Single life has its perks, but it can also be a real struggle. The joy of freedom is often accompanied by loneliness and the desire to explore is often countered by the need to have a “home base.” Catholic singles may feel isolated in a culture of quick hook-ups. We are looking for something deeper, something more genuine, and the journey may alternate between exhilarating and grueling.
Many single people have trouble finding inspiration in the Saints. What does a nun know about dating, and how much can an ancient priest really say about attraction? The good news is, many saints spent their whole lives focused intently on God’s love. They have a lot to say about sharing that love with another. The quotes in this list will affirm, uplift, inform and challenge you in your journey. Whether you are hitting the dating scene hard or taking it slow, take a look at this list to find some of the most stirring, comforting and challenging saint quotes to help guide your spiritual journey.
1. The Joy of Giving of Yourself to Others
St. John Paul II is unique in that he lived and died very recently. He experienced the world as we know it now, and he has heaps of wisdom to share. Not to mention, he was so full of love that it bubbled up and spilled out over our whole church. I was brand new to the church when JP II passed away, but I had the privilege of watching the church mourn for a leader whom they considered to be a part of their family.
In this quote, St. John Paul II references the Beatitudes; think “Blessed are the…” In this list, Jesus promises his people comfort, satisfaction, mercy…even heaven. All he asks is that we be humble and pure of heart; that we mourn freely and thirst for righteousness. St. John Paul II says that, when we follow God in this way, we will be filled with joy.
So what does this have to do with single life? Well, you don’t have to be married to give of yourself to others. JP II is a testament to that. If you approach each new day as an opportunity to give your talents and treasures to those around you, your joy will be reflected back to you, and likely magnified. You will find joy in knowing that you have made others happy, and God will send you his grace in return for sharing his love with the world.
2. People are Made for Happiness
This little nugget of inspiration makes me feel all warm and fuzzy every time I read it. To be honest, faith can be a burden…and even a bore. Praying can be a struggle, especially if you’re battling feelings of loneliness and abandonment. It’s enough to make a believer question the purpose of God’s plan for us. Why did he even put me here if he knew I would be so miserable?
Thankfully, St. John Paul II is here to remind us that we were meant for something greater. When God created us, he had happiness in mind. He envisioned peace and contentment for us, not pain and suffering. So it makes sense that we long for happiness. Many people drive themselves crazy in pursuit of a perfect life: working late, abandoning hobbies and family events… but the truth is, happiness isn’t something we can “catch” if we just push ourselves a bit farther. It’s waiting for us in the arms of Jesus.
His way may not be the clearest, nor the easiest path, but if we trust in Christ’s word and stay close to him, he promises us that happiness will follow. So take a moment to reorient yourself. Point your priorities toward Christ and find hope in the knowledge that he has a happy ending for you.
3. Get to Heaven
Blessed Charles of Austria is a total gem. On his deathbed, he turned to his wife and said, “I’ll love you forever.” Someone pass the tissues! Anyway, Blessed Charles was born into a royal family and raised Catholic. From the day he was born, he had a group of people specifically dedicated to praying for him. As time went on, he served his country with great love and always desired peace. He became king of Hungary in 1916, and his rule was dominated by the terrors of WWI. Despite all this, he was deeply in love with his wife and raised eight children before dying young in exile.
On the day after his marriage ceremony, when the festivities were over and his life with his new wife had officially begun, Blessed Charles turned to her and said, “Now we must help each other get to Heaven.” His love for her was so pure and so complete that all he wanted was to see her obtain the peace and joy of heaven. This is an example we can emulate in daily life, as well as in our relationships.
4. Look for Nothing in Return
I first found a devotion to St. Therese when I learned that she fell asleep often while praying. Now that’s a girl after my own heart! Seriously though, St. Therese is real and she tells it how it is. She may have been a cloistered nun, but she lived the single life with pride and shared her love with her sisters, as well as with the world through prayer.
