Sent as a Witness

For this Sunday’s Gospel and other Year A Scrutiny readings, click here!

We often hear people ask “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I can think of a lot of reasons why, but Jesus gives us an answer in the Scrutiny Year A readings which are optional for this Sunday. Jesus says that the man born blind wasn’t blind because of his sin or his parent’s sins. He was blind so that God can work through him. Whether God heals us or not, we can still glorify God. We can praise Him when heals us and lifts our burdens, and we can still praise Him amidst our struggles, knowing that He’s close to us.

Sent as a Witness: 4th Sunday of Lent
Sent as a Witness: 4th Sunday of Lent

In the moment, we might be blind as to why we have to carry our crosses, but hindsight is 20/20. Like the man born blind, sometimes we understand why God allowed us to suffer after He heals us. In the moment, however, it’s often more difficult to embrace our suffering and find meaning in it.

When I experienced spiritual comparison in college, I questioned why God would allow me to go through it. I felt abandoned by Him when I spent months in spiritual desolation feeling hopeless and defeated. Now, I understand why I had to go through these sufferings. In a strange way, these trials strengthened my faith. I learned a lot and grew so much. Moreover, I understood how to relate to people going though spiritual comparison or desolation.

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When Jesus heals the man born blind, He tells him to go to the Pool of Siloam, which means sent. By healing the man born blind, Jesus sends him out to share what He has done for him. He became a witness to Jesus, and people came to know Him through his testimony. In other words, the man’s burden turned into his mission. So did mine with comparison and desolation. After Jesus took away the pain I felt, He sent me forth. Now, I pour my heart into showing people going through spiritual comparison and desolation that they’re not alone. They’re still beloved children of God, and they can still strive for holiness. I share my story in hopes that my testimony can help others stay rooted in the Father’s love.

We’ll all have to pick up our crosses and suffer in this life, but when we turn to Jesus, He redeems us. We might not understand why theses crosses were chosen for us, and we might not fully grasp our mission, but we can start with glorifying Jesus at all times. The man born blind was a living witness to Jesus’ goodness and glory. Let’s look to his example and praise the Lord through our suffering and our healing.

Stay radiant!

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Almsgiving: the Third Pillar of Lent

Almsgiving as a Pillar of Lent
I feel like almsgiving, or giving alms, is one of the most often forgotten pillar of Lent. Like I mentioned in last week’s fasting post, it seems like we’re more preoccupied by what we’re giving up for Lent. Almsgiving requires us to look outside ourselves and give to others.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Lent and almsgiving are the CRS rice bowls that you fold together and put your change in, but almsgiving isn’t just about money. Almsgiving involves sharing our time, talent, and treasure with others. We can give by spending time with our neighbors, by giving financial gifts, or offering our abilities as service. All of these require some sort of sacrifice, which is what makes almsgiving one of the three pillars of Lent. When we give alms, we tangibly lay down our wants and preferences for someone else.

Almsgiving: the Third Pillar of Lent
Almsgiving: the Third Pillar of Lent

Why should we give alms?
In a homily he gave a few weeks ago, Fr. Mike Schmitz said that almsgiving is how we become more like God. Now that we’ve been praying and fasting throughout Lent, our faith has grown and we’re getting to know God more. The more we come to know God, the more we become like Him. Because God is love, we come to know what true love is by getting to know God, and becoming more like Him will make us more loving, thoughtful, and generous. Naturally, we’ll want to extend His love and mercy to those around us, which results in almsgiving. When we’re generous and loving towards our neighbors, they’ll encounter God through us. Because of almsgiving, we’ll help others come to know God and His love.

