Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Most Pelagian Day of the Year

Happy New Year all my little Singles and sympathetic non-Singles! I am back from Mass, and well primed with champagne. Time to harangue you and generally get up your nose and say things your mother is too nice or too afraid to say.

The first thing I want you girls to do is to cross "Get a boyfriend/husband" off your resolution list. Shame on you for trying to pre-determine the fate of other people. Shame shame shame. Why not just cook up a love potion, shove it in a box of chocolates and randomly hand the box around? It's the extreme of what you are plotting on your little list. Getting a boyfriend/spouse is not something that you do but something that happens. You can lose (or try to lose) ten pounds, or increase your earnings, or quit smoking, or learn French, but you cannot make a man fall in love with you. You can only be pleased or distressed when one does.

And because, like Nature, I unashamedly have a double-standard, I am hoping that men-not-called-to-Single life have themselves made a resolution to get to know more girls with an eye to perhaps future courtship. However, I will remind that you too can not make people fall in love with you, although women are often impressed and flattered by a real effort.

There is a limit, though. If a girl says, "Just friends," drop her flat and try someone else. Don't waste your time on piddly little friendships with girls who want to be "just friends." Let the sudden drying up of your attentions teach them what happens when they say "Just friends" to perfectly eligible bachelors like yourself.

Pelagius, in case you haven't yet supplemented the sub-standard religious education common to most Catholic schools, was the great theological rival of St. Augustine and therefore a superstar among heretics. Pelagius, who was British, thought you could become good without prevenient Grace; in short he thought everyone should just pull himself up by his own moral bootstraps. He did not think you needed God's help to do this. And like all super-duper heresies, this attitude has never gone away. You cannot be good without God's help, and you cannot get married without His help, either.

As I like to say, the primary reason why Searching Singles are not yet married is that God has not willed it. Therefore, when wondering why you are still Single, the person to talk to is God, because He is primarily responsible. He has not yet brought the handsome or pretty stranger into your life, and why not, eh? Only He knows, but it must be for a good reason. Possibly your future spouse (if you have one) isn't ready for you yet. Goodness knows, my own spouse wasn't ready for me until two or three days after I met him in person, which is when he was received into the Church.

So if you have made a resolution to get engaged this year to someone you haven't even met yet or, worse, someone who isn't at all in love with you, then cross it off your list and write "Meet more friendly people." That you can do. Try to meet people of all ages. Grown-ups don't hang out only with people born the same year as themselves, and they often know other people your age, e.g. their lovely daughters, handsome sons, witty grandchildren.

Under that write "Be happier and more confident." That, too, is up to you. Pray for the grace to accept what life throws at you more cheerfully and for confidence. Happiness and confidence make you more attractive than any cosmetic surgery known to man.

Under that write "Try to be more pleasant in public." Letting it all hang out is not, actually, the cardinal virtue opposed to the sin of hypocrisy. It is sloppiness, and generally a bad idea except among your very best friends of the same (THE SAME) sex. Even married people should do their best to keep up appearances before their poor old spouses, who cannot escape. Personally, I have resolved to stop using bad words in front of dear B.A. Women should endeavour not to use bad words before men, and I would have eighteen thousand fits if BA used bad words before me.

So although women cannot in fact "Get a boyfriend/spouse" and men usually cannot make the Queen Bee of their set want to snog them and them alone, there are things that you can do to make yourself more attractive to other Searching Singles. Just remember that you can't control other people, and that God is the boss.


Andrea said...

I am ever so grateful you find the time to write this blog. Never underestimate how wise your words are, and how comforting. Happy New Year!!

Jen D said...

A great reminder for the new year...thank you! And I love your writing - I laughed out loud multiple times during this post because of how close to home your points hit. Happy New Year! :)

Nekeisha said...

I found your blog in the middle of 2010 and I am look forward to reading more in 2011. I hope NOT to be single for much of 2011 but I haven't put it in my resolutions. I plan to travel, keep a journal (fingers crossed on that one), keep a budget, participate more in church events in my area, meet new people. I am looking forward to what 2011 and God has in store for me.

The Crescat said...

Happy New Year, Dear Auntie Seraphic. The only 2 things on my resolution list was to learn Spanish beyond profanities and learn to knit. I will add your suggestions to meet more nice people and be nicer in public.

Sound advice indeed.

Jasmina said...

Happy happy New Year Dear Seraphic!! Thanks for sharing your aunty wisdom with us :)

Ginger said...

My resolutions are to go to confession weekly, be better about saying my daily rosary, work out more often (how original, right?) and be a more outwardly joyous person.

beowulf2k8 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maggie said...

Why congrats, Auntie, you have your first official troll comment. This means you're moving up into the big leagues of bloggers!

Thank you for this post. An excellent way to keep perspective on a holiday full of, as you so rightly described, Pelagianism.

This morning during prayer three things came to mind as I was praying about resolutions. Discipline, temperance, and prayerful-ness. Broad categories, but ones that encompass the virtues I hope to posses, and the ways in which I hope to grow this year :-)

And yes, " case you haven't yet supplemented the sub-standard religious education common to most Catholic schools..." made me laugh aloud. Too true.

Clare C said...

Have you actually read this blog at all? Because Seraphic absolutely advises meeting people, being friendly, being social, trying to make oneself attractive. She offers the very sensible advice of marrying someone who shares your most important values, not necessarily denominational conformity.

But, the bottom line remains, that if you are looking for a love match, ultimately it is not up to you. You can only "find a mate for yourself" in the same way that you buy a house or car if you are willing to have an arranged marriage. Two people falling in love is a beautiful and unplannable event; it is not a carefully controlled lab experiment or something you can pencil in on your calendar. If you are an atheist you can chalk it up to chance or the tragic absurdity of life or whatever, and if you are religious you can chalk it up to God's will.

But either way "You're single because you are religious" is in the same line as "You're single because you don't bake cookies/wear perfume/ drop out of grad school." Useless at best, insulting at worst.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Seraphic. Great post, as usual.
I have a question: I've started to attend a TLM parish and, like you already stated, most of its members are twenty-something men. Nothing against that, au contraire!

But I don't know how to behave amongst this young, conservative, NCB. All my life I went to a charismatic parish and it's a whole diferent world.

I would like to make friends with them and, well, I've never had male friends - I'm a girl's girl and, honestly, I'm not very experienced. They are so nice, giving me flyers and explaining the liturgy, but I barely know them and I would not like to send any mixed signals. It's a very small parish and I don't want to be "the flirt".

Seraphic said...

I don't know who this Beowulf person is, but my internet was down all yesterday, which is why his comment is still there. Normally I get rid of trolls at once.

I work very hard to keep a safe, welcoming atmosphere for Catholic Singles and other Singles of good will, and so good-bye to "Beowulf."

Seraphic said...

Professional atheists are so boring. Their obsession with God is creepy and rather sad.