to mass durring the week. I haven”t done that. Then I said I’ll go to stations of the Cross. I haven’t done that. So finnaly I settfled for saying the Rosary every night whiich I have done. And Giving donations to several charities and to the poor People begging in front of our church in Rosarito Mexico. I also fight the temtations of” thou shall not covet thy neighbors Wife” when I see an atractive Woman Since I am a widdower. And I tell my Guardian Angel , keep those bad guys away from me.

  16. Robert-570574 April 5, 2011 Reply

    I would care to meet a female who less materialistic than I am and LET IT BE she lives in the local
    vacinity.

  17. Mary-272665 April 7, 2011 Reply

    Very nice post, Erik!

  18. Lucy-481878 April 10, 2011 Reply

    You make a good point about what people will do to look good; there’s a lot of self-abuse in that, whether it’s extreme diets or cosmetic surgery. And yet, these same people would not give up something for religious reasons. Personally, I am able to stick to my Lenten penance a lot more easily than to dieting for the sake of my figure.

  19. Paul-663898 April 11, 2011 Reply

    Bravo Erik!! You are a true warrior!

  20. James-713153 April 14, 2011 Reply

    I am going through the same sorta thing. I gave up all solid food for Lent, I drink v8, milkshakes, tomato soup, juice, lots of water, and protein shakes. Everyone, Catholic or not, has been surprised that I would choose to do something that rigorous. Its fun explaining to people what Lent is and why we celebrate it. I am around many many not Catholic people who have no idea. I know of most Catholics who don’t do much of anything and non-Catholics who give up stuff for the “fun” of it, just cause I suppose. I also have been friends with a girl for awhile now and we became “involved” at a point then I had to explain to her that I could not continue with that kind of relationship. She thought that there was something wrong with her until she saw me turn others down as well. Between self-denial and chastity many people that I interact with are puzzled that someone would actually stand for something like Gods laws and the teachings of the Church. Part of it is due to my wife of 10 years and I separating, not by my choice, and the fact that I do not dress or look like most “church going folk” do. I became a Catholic about 3 years ago and my past has left a residual impression that am a guy from the “other side of the tracks” (St. Augustine is my patron saint :-p). So when I stand for things people don’t often understand and I get to proselytize and walk the walk.

  21. Patrick-606389 April 17, 2011 Reply

    Now i am unclear about whether you are still seeing this young lady But, I think you should just tell Jezebel — you’re entering a phase of complete and total self actualization and that includes abstinence from some very wonderful things God has put on the planet for us to enjoy. This one purpose of this quest of actualization is to become a better man for the woman whom he will spend the rest of his life. A cleansing so to speak . . . even purfying myself of old flames and lost loves to better give hart mind and body to both God and possibly — to be a better husband, father and man. If she doesn’t get it — well then she doesn’t get it. Your mission, the one you have chosen —– healthy and wholesome, any woman who doesn’t get that — Catholic or not . . . give yourself what she wants to deny you —-

    a walk with God that only you may understand. And if God is in it and as you are imitating Christ, who by all accounts did not have relations with yet woman loved him. God does not require fasting — and I doubt there will be any lightening from the sky if you modify your commitement — for his love abideth in all things.

    It is amazing when one chooses to enter a period of fasting — it seems everything under the sun slams you in another direction — Sadly, even people we love.

  22. Robert-422015 April 18, 2011 Reply

    Great post, Erik. Chastity seems to be an issue with me and my dating as well. I too get a similar response when “the topic” comes up- “are you serious?” “I didn’t think people waited any more!” “I knew you were Catholic, but c’mon!” It’s a tough stance to take but I feel like Jesus sacrificed himself for me, so I’ll sacrifice for him (until I get married). It’s tough, man- I know how you feel. But it is the right thing to do.

  23. Jude-708424 April 18, 2011 Reply

    Well said Mr Erik!

    My career was in the way of my Lenten sacrifice, when the exquisite one at work wasn’t ok with just being co-workers. In fact I agreed to a night out after work to just set the record straight. I explained briefly how God gave me a second chance to get out of the life I used to live and I just couldn’t ask for a “time out because this woman is beautiful.”

    So the new rumor at work came to me from up the ladder a few days later; my regional supervisor “needed to clarify if I was living an alternative lifestyle..” You may want to read that sentence again, I’m not kidding.

    After eating her cooking as you put it for about 6 months I had become the rock star at work again 3rd in line from the top and climbing fast. I almost lost my soul again. The State of Grace became 9th or 10th to a list lead by money and temptation.

    I’m not a gonner, and the moral of the story is the devil is an opportunist, don’t ever forget that. He will get you any way he can.

    Thanks for your story.

  24. Marie-575233 April 18, 2011 Reply

    You have a great sense of humor Erik.

  25. Marie-575233 April 18, 2011 Reply

    Well said. MUCH RESPECT to you.

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