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Our Spousal Relationship with Christ: Giving Who We Are

“To whom do I belong to?” 

In the depths of every person’s heart lies this question. And it isn’t surprising, as the Lord made each one of us for communion and we were not created to be alone. 

Yet, it is so easy for our hearts to be attached to things or people, so easy for our identities to be misplaced, whether that be in a romantic partner, a friend, our job and hobbies, food, music. 

In the last 40 days, each of us have (hopefully) partaken in some form of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Lent was not a time to just detach our hearts from things of the world. Nor was it a time to simply break bad habits, lose some weight, persevere in self-improvement, or practice grit. It is a time to contemplate Christ’s sacrifice for us and allow God to fill the spaces in our hearts that those worldly things once took up. We make Jesus the forefront of our lives and remember who we were truly made for: God Himself. A Lent full of detachments from the world without an attachment to God leaves us with a heart without belonging. 

I have been pondering the question of “to whom do I belong to?” quite a bit throughout Lent. Like many other single, 25-year-old women, the topic of vocational discernment comes up in my mind more often than not. It is very tempting, these days, to look down upon my singleness with disdain, especially amidst peers who have seemingly “made it” as Catholic young adults by getting engaged, married, or having children. The pressure to find a spouse whether internal or external feels like a persistent nudge in a race to the “spiritual finish line” where I find myself equating vocation with “maturity.” 

This can probably be attributed to a few things, but I think it is namely because our society does not teach us how to live our singleness well. Singleness in adulthood from the world’s perspective is usually depicted as a life of loneliness, lacking in responsibility, lacking in commitment, and abundant in freedom to indulge in whatever the world has to offer. But if only we knew the preciousness of our own God-given bodies and souls would we see just how real of a responsibility, commitment, and true freedom it is to be a single person. 

Why? Because each of us is called to a spousal relationship with Christ (married people are too). The greatest marriage the world has ever seen was when Christ died on the cross, giving His whole self out of love for our salvation. His marriage to us, the Church. The question for us is: Will we say “yes” to Him too?

What would happen if we dared to enter into silence with God alone? To rest in His most Sacred Heart? To choose to give our whole selves to God every single day, regardless of our season of life? And how drastically would our lives change if we began to see ourselves as belonging to God? To look upon our hands and feet and say, “these belong to you, God?” To feel the beat of our heart and say, “this heart belongs to you, God?” To behave as though every action we took belonged to Him? To see every Lenten commitment as a commitment to Jesus our bridegroom, who promises His whole life to us? 

I know that our lives would look very different. We can see this very clearly in those who have answered the call to religious life or the priesthood. I often think of religious sisters as big arrows that point my heart to Heaven, reminding me of who I am made for. If we knew our belonging like priests and religious do, we would experience profound love, joy, and freedom because Christ fulfills all of our desires.

But we shouldn’t wait and twiddle our thumbs for a vocational call to consecrated life to be united with Jesus. There also is no race to a “spiritual finish line.” Jesus is present with us every day and wants us to choose Him now. Belonging means that I am chosen. Belonging means that I choose Christ. Belonging means that everything I am is His. 

I often like to close my personal prayer time like this: With my palms up in front of me, eyes looking upon the tabernacle or Crucifix, I take a deep breath in and whisper, “I love you.” Then I exhale and whisper, “I trust you.” Breathing in is a way for my body and soul to receive the love the Lord has to give me, and exhaling is a way for my body and soul to surrender to God. Now, I would like to begin adding another phrase to this closing prayer: 

“I belong to you.” 

I love you. I trust you. I belong to you. 

Even on days where it is difficult to do this prayer or my heart and emotions do not seem to be fully “in it,” I try to do it anyway. Speaking the words “I belong to you” is a deeper commitment of myself to Christ my spouse. It’s not only a commitment of my actions or the things I have, because there is no option to pick and choose what we give when He asks us for who we are. It is not possible to leave parts of ourselves at the foot of the cross. Like Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John the disciple, we must fully come face to face with the one who gave His life for us and give ours in return.

“Our virtues begin in our soul’s disposition, but they affect our active life–the one others see. The active life takes place through the body, in the world, and it must be balanced because we know the world isn’t our final destination. Our souls, however, do not need to be ‘balanced’; they must be entirely reverent, completely pure, and totally docile toward God. A soul fully alive in God will seek Him in all that the body does. We want to be saints? There’s no place for balance in our souls, and the more we direct our soul to God, the better we practice moderation in the world…” - Kaylene Brown from the Magnify 90 guidebook

“To whom do I belong to?” when asked sincerely, is a question that reveals our disordered attachments and vocalizes the longing in our hearts for our maker. When the world fails us, whether that be a job, people that we love, we can rest assured in our identity as the beloved who are already chosen by God. 

As we enter into Triduum and the Easter season, let us remember the hope of the Resurrection, our chosenness, and the promise that God has made to each of us, which is eternal life with Him. While we may choose to partake again in the things we gave up for Lent, let us practice prudence and magnanimity, so that we can continue to be more attached to the Lord and remember that we are in the world but not of it. The bridegroom chooses us every day, let us choose Him every day too.


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