Squash those Pre-date Jitters

So what does “dating Jesus” actually look like? How do I even do this?

Those might be the questions you are wondering at this point and they are very important questions.  Unfortunately, they aren’t questions I can fully answer for you.  I will, however, offer some inspired advice.  The reason I can’t tell you exactly how to date Jesus is the same reason I wouldn’t tell you exactly how to date a normal man – I am setting you up, I’m not forcing you together.  My goal is to help you along the way, to be your spiritual matchmaker, and to set you up for success in your spiritual love life.

Jesus wants an intimate relationship with every one of us.  He also wants a personal relationship with each of us.  Because it is personal, your relationship with Jesus will be unique to you.  I don’t know the talents that you’ve been gifted with, the blessings God has bestowed on you, or the struggles you face day to day.  God does, though, and all of those blessings and struggles make you who you are. It is His humility that allows us to take all these blessings and struggles to Him, just like we would our husband or boyfriend or dearest friend.

St. Teresa of Calcutta offers a beautiful reflection on this very topic:

“I can understand the greatness of God but I cannot understand his humility.  It becomes so clear in him being in love with each one of us separately and completely.  It is as if there is no one but me in the world.  He loves me so much. Each one of us can say this with great conviction.” 2

Notice how St. Teresa doesn’t just say that God loves us, she specifically reminds us that God is in love with each of us.  He wants to woo us, He wants to be the cause of that butterflies in your stomach, can’t get Him off your mind, constant state of smiling kind of love.  Imagine how you would feel if you let Him.

Are you ready for the heavenly fireworks kind of love?  Then you will need to spend some time reflecting on how exactly Jesus wants to woo you, ponder on how He intends to sweep you off your feet.  The best way to do this is through prayer, which at its core is simply a conversation with God.  At this point it is not so much about you asking Jesus on a date as it is opening your heart to allow Him to invite you.

This can be difficult.  I never really learned how to do this when I was younger, so it wasn’t something I was very familiar with.  To me, prayer wasn’t so much a conversation as it was me reciting things that other people had written.  Our traditional prayers are important, I don’t think I could survive without my rosary, but they need to be gateways that lead us to a personal conversation with God.

In order to have a conversation, at some point we need to stop talking and let God talk.  Listening is key here.  Jesus is a gentleman, He doesn’t like to interrupt.  Go to Him.  Imagine yourself in front of Jesus, His tender eyes looking into the depths of yours, a faint grin on His lips as He waits for you to speak to Him.  Then tell Him you want to be closer to Him, tell Him you want to fall head over heels in love with Him.  Then listen, and allow Him to invite you on the path that will foster that wild love He and you both desire.

There are many different options that Jesus might choose to invite you into that love.  For me, it was daily Mass.  He asked me to make the effort to go and see Him every day, and to receive Him, truly and intimately receive Him through the Eucharist.  Daily Mass is a wonderful place to meet Jesus because it is usually a quieter more introspective experience.

It’s a quiet time where you can not only just be with Jesus in His True Presence, but you can become a living tabernacle to take Jesus out into the world and take on the day.  You hear His word delivered through Sacred Scripture and you receive guidance from the priest in the words he offers during his homily.  I was able to start my day with Jesus in a special way, however, as I indicated before, the invitation I received might not be the same invitation you do.

Daily Mass may not be an option for you.  I know in small towns you may only have Mass during the week on one day, if at all.  It is certainly not the only date idea Jesus will come up with.  Perhaps Jesus will invite you to join Him for a Holy Hour at Eucharistic Adoration.  This is also a wonderful option for quiet time with Jesus.  Displayed in the monstrance you can spend time gazing upon Jesus in the form He instituted at the Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist.  While on the outside it may look like a simple piece of bread, that tiny host contains the very body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Savior, offered in sacrifice for you on Calvary.  When we seek out time in the presence of Jesus, He really can become our prince charming riding in on a white horse and sitting on His golden throne in the Monstrance.

It is unfathomable to think that Jesus would leave the perfection of Heaven for anything.  But He does, and it isn’t just for anything, it’s for you!  Not only does Jesus find you worth dying for, He finds you worth leaving paradise for.  God is love, and He wants us to allow that love into our hearts.  Sitting with Him at Eucharist Adoration can help open your heart to His love and goodness.

If you’ve never gone to adoration before, or if it’s been awhile, do not be discouraged if you hear Jesus calling you to join Him there.  Pre-date jitters happen to the best of us; I know they did for me.  The devil may attempt to fill your mind with anxiety, he is the king of noise and distraction and at Adoration he knows you will find silence and peace.  To overcome this fear, prepare for your date like you would if you were going on a “normal” one.  Going to adoration prepared can help make the time there more comfortable, which is exactly what God wants the experience to be for you.