In this quote, Therese reminds us that love is not selfish. It’s focused on the good of the other. It asks for nothing in return. Well, what’s in it for me? The beauty of a true love relationship is that both parties are loving the other without a thought for themselves. When two people choose to sustain a relationship marked by this true and self-giving love, their love flows back and forth and creates a bond that will last a lifetime…and beyond.
5. Each of Us is Willed
Talk about a confidence boost! It never occurred to me that God thought me up one day and decided I was a good idea. I started out as a thought in his mind and he willed me into existence. The same goes for each of my friends, each of my family members, and each of the people I pass by on the street. Mind blown!
The wonderful thing about this quote from Pope Benedict XVI is that it reminds us that the time we spend on others is never wasted. People come and go in our lives. Whether their choices leave us inspired, or injured, it’s important to remember that they were designed specifically by God. Their lives are necessary, as is their role in your life. When we feel hurt by a loss or by a bad relationship, it’s important to remember that they are valuable to God…and a valuable part of our journey to him.
6. Jealousy is not Love
Saint Augustine might have lived over 1600 years ago, but he is truly a saint for our times. Although raised Catholic, he went through quite the party phase as a young adult. He even fathered a child out of wedlock at the age of 17. His mother St. Monica prayed fervently for his conversion, but his rebellious streak continued for quite some time. It wasn’t until his mid thirties that Augustine came back to the church and began the pursuit of holiness that would lead him to be declared a Doctor of the Church.
Although St. Augustine is most famous for his intellectual and theological writings, he knew a thing or two about romance and relationships. He may have been a bit of a playboy, but even Augustine knew that jealousy has no place in a relationship. People have a tendency to point fingers at men in this area, but women are prone to feelings of jealousy as well. When those nagging thoughts arise, be sure to talk about it. Communication is the key to a strong and healthy relationship.
7. Pray Together
I’ve been with the same man since we were wee teenagers, for over eight years now. He’s an amazing Catholic guy, and his faith has rescued mine on more than one occasion. That being said, we hardly ever pray together. The way we approach faith is night and day different; his way being mathematical and calculating, mine being emotional and artistic. Praying is a struggle for us because our prayers sound very different, and though we both approach God with humble hearts, we approach him in very different ways.
St. Benedict encourages us to spend time praying together, before we do anything else. Starting with prayer helps us work through any negative feelings that are lurking in our minds and hearts. It sets us up for a peaceful and joyful time together. It also helps us orient our relationship toward Christ. Prayer is the way to go!
8. What Should You be?
St. Bernardino is best known as an eloquent preacher, but he spent his early years tending to plague victims in his hometown. Once the plague passed, he tended to his sick aunt until she passed away. Everything he did, he did with gusto. He even fell ill from exhaustion as a young man and preached 50 consecutive days at the end of his life. St. Bernardino poured his whole life into everyone he cared for and every homily he preached. He is a fabulous example of living life to the fullest in pursuit of Christ.
While alive, St. Bernardino was full of vim and vigor. His boundless energy comforted many plague victims and inspired crowds. It’s appropriate that he would issue a challenge to guide our lives. If you are looking for a partner who loves the Lord, who values God’s word and follows his teachings…you must be that type of person, yourself. You must be ready to comfort your partner in times of spiritual dryness and encourage your partner in times of zeal. If you’re able to do this for each other, your relationship with be strengthened by a faith that never wears out.
9. Let’s Run Together
Here goes St. Therese again, calling it how she see it. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to run together…unless that’s your thing. You do you.
This quote goes hand in hand with St. Bernardino’s challenge. Once you find a virtuous partner and make an effort to be holy yourself, you will have a strong foundation on which to build a lasting relationship. You’ll know that you and your partner are on the same page. From there, you can run full speed toward Christ and everything he has promised you.
Just like St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”
10. The Dignity of Man and Woman
This quote from JPII is often to shortened to just the first sentence. It’s a shame that we are quick to place so much pressure on men. We ask them not to objectify, to treat women as equals, but also like royalty, to reel in their urges…the list goes on and on. Ladies, it’s about time we step up our game. Let’s make our men feel treasured! Men are our comforters, our cheering squad; our problem solvers. They deserve to be treated with utmost respect.