How to give alms
Our almsgiving should extend farther than the pennies that we put in the rice bowls. We can come up with lots of reasons why we can’t donate or tithe, but Lent presents an awesome opportunity for us to do so. Use the money that you would have spent on things you gave up as donations. If you gave up trips to coffee shops or shopping, you now have extra money to give. Giving alms can be as simple as sending a note or a nice text to someone you love, or as grand as giving gift cards to someone in need. I love to see how people use their talents when they give alms, like when singers or musicians join music ministry. No matter what your approach is, get creative with how you give alms and remember to do little things with great love. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor, and almsgiving is a practical yet beautiful way of doing this.

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In case you need some ideas, here are 8 different ways to give alms this Lent:

  1. Tithe to your parish
  2. Donate to your favorite charity or a new one
  3. Write letters or notes to friends or family who might need some encouragement
  4. Seek out some service opportunities and volunteer
  5. Visit an elderly neighbor or somebody who might not get a lot of visitors
  6. Be an altar server, cantor, or lector for Mass at your parish
  7. Donate some of your gently used clothes, books, blankets, or other things
  8. Cook and deliver a meal for a family who just had a baby
Stay radiant!

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With the Woman at the Well

For this Sunday’s Gospel and other Mass readings, click here!

The Woman at the Well is one of my favorite Gospel passages. It’s close to my heart, and it has a lot of wisdom in it. Jesus uses the image of living water in His longest recorded conversation in the Bible, and it’s with a woman! What I love most about this passage is something quite simple, but I don’t take it granted. The Woman at the Well gives us a beautiful example of how Jesus encounters us and draws us near to Him.

With the Woman at the Well
With the Woman at the Well

In evangelization, we often hear of the phrase “meet them where they are,” meaning going to the places where the people who we’re trying to reach are. Jesus placed Himself near the well, where he knew the woman would be. It wasn’t only the right place, but it was also the right time because the woman intentionally came later in the day so that she wouldn’t run into anyone else.

When He approached the woman, Jesus spoke so gently with her. He told her about the living water and revealed Himself as the Christ in a loving way. When He discussed her sins, He was gentle. He didn’t condemn her, but He patiently called her to repent. Which she did when she left her jar, ran into town, and told everyone that she met the Messiah.

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We’re called to be like Jesus in so many ways, but this Sunday’s Gospel reading shows us how we can model Jesus to our friends so that they can grow closer to Him. The woman at the well is an example of how we should lead our neighbors to Christ. By meeting them where they are, bringing up Jesus and His love gently, and when their sins come up in conversation, reminding them of Jesus’ mercy rather than condemning or tolerating their behavior, we can help them encounter Jesus and invite them to partake of His living water.

Let’s go to the well to help a soul encounter Christ’s love.

Stay radiant!

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A Lot Can Happen in 23 Years

23 Years Later…
Today I turned 23 years old, and needless to say, I’ve grown and changed a lot from when I was born. I love to look back on the plans that 3-year-old Madeline dreamed up versus where I am in life now. I spent my days playing dress-up and making crafts. I thought I would grow up to be a ballerina or a princess. Twenty years later, I still love to dress up, and I still love to dance. Although it would be nice to be a princess, I have other career goals in mind now.

As I grew up and navigated life, one thing stayed consistent. No matter where I went to school, who my friends were, the extracurriculars I did, or what I dreamed of doing with my life, I always loved God. Of course, my relationship with Him developed and I grew closer with Him as I grew up, but He was always in my heart.

A Lot Can Happen in 23 Years
A Lot Can Happen in 23 Years

My Lifelong Faith Journey
When I was really little, I knew that God was important because I went to Mass with my family every single Sunday. At the time, I would have rather played with my Barbie dolls, but I’m glad that my parents taught me the importance of worshipping God. I was fascinated by the Bible stories I learned about, and I heard “Jesus loves you!” and “God made you special!” all the time. I think my faith first ignited when I received my first Holy Communion. When I received our Lord in the Eucharist for the first time, the way I approached Mass changed because I felt more connected to Jesus. After that, I felt more involved in the Mass, and I looked forward to going.

