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The Courage to Be Chaste (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1985)

A couple years ago, I bought a copy of The Courage to Be Chaste. I stopped reading it when I learned in its first pages that Groeschel — a Franciscan friar and a psychologist — wrote it for people who intend to be perpetually celibate. NOPE, I thought. Not me. Not reading it. And I stuck it on a shelf.

I had yet to tell myself what I’ve since started telling myself each time I start an “I’m still single” pity party: SUCK IT UP. I don’t remember when I accepted that I have no idea if I will ever get married. I also don’t remember when I acknowledged that it’s ok if I don’t. But I did, so it was with a mind more open than it used to be that I carried The Courage to Be Chaste onto flights from Tampa to Houston and Houston to San Diego last week.

It is with sincerity that I say this: The Courage to Be Chaste is one of the best books I have ever read. The world needs this book because

An Excerpt From Chapter 5 of ‘Chastity Is For Lovers’

This post is an excerpt from chapter 5 — “Love: The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Have to Do” — of my forthcoming book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, (Ave Maria Press, 2014).

Chastity_is_for_Lovers_3DIn the dark on the seventh deck of a Miami-bound cruise ship, I curled into a comfy chair to the left of the stage in the Latin club.

A Dominican quartet played live music. I sat alone, up late for the last night of my trip.

I tipped back my glass of ice water to take a swig, and the giant white napkin I at first didn’t know was stuck to the glass’s bottom shone like a beacon in the night.

Smooth.

I laughed at myself when I noticed the napkin, tore it off the tumbler’s sweaty bottom, and made another, more startling discovery: the Dominican quartet’s drummer probably saw it happen. He had a smile on his face, at least, and a güiro in his hand, while he watched me from behind his drum kit. I smiled back and nodded to the beat of the merengue he played.

While we held eye contact, my heart stopped before it pumped faster, and I blushed and got butterflies. For no sensible reason, I wanted to meet him. I had to meet him. I also had to get some sleep, in order to be ready to debark at the port at 7:00 a.m.

PRIESTS ARE COOL! | Fr. Victor Amorose edition.

This post is part of a monthly series called PRIESTS & NUNS ARE COOL! in which I interview a priest or a nun about his or her vocation — and about how adults who haven’t discerned a vocation yet can discover their own. This edition features Fr. Victor, a parochial vicar at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, Fla.

It’s worth noting that the first time I met Fr. Victor IRL was while we crossed paths at a Christian music fest at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I said hi as he passed by, but I didn’t discover until later that he — who I saw not far from Space Mountain — is totally a priest I follow on Twitter!

fr victor and me

Fr. Victor — who enjoys playing guitar, bass, piano and a bunch of other random stringed instruments and listening to music, watching movies, playing video games, and anything and everything related to baseball (especially the Tampa Bay Rays) — is gracious to discuss his vocation for this series, and to tell us how an adult who doesn’t know his or hers yet might discover it:

An Excerpt From Chapter 3 of ‘Chastity Is For Lovers’

This post is an excerpt from chapter 3 — “Providence: A Reason For Reckless Abandon” — of my forthcoming book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, (Ave Maria Press, 2014).

Chastity_is_for_Lovers_3DI am single, and I am happy, but I am not always happy to be single. It isn’t fun to feel like a third wheel, or a fifth wheel.

There are no warm and fuzzy feelings in discovering, while walking and talking with a friend and her boyfriend, that I am talking to myself because they stopped ten feet back to hug.

. . . Being single is especially difficult during holiday seasons, or at theme parks, where—nearly without fail—I am sandwiched between couples in lines for rides, uncomfortably privy for upwards of forty-five minutes to all the ways they can publicly display their affection. What they are is a reminder of what I’m not: taken.

But I have had to learn to snap out of self-pity when it hits, because feeling sorry for yourself when you’re unhappy doesn’t make you happy. Changing your perspective does. When we feel unhappy, is it because we’re single or is it because of what we say to ourselves about being single?

“Nobody wants to be with me.”

“I’m clearly not attractive.”

“I’m going to be alone forever.”

First, prove it. And second, when you can’t prove it (and I promise you can’t), consider, is it possible to feel happy while thinking thoughts like that?

The Song | A Movie Review

In forthcoming film The Song, on a stage in front of an un-enthused crowd at a bar too quiet for comfort, musician Jed King (Alan Powell) leaned toward the mic and sang a line that can’t not affect a good listener: “Love is a choice worth making.”

the song

The life Jed didn’t yet know he would lead would put the line he sang into perspective. But that night, Jed — then young and single — sat offstage after the show, across from a manager who had no work to offer other than a gig a half hour from home at a fall festival hosted by a vineyard.

He met her there — “the most beautiful girl in the world,” he said in a song he made up as he went along, whose ex-boyfriend broke up with her “for the dumbest reason in the world” (she wouldn’t sleep with him).

She was Rose (Ali Faulkner), the vineyard owner’s daughter whose prudence inspired Jed’s. They dated, with the vineyard owner’s permission — it was Jed’s idea to ask him, not Rose’s — and decided, upon Jed’s proposal, to get married.