Wrapping it up

Well, my dear sisters in Christ, this is the last blog post I will be making before the end of the semester. It has been such an incredible journey to share my thoughts and reflections with you about the beautiful virtue of chastity. As the semesters (and years go on), I will periodically be updating this blog as I feel the need to share more. If you want to read more from me, check out my other blog at ineverythought.wordpress.com. I try to update that blog as often as I can.

I just really wanted to wrap up this blog (at least for the semester before my professor evaluates it as part of my final grade) by encouraging you to go out on your own and learn more about the virtues of chastity, purity, celibacy, and anything else related. Most of what I shared with you came from my personal experiences or those that others shared with me. So please, seek out more information. I would recommend Jason Evert’s website chastityproject.com  as another excellent resource.

If you are currently struggling with the virtue of chastity, please do not be afraid to seek help. Sometimes that help may come in the form of counseling. Maybe only spiritual direction will suffice. Just do not be afraid to share whatever is on your heart. You are still worthy of so much love even though you may not have lived the perfect, pure life. God desires to love you, but you cannot receive that love if you are afraid of it. Always remember that…

You are loved.

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Those dang emotions

To all my ladies out there, you know how your emotions just go crazy sometimes? All of you better be nodding your heads right now. Well, what I am about to say might be a new concept to you.

Not only are we called to practice chastity with our bodies, but there is something else we should be aware of, and that is “emotional chastity.” Now, I will be the first one to admit, I am not the master of my emotions, so I definitely need some more practice with emotional chastity.

Just like the chastity we practice with our bodies, we should be practicing chastity with our emotions, regulating them in certain times. There are appropriate times for smiles and appropriate times for tears. Why? Because some men, believe it or not, can become overly attached emotionally. So, if you are pouring out your life to your significant other, you may find it harder to leave them if the relationship doesn’t work out since you’ve shared so much of your emotional life with them. It is much the same if you happened to have sex – you would find it harder to leave since you physically gave them a piece of your body. Also emotional chastity can also be practiced with your friends. Just a thought.

Those are the basics. Like I said, I am not an expert on emotional chastity, and I still need a lot more practice. In some ways, I am almost too emotionally chaste, not sharing my emotions when I should with people who are important in my life. Interested in learning more about emotional chastity? Check out this article I found: http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/emotional-chastity-is-that-even-a-real-thing.html. And always remember…

You are loved.

What’s the big deal?

Pornography is a big NO! It can become addictive and eventually ruin marriage in the long run

Pornography is a big NO! It can become addictive and eventually ruin marriage in the long run

What’s the big deal about pornography? Everyone’s doing it…

WRONG! Pornography is a big deal! I just heard a talk from world-renowned speaker Matt Fradd on myths of pornography. I would like to share a few of these thoughts.

MYTH: Pornography is only a struggle for men.
TRUTH: Women struggle with it too…often times, they are less likely to admit a struggle with pornography. If there is a woman struggling with an addiction to pornography in their lives, please do not judge them. Rather, offer to be an accountability partner to help them overcome the addiction.

MYTH: Pornography is only adult entertainment.
TRUTH: If you are over the age of 11, you have most likely seen some form of porn, whether you know it or not.

MYTH: The only porn can be viewed on the Internet.
TRUTH: There are other types of porn, like literary porn. Literary porn can be reading about a sex scene, which can stimulate unnatural sexual desires.

MYTH: Pornography and masturbation are two separate issues.
TRUTH: These two issues often go hand-in-hand. Those who view porn tend to use it to gain the feeling of orgasm through masturbation.

MYTH: Doesn’t a wife just take the place of the women objectified in porn?
TRUTH: Those who bring porn into a marriage tend to have less-satisfying marriages, often ending in divorce. Why is that? Because those who view hard porn cannot be sexually aroused by real sex since their brains are so radically changed due to the chemical effects of pornography.

MYTH: I can’t tell anyone about my struggles because they will judge me.
TRUTH: It is better to have someone to hold you accountable if you are willing to try to break the addiction.

MYTH: I can’t break the chains.
TRUTH: The chains can be broken, but it does take time to heal. Generally, chemical balances in the brain take about 18 months to be restored to normal after becoming addicted to porn.

