A Catholic Single's Guide to Hope

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“Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience. Or give it a more fascinating name: Call it hope.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

My English-major self loves all things Jane Austen, as I’ve noted on this blog before.

I was just reminded of this quote recently, and I think its theme is key to faith as much as it is to dating.

You need to be happy with yourself and your life before you can be happy sharing your life with someone else. That’s what Jane Austen illustrates in her novels. The heroines discern the heroes’ characters so they know their marriages are based on love and virtue. That’s the point of a new interview (at National Review Online) with Elizabeth Kantor, the author of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After.

And being hope-filled is necessary in today’s dating landscape. We’ve all been there, myself included: Hearing about yet another wedding or going to another wedding can cause us to wonder when our time will come.

But we can’t lose hope in ourselves or in God.

I recently interviewed Emily Stimpson, the author of The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years. Her advice is so practical and full of good reminders for us singles.

I especially like this point about how we need to represent good Catholic living “by being joyful, hopeful, uncompromising witnesses to the truth of the Church’s teachings about femininity, sexuality, vocation and holiness” in the midst of a culture that opposes those values.

Why? Because our hope is true and points to the One who loves us as we are, single and waiting. Austen’s heroines did that — and they found their Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Capt. Wentworth, etc., as a result.

As Emily adds, “For anyone, married or single, those teachings are the only path to peace, wholeness and joy. But if no one in the culture sees people walking that path, it’s going to be awfully hard for them to believe that or walk it themselves.”

That’s also the message of Catholic singer-songwriter Jackie Francois: “My hope for single people who are discerning is that they seek holiness before seeking a spouse, knowing that Jesus the Bridegroom gives a peace and joy that no person on this earth could ever give.”

Well said, Emily, Jackie and Jane. :)