My faith only grew stronger when I prepared for my Confirmation and when I was Confirmed. I saw some of my peers question and fall away from the Church, and I knew I never wanted that to happen to me. I related to Peter when he told Jesus “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). God has loved me for longer than I can comprehend, and I can be united with Him in the Eucharist. I knew that I could never separate myself from Him and that I wanted to be with Him forever.

In college, I grew radically as a person, as a student, and as a disciple of Christ, especially because I learned what it means to be a disciple in college. For most of my life, I thought the disciples were just the twelve men who followed Jesus while He was on earth. Now, I understand that anyone desiring to follow Jesus is His disciple, and He still calls us today to be His disciples. With the encouragement and friendships I made at the Newman Center, I fell more in love with God. I encountered Him through my authentic friends, at Mass, and in Adoration.

What Changed in One Year
So much can happen in 23 years, but a lot can happen in just one year too. The world and I have changed significantly since my last birthday. When I turned 22, I had no idea that we would soon be plunged into a pandemic. I didn’t know that my amazing evening at Slippery Rock would be my last one there. I went from celebrating my 22nd birthday with Nathan and a few of my good friends at the Brewery in Slippery Rock to celebrating with my Franciscan Mission Service community in Washington, DC. I went from not knowing what I was going to do with my life to having at least a little more clarity. Nathan became my fiancé. My faith is stronger, and I’m able to trust in God and surrender to Him more.

In my 22nd year, I learned that everything is temporary. When my life seemed to crumble, I was so angry at first, but I learned to cherish the memories more and to really savor my time with my loved ones doing the things we love. I learned that God truly does have a plan, even when we can’t see it unfolding. Because of this, I finally surrendered control of my own life so that God can take the reins and guide me to do His will.

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Thanking God for My Life
Today, I’ll FaceTime my family and Nathan, and I’ll probably celebrate with my community tonight at dinner and tomorrow evening. No matter what, I just want to spend today being thankful for the gift of my life. To me, my own birthday isn’t a huge deal. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a special day. I love to celebrate it and have fun with the people I love, but I never go crazy for my birthday. It’s a day that I’m happy to be me. On my birthday, I thank God for creating me and loving me and giving me the gift of my life. I’m thankful that He blessed me with another year of life so that I can share His love and come to know Him more before I meet Him face to face.

I’ve grown so much in my relationship with God in the past 23 years, and I look forward to seeing how much closer I can be to Him in the remainder of my life. So much has happened in my 22nd year, which just reminds me that we never know what God has in store for us. 23 holds unlimited possibilities, but no matter what, they’re part of God’s plan.

Stay radiant!

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Fasting: the Second Pillar of Lent

Fasting as a Pillar of Lent
If one of the pillars of Lent was the most widely practiced, I assume that it would be fasting. I always hear people ask, “What are you giving up for Lent?” but I rarely hear people ask, “What are you praying this Lent?” or “How are you giving alms this Lent?”

Whether they know it or not, this practice of giving something up is fasting, but do we fast for the sake of going without something for a while, or does our fasting have a purpose? Because it’s one of the Three Pillars of Lent, we can’t have a fruitful Lent without fasting. Even though fasting is difficult and uncomfortable, we won’t be transformed during Lent without this practice.

Fasting: the Second Pillar of Lent
Fasting: the Second Pillar of Lent

How do we fast?
Before we understand why we should fast, we have to know what fasting is. Fasting is abstaining from something, most commonly food, for a spiritual purpose. When we fast, we give up something good so that we can partake of a greater good. We might give up chocolate to remind us that God satisfies us more. We might give up watching TV and movies so we can spend more time with God. Essentially, fasting is letting go of things that distract us from God so that we can focus more on Him instead of worldly things.

