St Francis Q&A

Saturday, June 09, 2007

True love through chastity

We had two interesting but contrasting comments recently about chastity. The first one presents the sad effects of a culture which actively promotes false love through unchastity, especially to our young people. The other one shows the Christian approach to true love through chastity:

1) Mindy: “Several years ago, I believe it was the National Institute of Child Health & Development who conducted a study about the sexual behavior of 12th grades in different places in America. The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not kids were more sexually active in urban or suburban areas, and their findings were really disturbing. (This was about 2 years ago, so my numbers may not be exact, but I'm confident they are close- it made a big impression!):

45% of suburban kids and 40% of urban kids have sex, defined as actual intercourse, outside of any romantic relationship. The study didn't even consider any stats on the teenage practices of "hooking-up", and I can only imagine what those numbers would be. If our youth, almost HALF, are acting with such disconnect between body and heart, we are miserably failing our kids. One generation may have started the sexual revolution, but look who is paying the price for it. I welcome more talks on chastity…”


Jesus taught us by His death and resurrection: True love always comes by way of the cross.

Being chaste until and within marriage, committing day in and day out to the self-giving and self-denial that life-long marriage and childrearing require of us, being open to God's gift of new life in a generous and responsible way, and in this day and age, even carrying to term an unexpected child - these are difficult tasks, and our fallen nature rebels against them. The world recognizes this natural rebellion, our desire to express human love in sexual intimacy, to seek pleasure and run from pain, to fulfill our own needs and desires while giving ill-attention to the needs and desires of others - in a word, to live our lives for ourselves. Mistaking these desires for human nature - rather than fallen human nature - the world's response is to laugh at Church teaching, to make a mockery of the Church and her seemingly archaic rules on sex and marriage, because they are so difficult, because they require so much of us.

Yet those who seek to follow the way of Our Lord understand that much is required of us. This is precisely the point. God calls us out of our fallenness, out of our self-centeredness and pleasure-seeking, to follow the way of perfection, to live in a way that is, by natural means, difficult - at times, even impossible. Many complain that Church teachings on sex and marriage are unrealistic, that the Church is out of touch. If we were meant to live by human means alone, to follow these teachings on our own strength, I would say the world's complaints were absolutely right. Indeed, by my own strength, I failed at almost every one of them.

But God demands perfection of us - perfect chastity, perfect purity, and perfect love - not only because it is the way of life that will fulfill our deepest desires, but just as importantly, because when we fail at living this perfection (and we will fail) our heavenly and merciful Father wants us to fall to our knees, to realize our own human bankruptcy, and rely on Him and His grace to live and to love.



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