Chastity isn't Just About Abstinence
There are a plenty of perspectives to describe chastity, but here I’ll take you through my own journey of living out a life of chastity and what brought me to this amazing (yes amazing!) way of life.
For a long time in my youth I was looking for the perfect woman to live with, share my life, and build a beautiful family. My mistake! Why? Because I didn’t ask God what He wants for me first. That’s it. I thought I was able to do this hard task by myself. I thought that my own judgment was enough to find my princess. Yes, my princess! The woman I could love with all my heart, the one I could bring breakfast to on Sunday morning, the one I could take to a special dinner on regular workday, and all those romantic adventures. I dream of a girl who would appreciate this kind of treatment.
After my fourth girlfriend, I gave up on finding the one all by myself, and finally decided to ask for God’s help. A great friend recommended reading an interesting book called “Glorious Meeting” (Glorioso Encontro), written by a Brazilian couple, Denis & Suzel. This book actually inspired me to compose a list of characteristics that I envisioned in my future wife. And so I did it. I understood that God wants me to be happy and that He knows me way better than I know myself. Of course! He is my creator!
In this list, I asked for a woman full of the Holy Spirit, and who loves God more than anything. With these two basic qualities I could trust her to be my wife, and more, the mother of my children. I wrote the list so that it could turn into a real prayer, like a conversation with Jesus. The Holy Bible, Psalm 37 says: “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Remembering this, I delivered all my affections, soul, and love to Him. I trusted in Him to bring me the one.
Everyday I prayed for my list, followed by rosaries, specifically the St. Joseph rosaries (the patron of family), confessions, communions, and adoration. Constant prayer brought me to a great intimacy with Jesus and I felt that He’s changing me as well so that I could be the perfect man for my wife — a great father and a loving husband, just like St. Joseph is.
The desire to live in chastity grew stronger, because I couldn’t create any desire for another woman, and saved myself for my special one. I already have my wife, because God is so happy that I asked Him for his help that He started to prepare us to receive each other in a great communion with Him. Even though I do not know her in person yet, she is written in my list, and safely placed in my wallet, and I love her so much that I could not betray her.
It is not that easy! The world shows us everything that goes against chastity. If you are surfing the Internet, there is pornography. If you are walking on streets, there are girls dressed in provocative clothes. If you talk about it with your friends, they might run away from you for thinking that you have gone crazy. Also, your family might think that you have become a religious fanatic. But who cares? It is not about them! It is about your relationship with God.
I remember a phrase from a great father I met at the Madonna House in Combermere; he said: “God loves the union between a woman and man, but a Holy union. Nowadays we live in a world that says ‘Sex is fun! … when God says ‘Sex is Holy!’” This phrase by father Michael made me think about everything concerning chastity. I took so long to understand, but the Holy Spirit gave me the grace to start it.
Now I can say with open heart, without fear that I’m chaste. But chastity is not just being abstinent. Chastity is one great way of demonstrating your love for others. It is truly a respect. When you desire someone, it is actually your body talking. But, when you let your spirit speak louder, then you will give thanks to God for preserving you from committing sins. You would become more and more pure of heart, and consequently you would be happier.
And there’s nothing more that our Lord wants from us than our happiness.
Be brave! Be pure! Be chaste!