We don’t fast as an excuse to go on a diet or lose weight, and we don’t fast to challenge ourselves or to prove that we can. Like I’ve been learning this Lent, it isn’t about us. When we fast from a food that we love, a drink that we enjoy, or a hobby that we do all the time, we acknowledge that it’s good, but God is the most good. We set aside things that take up our time so that we can give more of our time to God. We sacrifice what we love so that we can love God more.

Why should we fast?
Although fasting can sound unpleasant on the surface, it can deepen our faith in a few beautiful ways. First, fasting is a way of deepening prayer. When we pray for a certain intention, fasting can intensify our prayers by offering up our sacrifices for someone or something who we’re praying for.

Fasting is also a way of depending on God. God wants to provide for us, but we often get overwhelmed with the world and forget to let Him take care of us. When we fast, we learn to rely on Him instead of ourselves. Fasting teaches us to set aside our own wants, and sometimes our needs, so that we can turn towards God.

Finally, fasting makes us more selfless as we think of others instead of ourselves. I notice that the pillars of Lent are sometimes connected. Fasting becomes fasting when we pray through it. Without prayer, fasting is just a diet. If you’re fasting from something that you’d normally spend extra money on, like ordering takeout, you can donate that money, which would be a great almsgiving practice.

When we fast intentionally with God in mind, it becomes more challenging, but more rewarding. On difficult days, I remember that Jesus fasted too. Jesus became hungry when He fasted in the desert for forty days, but He stayed strong. When we grow weak and feel tempted to indulge, we can remember why we’re fasting and look to Jesus for strength.

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In case you need some ideas, here are 8 different things to fast from this Lent:

  1. Snacking in between meals
  2. Chocolate, candy, and desserts
  3. Alcohol
  4. Adding sweeteners to coffee or tea
  5. Sleeping in
  6. Staying up late
  7. Hot showers (take cold showers instead)
  8. Social media
Stay radiant!

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Encountering the Glory of Jesus

For this Sunday’s Gospel and other Mass readings, click here!

The Transfiguration is one of my favorite Gospel readings. I love that Jesus gave Peter, James, and John, the same disciples who would accompany Him in His agony, the gift of witnessing His glory. Every time I hear this reading, I think of how awesome it would have been to see Jesus in His divinity. When I meditate on the Transfiguration, I love to imagine what it would have been like to see Jesus become dazzling white and appear with Moses and Elijah.

Encountering the Glory of Jesus
Encountering the Glory of Jesus

Then, reality hits me.

I’m not worthy to encounter Jesus in this way. I’m not saying this to be humble or because I think little of myself. I know that if I were to see Jesus for who He is, then I would be terrified. If I were to come face-to-face with the glorified Son of God, I wouldn’t feel worthy to be in His presence. He is so good, so pure, and so beautiful. Try as I might to be like Him as He lovingly commands me, I will never measure up.

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When I think of the Transfiguration, somehow, my thoughts turn to the Eucharist. As imperfect humans, we understand that we’d be overwhelmed with Jesus in His glorified state, but how good, how pure, and how beautiful is it that He humbles Himself to be with us? The God of the Universe, who answers to no one, comes down to earth to become the bread and wine that we receive in the Mass. He becomes a form that we can easily behold so that we can encounter Him without fear. In this way, we can still witness God’s glory. In receiving Him, He transfigures our hearts to be more like His.

Stay radiant!

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Prayer: the First Pillar of Lent

What are the three pillars of Lent?
Around Lent, I love to talk about the three pillars of Lent for a few reasons. I never knew about them until I was in college. Fr. Adam would give talks about Lent whenever the season started, and he always stressed the three pillars of Lent, which are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. After I learned about the three pillars of Lent, I never approached Lent the same again. I still struggle with my Lenten sacrifices, but understanding how I should fill up my time and what I should focus on has helped me be more intentional during Lent. Now, I love to write about the three pillars of Lent because I hope that you can learn more about them and have a more fruitful Lent because of them. So this year, I wanted to do a mini series on the three pillars of Lent, starting with prayer.