If you are interested in learning more about how to fight the chains of pornography, please check out Matt Fradd’s website www.theporneffect.com. If you are stuck in the bonds of slavery to pornography and are interested in breaking free, a good resource to use is called Covenant Eyes. Google it to learn more. To you men and women who are viewing porn, always remember. You are beautiful. And…

You are loved.

Marital chastity

Some of you might be reading the title and be thinking, “What the heck? I thought married people were allowed to have sex. Isn’t that the point of chastity, to refrain from sex?” Part of that statement is true, sexual intercourse is proper in the context of marriage. However, married people are also called to practice chastity within their vocation.

Marital chastity can be practiced in a few different ways. In a marriage, both the husband and the wife have to be open to the gift of sexual intercourse. That means, if one or the other is not “in the mood” to have sex, sex should be refrained from, no matter how strong one’s desires may be. It is not acceptable to force your desires upon your husband or wife so that they may be satisfied. That is one way to practice chastity.

With the goodness and beauty of sex also comes a few responsibilities, one of them being the possibility of conception. Having children is definitely a topic that needs to be discussed between a husband and wife before they start engaging in the marital embrace of sex. It is possible that one or the other might not be open to the idea of bringing new life into the world AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT (note: if one is not open to the idea of having children at all, you really should not consider the vocation of marriage since that is a huge part of the commitment). Therefore, chastity should be practiced during those times where raising a child might not be the best option (due to financial instability, marital issues, and others).

Chastity can also be practiced during the times when a woman is either most fertile or most infertile. When a woman is most fertile and easily able to conceive, a husband and wife may practice chastity during that time frame if they do not feel that the time has come to have children. When a woman is most infertile, practicing chastity during that time means that the couple might be open to having children and that they are saving sex for the period when the woman is fertile in order to conceive. For more information on fertility cycles and conception according to natural means, look into Natural Family Planning.

http://www.natural-family-planning.info/

Obviously, I am not married, so I have not practiced chastity within this particular vocation. I have only provided my insights and some that have been shared with me previously by married couples that I know. Always remember that…

You are loved.

Check this out!

In an off week where I won’t be posting, I would highly encourage all of you to check out this article!

http://lifeteen.com/he-doesnt-need-your-sext-response-jennifer-lawrence/

To give some background on the situation, about a month ago, a personal account was hacked and nude photos of certain celebrities were leaked. Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence have started speaking out against the hacking. Unfortunately, Jennifer got it wrong in her reaction. I particularly like this author’s response to her response and how he also talked about chastity.

I will be back next week with another blog post! Until then…

You are loved.

October 9, 11:44 am -> I just found another article that I also think is relevant. This author talks about chastity as a choice that she renews every day.

http://madeinhisimage.org/choose-wait/?utm_content=buffer4642b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

You are loved.

Chastity in the single life

This is my own personal purity ring, symbolizing the promise I made to our Lord to save the gift of my sexuality for marriage

This is my own personal purity ring, symbolizing the promise I made to our Lord to save the gift of my sexuality for marriage

Since, in the last post, I talked about chastity in the form of celibacy in the priesthood, I decided to explore chastity in light of the other vocations: the single life, marriage, and consecrated religious life for women. For this particular post, I decided to start with my current vocation: the single life.

Chastity in the single life, like in any other vocation, is extremely important. However, in my opinion, since the single life is almost like an in-between stage before marriage, religious life or the priesthood, it is ever more so important to practice the virtue of chastity. Whatever happens during your time as a single man or woman will most likely carry over to your permanent vocation – sinful or otherwise.

So what does chastity in the single life entail? First and foremost, let’s address some behaviors that should be practiced while in the midst of a relationship. I include those who are dating as part of the single vocation because the couple has not yet taken a permanent vocation in marriage. While in a relationship, one should be true to the significant other. Don’t cheat on each other. Yes, I know it sounds so simple, but cheating is something that this culture really struggles with. I would also be cautious of certain physical behaviors. But how far is too far? One of my good priest friends would say that even excessive kissing is considered overtly sexual behavior since it could lead to other forms of sin. Anything sexual behavior beyond kissing is certainly not pure and chaste.