Talk to your man and let him know what you love about him. Say thank you when he lifts you up. Try not to talk badly about him with your friends. If you need advice, take it to a trusted source: someone who can keep your concerns confidential. Support him in his adventures, and mourn with him in his losses. Learn about his interests so you can chat with him about the things that make him click. Show him that you value him and ask him to do the same for you. A relationship built on mutual respect is a relationship that is built to last.
11. Doing it all for Love
St. Therese is the star of the show when it comes to love. Her Little Way is all about loving God in small daily actions. She proved to the world that you don’t have to be flayed or roasted alive to make it to heaven. All you have to do is devote your heart to God, who is Love itself. She encourages us to make small sacrifices for the people around us. Smile at a stranger, chat with the grocery clerk; pick up trash along the sidewalk. Anything you do to make life better for those around you is a pleasing sacrifice to God.
This Little Way can be applied to your relationships as well. Take your partner lunch during the workweek, sacrifice some of your free time to support his/her interests or give up a Saturday to help with his/her to-do list. Every little sacrifice is a gift of love which will strengthen your bond. Sacrificing for the good of another is often hard, but it can be very rewarding as well. You will likely feel a sense of joy and warmth in knowing that your actions have made someone feel loved.
12. Just Listen
St. Julian of Norwich…she gets it. She is recognized as one of the first woman authors and her writings are full of peace and hope. Many people came to her for advice in the midst of plague and poverty. Everyone who came to her felt a sense of peace, comfort, and renewed energy for the trials ahead. In this quote, St. Julian reveals the secret to her wildly successful spiritual counseling sessions: she listens.
It’s no secret that each and every one of us craves to be heard. Whether it’s in a time of joy or a time of difficulty, we need people nearby who are willing to hear and respond to us. This is why social media is so successful. We have instant access to friends and family, acquaintances and strangers 24/7. Whether we need to celebrate a victory or spill a secret, there is always someone online who will listen. Sometimes, though, we need someone who will listen to us in person: hold our hands, pat our backs, or give us a high five. Make an effort to be this person to those around you and you will find support whenever you need it along your journey.
13. Love Empties Us
This quote is tough to swallow. No one wants to feel empty. In fact, that’s exactly the opposite of what I want to be! What St. Teresa of Calcutta doesn’t mention here is what happens after you empty yourself for others. God fills you right back up! Your anxieties are replaced by peace and your insecurities are replaced by holy confidence. When you sacrifice your own desires for another, you are filled to the tippy-top with grace.
This doesn’t mean that you will never struggle. Exhaustion, frustration, and even irritation are common human reactions to self sacrifice. They are a hallmark of the basic survival instincts that keep us alive. Not to worry, these can be a sacrifice as well. Some people are able to lift these feelings up to God and move on. I find that I need to express them before I can let them go. Who says a saint can’t vent? Either way, recognize your feeling and keep pushing forward. The prize is worth the race!
14. Continue to be Patient
Last but not least, be patient. Anyone else stifling a groan? As a child, I used to love it when my parents asked me to be patient. It was the easiest thing in the world for me, and I usually got a treat in return for being so good. Then I was introduced to all kinds of difficult people and all the challenges of adult living. Now, if you tell me to be patient, you’d better turn and run in the other direction.
Being patient is hard. It might seem simple at first, but with every disappointment, every false start, it becomes more and more difficult. I’m no theologian, but I think patience may be the biggest hang-up that keeps people from to devoting themselves wholly to Christ. It’s difficult to recognize an answer to prayer when it doesn’t come until years and years later. If God isn’t listening to my prayers, why should I listen to his teachings? The truth is, God is listening and the plan he has for your life is better than any that you could ever design for yourself. It just may not follow the timeline you expected. So, be patient and wait to see all of the good that God has in store for your life.