Prayer: the First Pillar of Lent
Prayer: the First Pillar of Lent

The Importance of Prayer
I always try to stress the importance of prayer in my writing. My family and teachers instilled good prayer habits in me when I was little, and as I grew up, those habits grew and I found a love for prayer because of my friends from the Newman Center and the FOCUS missionaries I met in college. Because of them, I strive to pray every day. God truly is who I love the most. He’s the center of my life, so my time in prayer is the precious time that I spend with Him getting to know Him more and falling more in love with Him.

I realize that I always heard of prayer as a “conversation with God,” and I tend to describe prayer in this way, especially when someone asks me what prayer is. After listening to some old episode of the Crunch, my favorite Catholic podcast, I realized two things. First, not everyone knows how to hold a conversation nowadays. Second, having a conversation with God isn’t the same as having a conversation with just anyone. I’m definitely guilty of forgetting these things, so I hope that this blog can clarify the conversational aspect of prayer to help you during your time in prayer.

Practical Prayer Tips
Praying isn’t like texting, Snapchatting, or simple small talk. You don’t get a message and wait until you feel like replying. Prayer requires being present. Like a conversation, prayer involves talking and listening to God. Often, we can get caught up in the talking part. Maybe we spend so much time telling Him about what’s going on in our lives or giving our intentions to Him that we forget to take a step back and listen. Sometimes I genuinely forget to do this, and sometimes I’m afraid to do this. Listening to God’s voice in prayer requires vulnerability. It can be scary, but it’s a necessary part of prayer. It takes time and patience to hear His voice, but that’s why we commit to praying every day. Prayer is all about getting to know God more, so the more we pray, the more we can recognize God’s voice.

In this way, when we talk to God in prayer, it isn’t like talking to someone face-to-face. We don’t always “hear” God respond to us right away, and when He does, it might happen unexpectedly. For example, He can speak to you through Scripture as you read and learn more about Him. He can reveal an image or a memory out of nowhere, like He does for me sometimes.

While we can always talk to God and tell Him what’s on our heart, He hears us just as much when we pray with Scripture or prayers like the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. These prayers are powerful, but sometimes we can get sucked into their repetitiveness and daydream or get distracted. When this happens, it’s important to keep bringing our attention back to Him and allow the repetition to deepen our contemplation.

Prayer as a Sacrifice
During Lent, we should strive to spend more time in prayer and grow deeper in our prayer life. We’re called to make sacrifices during Lent, and showing up to pray in and of itself is a sacrifice because we’re saying “yes” to being with God and saying “no” to something else we’d rather do. When we pray, we give of our time so that we can be with God and come to know Him more. No matter how you pray this Lent, I encourage you to commit to your prayer time. Be present and listen to what He’s telling you. It might not feel fruitful at first and you might not hear Him at first, but don’t let that discourage you from staying consistent. When you give God an inch, He’ll give you miles and miles back.

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In case you need some ideas, here are 8 different ways to pray this Lent:

  1. Read the Bible
  2. Pray Lectio Divina
  3. Go to Mass or read the daily Mass readings
  4. Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration
  5. Pray the Rosary
  6. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  7. Pray the Stations of the Cross
  8. Make a daily Examen of Conscience
Stay radiant!

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What Will Happen to Us in the Desert?

For this Sunday’s Gospel and other Mass readings, click here!

I remember hearing this Gospel reading when I was little, and I always compared the season of Lent to being in the desert. Jesus intentionally took time to pray and fast in the desert, and since we’re called to be like Him, we spend a season of praying and fasting. We create our own “desert” by foregoing things that distract us from God and things that are good so that we can focus more on the Most Good. The Holy Spirit led Jesus to spend 40 days in the desert, and the Holy Spirit leads and guides us throughout Lent. As we take on Lent 2021, we won’t wander through the desert exactly like Jesus did, but we can be certain of three things that we’ll experience in the desert of Lent.

