Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thoughts on Chastity

A few nights ago, I shared with my husband a desire to reach out to younger women regarding relationships with the opposite sex. I have ideas, as usual, and am trying to find God's direction in all of it. I know there was a reason He has led me back to the Catholic faith. And it just may be to encourage and support young women in their search for love and the connection in loving and respecting themselves.

Years ago, I was a relationship/dating coach for single women over forty. Once you turn 35, it becomes more difficult to meet singles of the opposite sex. My own experience of navigating those waters helped as I encouraged women to first love themselves and understand what they wanted. Then they could make the necessary changes in their life to provide more opportunities for love to happen.

I believe firmly that God is the sine quo non of love. Without Him, love is fleshly and soon turns sour; which to me is not love at all. When I gave my workshops, I was quick to tell my audience that I was a Christian and that my husband was a gift from God, one who came after years of prayer. Not only did I pray about my darling man - I prayed for him. And when I say I prayed for him, I mean both praying that God would bring me to a man who would love me as He wanted me to be loved and praying specific prayer needs for my future husband. (Which was a wild experience. When you pray for someone's needs whom you've never met, it does tend to make them more real...)

Many single women have not yet drunk the Water of Life. If the single woman seeks fulfillment outside of herself before approaching God - she will quickly be disappointed. Believe me, I know. A consecrated life far outweighs the deceptive thrills of an unconsecrated one. I am forever grateful to my Lord that He got me at such a young age. However, the current younger generation have much more to overcome.

Although the issue of sex was evident in some movies and magazines, it did not permeate our society as thoroughly as it does now. Our poor young men and women are just inundated with sex from every angle - and now we have the internet to help it reach even more.

For a woman to remain chaste until either she marries or dies is of vital importance for our world. That may sound grandiose, but I think not. Over the years, I've observed what happens when a woman loses respect for herself. It all begins with the understanding that as women, we were created with reverence and created to be cherished. Women desire security and it often is played out in the bedroom, which is unfortunate. It should first be played out on our knees as we seek our Heavenly Father who loves us so much and requires our obedience.

I am finding something I never thought I'd feel for Catholicism - pride. Yes, pride. Pride is a good thing when it is ascribed to a worthy person, group or ideal. Throughout my years serving within non-Catholic churches, there were very few times when sex was discussed in a real way. Over the past few years, though, we've seen the popularity of movements such as "True Love Waits" or the Catholic "purity" programs. This is good.

But within the Catholic church, none of that type of teaching is new. I can remember as a little girl being taught about abstinence and chastity. We also had the towering figure of the Virgin Mary to make sure we really got it. The ideal of chastity and purity was part and parcel of being Catholic. And I'm not oblivious to the attempts by secular society to thwart such things because there is an undeniable attraction that men have toward women who won't let them act upon their impulses.

St. Augustine of Hippo said something that I'd like to have printed on a t-shirt. (Honestly, wouldn't that be a hoot for a middle-aged woman to wear?!!)

Women preserve chastity, which men will not preserve...

This is why it is so important for women to hold this standard. It was given to us. It is ours to preserve.

Because when it comes down to it, no one else is responsible for our own choices and our bodies - except us.

1 comment:

Angela M. said...

You will love "Thrill of the Chaste" by Dawn Eden. I bought it for someone but read it first and experienced real healing!