Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: The Three Cs

I've been lucky over the years to benefit from amazing advice given by people who know a whole lot more than I do. In honor of all the advice I've received I'm starting a new little tradition on my blog: Wisdom Wednesdays. Every week I'll share a piece of thought-provoking advice for you to think about, talk about and enjoy.

Once upon a time my twin sister and I did this wonderful summer program in Annapolis, MD. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. ISI was the channel through which I got my job, my roommate, my best friend, and my boyfriend, not to mention a small library of free books. I can't say enough good things about it.

That week in Annapolis was perfect in just about every way. We hung out with awesome people, had interesting discussions and attended fascinating lectures. We sipped wine at dinner (and before dinner... and after dinner). We laughed a lot and learned even more. Many of the things I learned at the Honors program have stayed with me ever since.

Serena and I were randomly assigned to be roommate. What luck! Now we're the best of friends.

One night a few of us were sitting around after dinner, shooting the breeze. Tom began to tell us the story of how he met his girlfriend. It was such a funny story, and so awesome, that I've told it to dozens of people since. This is my first time writing it down. I hope you like it!

Tom was one of seven children in a big, traditional Catholic family from the East Coast. Growing up, he was always advised to look for a girl who fit the criteria of "the three Cs": Cute, Conservative, and Catholic.

(My friends and I cracked up laughing at this point. Really? The three Cs? We thought that was the funniest thing and I couldn't believe his family had come up with that. But as it turns out, it's not just his family. A year later, I started telling this story to a Catholic guy in Chicago who had never heard of Tom or his family. When I got to the part about the three Cs, he interrupted me. "Yeah, of course," he said. "Cute, conservative, Catholic. Everyone knows that." I was flabbergasted. Who knew that was a thing??)

But when Tom got to college, he found himself in trouble. He realized that he was falling in love with a girl he was close friends with. A girl who just happened to be a cute, liberal Protestant.

He didn't know what to do. On the one hand, he really liked this girl. But on the other, could he really disregard everything he knew about what to look for in a woman? He decided to seek advice from a wise old priest who was a close friend of his family's.

(As a side note, priests give the best dating advice. I can't tell you how many times a priest has told me just the right thing that I needed to hear when I was having romantic difficulties. I highly recommend seeking their counsel!)

So he went to the priest and sat down to relate the whole story. "Look, Father, I really like this girl," he said, "but she's a liberal Protestant... and you know, the three Cs..."

The priest sat in thought for a little while. Finally he spoke.

"Always remember, son, that the Holy Spirit changes hearts, not faces," he said. "So in my opinion, go for it." Tom asked her out and they've been happily dating for several years now.

Me, Serena, Catherine and Lillian at the Honors Conference

Isn't that just about the greatest advice? I even put it as my senior quote in the PLS yearbook. "Always remember that the Holy Spirit changes hearts, not faces." Amen.

Yes, it's true that you can facetiously use this quote to justify going for the hot ones. But when you think about it more maturely, this quote is a reminder that you never know what changes God can work in human hearts. And considering that my own boyfriend is a convert, and that the Holy Spirit worked in his heart in ways I never could have imagined, I feel like that senior quote was very fitting.


  1. Wonderful advice! I had never of the three C's before either!

  2. hahahaha Love this quote!

  3. I'm definitely of the opinion that the Holy Spirit can do anything. MY sister married a non Catholic, but now he's looking at joining the Catholic church. One of my brothers started dating a girl who was baptised a Catholic but had never had anything else to do with the church. She is now going to mass ever Sunday and thinking about making her First Holy Communion.

  4. Don't the three Cs just crack you up? Guys are so funny!

    Imogen, those are really beautiful stories. It's amazing to see what the Holy Spirit can do. Just last night, Frank and I were talking to two of his friends who are Anglican. Frank said jokingly, "I'm going to pull you two into the Tiber yet!" and I had to quickly remind him, "Darling, it's not you who converts them but God's grace." His friends thought that was an awesome thing to say, but it's the truth!

  5. If you would like an alternative to casually picking up girls and trying to find out the right thing to say...

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