I’ve been a dangerous flirt in the past.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain.
I used to get a malicious pleasure in making heads turn. I was so proud to be considered beautiful, but oh how little I knew about Beauty. I rarely ever got past a first date in university because I was far too interested in the quick, easy and cheap validation I got from dressing immodestly and going clubbing on the weekend with my girlfriends.
Thanks be to God, good seeds had been planted in me when I was in high school. I cannot give sufficient thanks to my father who would drive me every Sunday a half hour each way to Mass/Life Teen, where I was taught Saint John Paul II’s teachings on theology of the body. Those early seeds I buried deep, but were not choked.
As many who are insufficiently catechized do, I spiraled downwards quickly in university, going to Mass only every other month or so.
A ray of sunshine finally made its way to my long forgotten seeds when a friend from high school, now a campus missionary with CCO led me in a faith study over the summer holidays. I was still drinking and partying every weekend at this point, but due to my 9-5 summer job, I stayed relatively tame during the week. Had it not been for the pre-existing friendship and the convenience, I wouldn’t have taken part in this faith study.
My baptismal promises were renewed.
At the end of the study, I was asked to renew my baptismal promises. Our Father is kind and patient, and knew in all His wisdom, that for change to be permanent in me, it had to occur slowly, but I had now given permission once more to the Holy Spirit to dwell in me.
Over the next two years, I continued to be a cafeteria Catholic, but less and less as I found community. I pursued more faith studies on campus and found people who were joyful. I had not known anybody so joyful since I had stopped attending my youth group. I wanted this deep rooted joy, but sin still clouded my vision and judgement until I was made a new creation.
After two years of coaxing from friends to attend an evening of praise and worship, I encountered Christ like a hurricane. Kneeling in adoration, something I had not done for at least six years, I did something perhaps even more frightening than beholding God; I confessed my sins.
I returned into the Church after many years of wandering. The good Father that He is, He let me weep, and pour my heart out. All the shame, all the brokenness, He beheld it, but did not turn away. He took me in with such love, such kindness: I was home.
My journey has not been easy since then, if anything, it has only gotten harder, as I found out after that evening, habitual sin requires a lot of humility and grace to overcome, but with Him, the yoke is light. I have had to return to the Sacraments nearly daily ever since to remain faithful. I had been spiritually starving for so long; I need my daily bread.
Shameless flirting, among many other sins, took some time to eradicate from my life, but He makes all things new. Who knew that a young boy born in a stable could change the whole course of my life? I stopped flirting/dating (imperfectly) and let Him romance me, teaching me real love, until He patched up some of my bigger wounds and was ready to let another man have a chance to love me. Now I know that though the love of men will always fail me, His love endures.