LIVING LIFE IN chastity
Practicing the virtue of chastity is a true challenge for me, as I am constantly tempted by the things I watch, the things I hear about at work, and the things I see on social media. Nevertheless, proclaiming the Word of God in times of temptation really helps me to remind myself that I am the temple of the Holy spirit, and to view my sexuality not as a burden, but as a true gift from God. I also try to respect the differences in the needs, and weaknesses in the opposite sex. This means making a conscious effort to dress more modestly, being prudent in behaviour when interacting with the members of the opposite gender, avoiding entering into and/or entertaining inappropriate conversations and placing emotional and physical boundaries. Since this virtue takes a lot of effort and perseverance, I find the sacrament of reconciliation very useful. It is very important to me that when I do fall into temptation, that I run to the confessional without looking back and start fresh again.
As young kids grow up, many societies drill into juvenile minds the notion that sex is sinful, and is intended for marriage alone. Not surprisingly, the “sinful” part stuck with me, and it spilled over into my marriage. For this reason, my intimate moments after marriage made me feel shameful and dirty. Like every other woman, the desire for motherhood crept in and we began praying for a child. Every time we came together in love, we made a small prayer asking God for His gift and most importantly, for His will to be done. This innocent prayer we started, without really thinking too much, began to change my life in little but significant ways. I felt more love towards my spouse and marriage. A lot of my insecurities and mind-games began to fade away. And most importantly, physical intimacy became sacred and not shameful. Five years since we started praying, I still invite God into our sacred space every time we come together. This prayer of surrender has not only helped me in my journey of intimacy, but in every aspect of my life as a woman.
There is a tendency for people to go ahead and choose a small reward received in short-term, rather than wait for a larger reward later. In economics, this is called hyperbolic discounting. Now we step out of the classroom into the real world. Being chaste, be it within marriage or in a single state requires true grit. The ‘wide gate’ of today’s culture is always beckoning to consume instantly and be gratified – grave detriments to our salvation. Sex, love, happiness, pleasure, companionship, marriage, freedom – all are tossed around, with everyone making their own terms. We lose sight of the actual order and fail to reason on the self-giving nature of our body. You and I – we are made in the image and likeness of God, in inviolable dignity. St John Vianney said that our soul hungers for God, and nothing but God can satiate it. Knowing well the pulls of the world, let’s take up the challenge to wait, to ‘hold fast to the light of hope’. The question is simple: Am I ready to meet my Creator in Eternity or would I rather crumble and choose the gratification I find online, in person or in-kind today?