If I’d had any idea how much Mary would have grabbed hold of my heart when I started praying the rosary consistently I’d like to believe I would have started praying the rosary a lot sooner. Then again, she knew exactly when she could grab hold of my heart and bring it to her Son. Late one night last August I found myself in an adoration chapel crying my eyes out to Jesus, when I felt strangely compelled to take the rosary bracelet off my wrist and actually pray it. I prayed it for the very intention that had brought me sobbing to the adoration chapel that night. Mary nudged me to pray the rosary every night for this intention for three weeks. “Okay,” I thought, “three weeks, and then I’m done.”
Mary was right, I was wrong. I’ve prayed the rosary every day since then and the fruits of it are endless. As I become more familiar with the different mysteries (I’ll admit that I only really knew the sorrowful ones until a few months ago), I find such richness in them. Lately I’ve been stuck on the joyful mysteries and how they relate to dating and budding relationships (keeping in mind that, clearly, I’m writing from a girl’s perspective!).
I like to think of new relationships as a story. Every story has a beginning, that moment when someone comes along, perhaps an angel or a little birdie in your ear, and announces some good news to you. “So-and-so really does like you…and they are single!” Or perhaps in prayer and discernment God reveals to us that He does want us to pursue marriage. All at once, a beautiful new journey has begun.
Dating begins and a new relationship begins to blossom. Two people spend more time with each other as they get to know one another. Just like Mary and Elizabeth, joy is shared between two people as they begin to realize that God has brought them together for some purpose. Mary’s hopes are confirmed when she sees that nothing is impossible for God, because even Elizabeth in her old age has conceived. Similarly, the two people that God has brought together begin to realize that nothing is impossible for God, and so they come to trust in His plan.
A new relationship is born! Two people slowly begin to come together in prayer and discernment of exactly where God is leading them. There is a new element of joy between two people as they continue to realize their mutual attraction, and that God is leading the relationship and calling them to be together.
As a relationship progresses, the couple should continue to constantly seek the Lord’s will for them, both individually, and as a couple. In essence, the couple present their relationship to the Lord, laying at His feet. Mary presents Christ in the Temple and is told that a sword will pierce her heart, and yet she does not turn away. The couple present their relationship to the Lord and, in imitation of Mary, do their best to follow Him, regardless of where He leads.
The Finding in the Temple
Isn’t this the desired goal of a relationship? To be found in God’s Temple? I should think so! The couple comes to a point where they have laid their relationship at God’s feet and God has blessed their relationship, so much so that He desires to sacramentalize it! Think of Mary’s joy when, after three days of searching, she finds Jesus exactly where He should be: in His Father’s house. For months and years we’ve searched for the fulfillment of our vocation, until at last we find it in God’s Temple!
All of our relationships have a different journey. Not everyone will be found in the Temple. But some day, God willing, we will find the fulfillment of our vocation in God’s house as He seeks to share His joy with us through the spouse that He will lead us to.