What Will Happen to Us in the Desert?
What Will Happen to Us in the Desert?

We’ll Pray and Fast
In addition to almsgiving, prayer and fasting are necessary for Lent. Jesus spent His time in the desert praying and fasting, so we should follow His example and be intentional about these practices. Prayer and fasting go hand-in-hand. Fasting enhances prayer, and prayer makes fasting redemptive. Both of these practices are ways that we can intercede for others and grow in sacrificial love. In so many ways, Lent is not about us. When we commit to prayer and fasting, we deepen our faith by leaning on the Lord instead of on ourselves.

We’ll Be Tempted
At some point, we’ll hit what I like to call the “Lent slump.” Lent will lose it’s newness, we’ll crave the things we’re fasting from, and we’ll count down the days until Lent is over. Eventually, we all will be tempted to choose something else over God, whether that be sleep instead of prayer, or eating a snack instead of keeping our fast. Jesus was human, just like us, so even He experienced temptations. But Jesus was also perfect, so He didn’t fall. We’ll be tempted, but we can look to Jesus for strength. He can inspire us to be perfect like Him, and when we fall, He’s always there to forgive us and love us when we return to Him.

Jesus Will Be With Us
Speaking of Jesus, He’ll be present with us throughout Lent. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says “I am with you always.” Lent is a beautiful time of growth and renewal as we deepen our faith, but it’s also a difficult time of penance and discipline. Fortunately, Jesus will be with us through it all. This is a season of drawing near to Jesus, and the closer we get to Him, the more we’ll feel Him with us. Jesus wandered through the desert alone, but we don’t have to. When we’re feeling isolated and defeated in the desert, we can look up and remember that Jesus was there, and He’s here with us now.

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You might have started your journey through the desert eagerly, excited to repent and do penance. Maybe you entered the desert reluctantly because you’ve been dreading Lent. Either way, the Holy Spirit prompts us here to be close with Jesus. He’s inviting you to rely less on yourself and things of this world so that you can fall more in love with Him. The desert of Lent can be difficult and uncomfortable, but the growth it offers it’s necessary for our salvation. Jesus wandered in the desert praying and fasting for 40 days because it was necessary for His ministry. Those 40 days of sacrifice prepared Him for the ultimate sacrifice on Good Friday, and without Good Friday, there would be no Easter Sunday.

Stay radiant!

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This Sunday’s Gospel: February 14, 2021

For this Sunday’s Gospel and other Mass readings, click here!

I love seeing how the different Mass readings connect. In the first reading, we see how lepers were exiled from their community. They would live isolated from everyone else, and when they were around others, they would make sure everyone knew they had leprosy by yelling “unclean!”

If I were in their shoes, I would feel so insignificant. I would wonder if anyone missed me or if anyone was thinking about me at all. I would feel so embarrassed to claim that I was “unclean” around everyone. I can picture people crossing over to the other side of the road, staring, and whispering to each other about me. It breaks my heart to think that this was the reality for people with leprosy thousands of years ago.

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The leper in this Sunday’s Gospel reading had incredible faith. Not only did he recognize Jesus, but he approached Him. In a time when no one would dare to get close to a leper, Jesus let this one come near to Him to encounter Him. The leper recognized that he was unclean, but he brought his illness and the ugliness that came with it to Jesus. I can picture him kneeling there, sore and broken, knowing he’s unclean. Through it all, he gathers his faith and humility to ask if Jesus could make him clean.

Looking at my own life, I realize that I often feel too unclean to approach Jesus. I convince myself that Jesus doesn’t want to hear me confess the same sins again. I don’t feel worthy to adore Him or sit and listen to Him talk to me in prayer. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that He loves me so much that He died for me so that I could be with Him forever. Before I let these thoughts break me, I muster up my faith and approach Him anyway. I fall before Him, I show Him that I’m unclean, and I say “If you wish, you can make me clean.” And out of His infinite love, He does.

