St Bega

Virgin (entered heaven some time in the seventh century)

Dear Bee,

You’re dead wrong.  I’m sorry to be blunt, but it sounds like nobody else is giving you solid advice, so I am bound to do my duty.  Your dating habits matter a lot. It is not indifferent what you do with the gift of your sexuality. If you get into a series of casual relationships, temporary intimacies, just because it’s comforting and cozy to have a guy around, you’re not being faithful to the Church’s vision for relationships.  Romance is not to be taken lightly (though it is meant to be enjoyable, of course). God invented it in order to pave the way to courtship and the kind of unique friendship that blossoms in marriage. If you ignore that and just play around, even without “going too far” as you put it, you are playing dice with diamonds.  I think you need a little reminder from today’s saint.

Bega was an Irish princess.  Her dad arranged a marriage for her to a handsome and powerful prince of Norway.  But the beautiful young lady had already promised her virgin heart and body to Christ, such had been the Spirit’s invitation in her life.  In fact, so the story goes, an angel had even given her a bracelet in token of her consecration (such things are not unheard of among the women mystics of the Church).  

Her father didn’t want to hear any spiritual hogwash, however.  So she decided to flee. It is said that her bracelet worked a miracle, and she floated across the Irish Sea to northern England on a tuft of grass.  There she took refuge from the world and lived in prayer and poverty as a hermit. King Saint Oswald found her one day when he was pursuing a band of marauders, and convinced her that she should continue her vocation in a convent.  Soon, with the help of Saint Aiden, she arranged for the construction of her own abbey (she cooked and cleaned for the workers as they built it – she was no silver-spooned aristocrat), where she attracted many vocations and spent the rest of her days serving God and the poor.

I’m not saying you should enter a convent – only God and your heart know if he is calling you to the consecrated life – but I am saying that your sexuality, your intimacy, your capacity for romantic and spousal love is not something to treat lightly, no matter how casual everyone else acts about it.  You only have one heart to give; don’t throw it to the dogs (even the good-looking ones).

Your loving uncle, Eddy

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