What about for those who are not in a relationship? To remain chaste in our single life, we should be careful in our thoughts, words and actions. We should avoid unchaste thoughts that can be brought on by the media we consume. So, media that promote sex outside of marriage, pornography, etc. can lead us into sin because our thoughts could draw us deeper into sin. We need to be careful that the words coming out of our mouth reflect the chastity we are trying to practice. So we should not be encouraging premarital sex, cohabiting, etc. with the words coming out of our mouth, which could lead others, as well as ourselves, to sin. Our actions also need to reflect this chastity. For example, we need to be able to dress modestly so as to not reveal too much of our bodies. To learn more about modesty, I would suggest checking out one of my classmate’s blogs called “Dressing for Love” here: http://dressingforlove.wordpress.com/

This is just a small sampling of some of the ways I have practiced chastity in my own life. I hope that my words can help you to practice chastity in your life in a new way. And always remember that

You are loved.

What’s the difference?

Laying the foundation for a news story I will be writing in the near future, I want to take a moment to talk about the difference between celibacy and chastity. Is there a difference? To an average person, there might not be.

In my last post, I explained what chastity is. Now, let’s take a look at celibacy so we can explain the differences.

According to newadvent.org, celibacy is defined as “the renunciation of marriage implicitly or explicitly made, for the more perfect observation of chastity, by all those who receive the Sacrament of Orders in any of the higher grades.” Celibacy is the more perfect observation of chastity. How beautifully put!

Celibacy is the “renunciation of marriage” and, therefore, the marital act for the entirety of one’s remaining life, whereas chastity is a moderation of one’s sexual desires, saving them for the context of marriage. That is why celibacy is seen as the perfection of chastity, since chastity does not call for the renunciation of marriage. All of God’s people are called to practice chastity, even in the context of marriage where the sexual act is loving and acceptable, but only ordained priests and deacons are called to celibacy. If we were all called to celibacy, then why would there be the vocation of marriage? Only a select few are called to serve the kingdom of God in such a way through the priesthood and deaconate life, embracing this call to celibacy.

Some people may think of celibacy as only “repressing sexual desires,” which is so far from the truth. The men called to this life of celibacy take that love not given in the physical context of marriage and use it to love the Church and all its members, a heroic love considering the universality of the Church. From my experiences, the priests who play important roles in my life are some of the most loving men I have ever known, besides my earthly father and brother. Their love and care and concern for me goes without bounds. They love me so much that they will answer my phone calls at 1 am, no matter how much they want to continue sleeping.

This just lays down the basics, but I want to explore this deeper in a future assignment for a class, bringing purity in the conversation. Until then…

You are loved.

The Roman Collar, worn by Catholic priests and transitional deacons, is a visible sign of the oath of celibacy the men have take

The Roman Collar, worn by Catholic priests and transitional deacons, is a visible sign of the oath of celibacy the men have taken

Why “True Love Waits”

The whiteness of the daisy can symbolize purity

The whiteness of the daisy can symbolize purity

The theme of this blog is chastity, so why did I pick “True Love Waits” for the title?

Let’s talk about what chastity is first. The dictionary definition of chastity is “the state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse.” This definition is practical, especially for those who are not Catholics, yet I think it lacks something. When I read that definition, I find nothing to motivate me, excite me, about the idea of chastity. So I continued in my search for a good definition of chastity…

Paragraph 2337 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that chastity is “the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.” Wow. That says a lot. Catechism also says more about chastity in paragraphs that follow. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

What sticks out to me is the phrase “in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.” The mutual gift that they are talking about exists only in marriage, the complete gift of oneself that they give to each other when “the two become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). If the gift of oneself is given outside of the context of marriage, then it is not a COMPLETE gift given to your soulmate. It is only a partial gift to the one who you truly love, the one you are supposed to share EVERYTHING with.

So “true love waits.” A man and a woman who love one another so deeply and passionately save their physical love until the two become one in marriage. That way, the gift of themselves, of their body, is whole. It is faithful. It is freely given. Yes, the patience is hard, but the reward will be so much greater to the one who waits for it.

And, as a reminder, you are loved.