He makes me clean each and every time I fall before Him, and He can for you too.

Stay radiant!

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A Radiant Love Story

I have found the one who my soul loves.

Song of Songs 3:4

A Deep Desire of my Heart
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to get married. When I was little, I would play dress-up as a bride. As I grew up, I mused over the romantic ways that my future husband would sweep me off my feet. In college, I saw married couples who prayed and went to Mass together with their babies, and I could clearly picture myself in their shoes.

There were times when I discerned being a religious sister or a consecrated virgin, but through it all, the deepest desire of my heart was to get married and be a holy wife. I heard that God puts desires like these in our hearts for a reason, so I was convicted that my vocation was marriage. Every time I prayed about it and asked God to guide me to my vocation, the one that kept popping up in my heart and gave me the most peace was marriage.

A Radiant Love Story
A Radiant Love Story

Praying and Preparing
In college, I prayed and prayed to meet my future husband. Every day, I prayed that God would make me holy enough for him and the kind of wife that would lead him closer to God. I prayed that my future husband was preparing to meet me, praying for me, and becoming a godly gentleman. I prayed that we would love each other the way that God created us to be loved. Of course, there were a handful of guys that I had a crushes on. While some of them were my friends, we never became anything more than that. Once when I was growing impatient, I turned to Scripture for comfort. I wanted God to send me my future husband already, but a verse from Song of Songs stood out to me.

Do not awaken or stir up love until it is ready.

Song of Songs 3:5

God spoke to me through this verse at the perfect moment. I had realized that a guy who I liked didn’t like me back. I felt disheartened, but I also believed that God had someone else in mind for me. Song of Songs 3:5 reminded me that God will unfold the love story that He wrote for me when I’m ready and when the time is right. This verse helped me to trust in Him more completely. For a time, I was comfortable in my season of singleness. I spent it growing closer to God and becoming the woman who He wanted me to be.

After a few months, I met someone.

The One Who Broke my Heart
Before God gave me the one who my soul loves, He gave me the one who broke my heart. I dated a boy who came into and out of my life in a whirlwind. We met, we dated, and he left without warning. In hindsight, I know that it’s good that he broke my heart and left me. In many ways, he was not the one who God set aside for me. Although he hurt me deeply, he still taught me so much. My relationship with him showed me what true love doesn’t look like. While I hurt for a few months after that relationship ended, I knew that God allowed my heart to break for a reason. When I was at my lowest, God gave me the biggest blessing of my life.

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The One Who my Soul Loves
Nathan, my gift from God, came into my life and showed me what true, holy love looks like. He was a sweet friend of mine before he began to pursue me. He was patient and gentle with me, knowing that I was still fragile from my breakup. Within a month, we were good friends. Nathan and I spent time together and got to know each other for a while, and then on January 25, 2019 he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Throughout our time dating, Nathan showed me what a Godly gentleman looks like. He shows me his love through kind words and thoughtful gestures. He always reminds me of his support and love. He does little things for me, like open car doors, give me flowers, and leave me notes, to remind me that he loves me. He showers me with hugs and kisses to show me that he’s close. He prays with me and for me often. In my relationship with Nathan, I learned how to love someone the way that they need to be loved. We’re certainly not the perfect couple, but we turn to God through it all. In everything we do, we try to give glory to God as we run to Heaven together.

On January 23, 2021, Nathan asked me to marry him, and I joyfully said yes. Now, we’re one step closer to beginning our vocation of marriage. God truly did guide us to each other. We still have a lot of planning, preparing, and praying to do before we say “I do,” but we’re at peace knowing that we’ll spend the rest of our lives together. Every day, I fall more in love with my gift from God. It’s an adventure to learn his heart, and it’s a blessing to love him and be loved by him. It took a lot of patience, growth, and trust in God, but I finally found the one who my soul loves.

Stay radiant!

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