Reading a book, perhaps about a saint or the Bible, can help to focus your mind on the reason you are there – to get closer to Jesus.  Reciting the rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet is also a good option to meditate on the amazing love that Jesus has for you.  Whatever method you use to rest in the presence of Jesus, God will talk to you if you let Him. He probably isn’t going to yell out your name like He did to Abraham or start anything on fire like He did to get Moses’s attention, but He can speak to you in your heart.  He has the power to consume you with His love.

It’s quite possible, though, that you don’t have the opportunity or ability to join Jesus at daily Mass or a Holy Hour of Adoration.  Don’t fret ladies, God knows your state in life and He has an abundance of resources to woo you with.  If your schedule doesn’t allow for anything extra right now then He might choose to consume you with His love simply through prayer.  Prayer is powerful.

For so many years my prayer was just repetition, there was no real love behind it, I was simply going through the motions.  I think so many of us fall victim to that form of prayer.  It doesn’t have to be that way, though.  When first dipping your toes into the water of a divine dating life, God knows you might not yet know how to swim in the sea of His love.  What God is asking for from you is time.  Time devoted to Him like you would devote to an earthly man you were interested in.  Wake up a few minutes early and read the daily Mass readings, ask Him to speak to you through those Scripture passages.  Start noticing the beauty around you.  The sunrise, the birds singing and even the rain.  The beauty of creation is His gift to you, a reflection of His beauty, but nowhere near the beauty He sees reflected in you.

Think about how great it feels when someone takes a moment to remember you; whether it is a card or a text, it feels wonderful to know that someone is thinking about you.  That’s what God wants from us, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just authentic.  Prayer gives you a direct line to God, to let Him know you are thinking about Him among the busyness and chaos of your day.

Sometimes, though, when we aren’t sure where to start and we need advice, we just need to call our mom.

The rosary is probably the most common prayer devotion of our faith, and for good reason, Mama Mary wants nothing more than to lead us right to her Son.  Reflecting on the five mysteries of the rosary, while asking for Mary’s intercession, is literally asking the mother of our Beloved to hold our hand and introduce us to her Son.  Her maternal nature and pure humility will do just that.  If we need her to help us, she absolutely will.

She is human perfection in our broken state, and she wasn’t given this gift as a status symbol.  Her unblemished soul was given to her to be put to work – to minister to her children living in a fallen world. She loves Jesus more than we could ever understand, she wants us to feel that same love and she will do what she has to do to help us along the way.  Mama Mary wants nothing but the best for us, and there is nothing better than the Trinity – Her Father, Her Son and Her Spouse.

Don’t worry if you find it strange at first, learning something new usually comes with a sense of uncertainty.  I didn’t learn how to properly say the rosary on my own until I was a junior in college, and it took me even longer to memorize all the mysteries of the rosary.  However, if you are feeling like you need a little more beauty in your prayer life, a daily rosary is a wonderful place to start.  Think of it as a bouquet of flowers Jesus brings you on your first date.  Put those flowers in water and allow the simplistic beauty and heavenly aroma to surround you long after night one.  You’ll be amazed at how long those flowers can bloom if you nurture them.

Another way to focus on the Holy Trinity is through a devotion that is also said on rosary beads, the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Delivered to St. Faustina directly from Jesus, the chaplet is focused on Jesus’s passion and is very quick to say, yet very powerful.  Traditionally it is said at 3 pm, the hour of Jesus’s death, but can be said at any time of day that the Spirit moves you.  It only takes about 5 minutes to recite and is a good option when you might not have time to say a whole rosary, but feel like you need something a little bit more than an Our Father.

What’s the common theme to all the various date options you might find Jesus inviting you to?  It’s simple, and it is actually the key to dating Jesus – it’s time.  God wants us to spend time with Him.  Our time is the greatest gift that we are given, because our time on earth is limited, and once given, we can never get it back.  It is, at its essence, a priceless gift.

You don’t have to be wealthy, or well known, or anything else to be a great disciple.  You just have to be you.  Loving God can become as simple as breathing, it’s something that you can allow to just happen in your life once you put the time in.  The more time you offer to Him, the more and more you will be amazed at how He can work in your life.

Whether through Mass, prayer, reading Sacred Scripture or doing what Mary did when she heard her cousin was pregnant, going in haste to help a friend, God simply wants us to give Him our time.  Our whole life can be one long epic prayer if we live it joyfully and offer it up to God.  Whether quietly spent at Adoration, or a boisterous song and dance to entertain your nieces while babysitting (aunties do just about anything to get a laugh), love God, and allow Him to love you right back.

Allow Him to love you; get lost in His eyes displayed in the moon and stars, sit on a shoreline and listen to Him breath in and out, gaze upon a child and be consumed by His smile, dance in the breeze and be overwhelmed by His gentleness.  Whatever you do, just be and allow Him to take your breath away.  When your life becomes a spiritual love story, everything else will just fall into place.

2. Mother Teresa, and Angelo Devananda. Thirsting for God: daily meditations. Servant Books, 2013, pg 152.

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