Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The church asks all Catholics to enter into Lent to deepen spiritual bonds and grow in love of Christ.
Most of us (even married couples!) focus on Lenten penances and practices individually, so why a whole post on Lent as a single Catholic man or woman? There are some specific ways as a Catholic using online dating that you can enter into the Lenten season.
If you’re hoping to arrive at the celebration of Easter as a healther, holier Catholic man or woman, here are some things you can focus on!
Fast from scrolling
Scrolling is tempting any time, so what better time to give it up than Lent? Scrolling, or “doom scrolling” as it’s sometimes called, is when you just pick a social app and scroll through it endlessly, not really getting anything out of it and not doing anything productive.
This can be especially harmful on a dating app because the purpose of having an online dating profile is to make connections. As Catholics, we always have remember the humanity of the men or women behind the online dating profile. Doom scrolling decentralizes the person and emphasizes the entertainment factor of being on a dating app filled with people.
This is no good.
What will you do to fill the time that you used to spend scrolling? If you do find yourself scrolling through potential matches, say a prayer for every person you scroll past. This will keep their humanity front and center.
Also, set a time limit for how often you’re logged into dating apps. This will give you hard and fast limitations, which is essential during Lent.
Pray for your future spouse
Another way to get focused as a single Catholic man or woman this Lent is to pray for your vocation. This could also involve saying prayers for your future spouse.
Lent is also a good time to examine if your online dating is properly ordered. Maybe it’s coming before your relationship with the Lord, and you’re spending time that you set aside for prayer scrolling your dating apps instead. If that’s the case, remember that it’s okay to take a break for a while to define the relationship you want to have with your online dating apps.
If you do decide to take a break, take the money you would’ve spent on a month of online dating and give it to a charity or even to an individual homeless person you encounter on the street. Don’t save the money. Give it away and make it an offering of love from you to your true love, Christ.
Freshen up your profile
Lent is the perfect time for a little spring cleaning. Take stock of your profile and see if anything is outdated or no longer true (or maybe was never really true). Add some new things that are going on in your life or new ways of looking at the world that you have discovered. Life can change quickly, so it’s always a good idea to freshen up your profile a couple times per year. Make Lent one of those times.
This is a good Lenten practice because it asks you to take stock of who you’re presenting yourself to be. See if you have any hangups you need to sort through, any aspects of the Catholic faith you struggle with, or if you struggle in your view towards potential partners.
Then, take those things to prayer and work on them over these next forty days. This will make you a better person, Catholic, and potential partner.
Maybe you’ve been talking to a couple different people through online dating apps and haven’t made a decision about them, yet. Lent is a great time to pray about committing to one of them in a relationship if the Lord is calling you to a relationship. Supercharge this prayer of asking the Lord for his will in your life with some form of fasting.
Commiting to an intentional relationship is a great way of emptying yourself and coming closer to Christ through another person. You have to get rid of the excess and make a commitment to grow with one person.
You may discern that you’re not be called to commit to anyone right now. If that’s the case, pray for the persons you’ve cut loose and say a prayer for yourself, too. Then say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for each of these people and who they are, even if they are not right for you.
Always give thanks, even in the desert.
If you’re not currently committed to someone, make this Lent the time you reach out to someone new. Find someone who seems interesting and reach out!
Lent is a time of connection with God, with self, and with others. It is a time of overcoming ourselves to be more fully present in the world. This is your time!
Remember to be upfront with your intentions in conversation. You might be unsure where it will lead, and that’s okay. Keep being open and honest throughout your conversations and let the person know if anything changes.
If you find you’re a good fit as potentially more than friends, ask the person on a date! Who wouldn’t love to go to Stations of the Cross and to the parish fish fry as a great communal date? Or decide to check out a new seafood restaurant together one Friday.
Whatever it is, have fun. Lent is about ashes and penance, but it’s also about the glory of God alive in the world because of the sacrifice on the Cross and the Resurrection.
This Lent, you can approach even online dating in a different way that will ultimately bring you closer to God. May your Lent be fruitful and fulfilling!