I want to commit to Chastity… now what?
I want to commit to chastity…now what?
Congratulations! You have passed GO, and you CAN, in fact, collect $200. Life from this point forward will be 100% smooth sailing. You will have Chik-fil-a delivered to your house breakfast, lunch, and dinner. EVEN on Sundays. Just kidding, but wouldn’t that be the dream? As one of my dear friends (Saint Pope John Paul II) once said,
“Chastity is a difficult, long-term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.”
JPII always coming in the clutch for the win! Choosing to say “yes” to chastity is indeed half the battle. However, how can we patiently choose to live out this radical virtue if we don’t know how?
When it came to faithfully living out chastity in college, for me the struggle was REAL. I remember making that “yes” and then swiftly getting a good ol’ kick in the rear by the over-sexualized society we live in. It took no time to realize that our culture looks at chastity as an inconvenience when in actuality it is an immense gift of self. Chastity as a lifestyle that can seem overwhelming, lonely, and even intimidating. However, we must acknowledge our utter need for the grace and special aid from God to win the virtue of chastity. That does not mean that we just sit by and let Him win the victory for us. We must choose to strive for the virtue in the same way an athlete readies himself for a contest.
If we’re going to achieve chastity, we have to exercise and build patterns in our lives that replace the patterns of the past. We must forego certain things we find desirable and fix our eyes on a goal for the higher good. We need spiritual disciplines, such as frequent attendance at Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, reading of Scripture, prayer, annnnnnd coffee. (Alright, if you say so God).
Aside from our spiritual disciplines, I want to provide a few practicals that can aid in your pursuit for this life-giving virtue.
- Be gentle with yourself.
As humans, falling is part of our nature. When we make a mistake it can be easy to go on a downward spiral of beating ourselves up. Take a deep breath. It is OKAY. Chastity is a lifestyle, not a just a temporary fix. Yes, there will be times where “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” however God wants to offer us His infinite mercy. Just like an infant learning to walk, they stumble and fall. Yet they ALWAYS keep fighting to get back up. For us, it should be no different. We have the amazing sacrament of Confession where God is present and waiting with open arms to make us new every single time. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from St. Faustina where she says “Your sin is a pebble in the ocean of his mercy.” There is no sin too great for the mercy of Christ.
- Find community.
We can’t do this alone! We must surround ourselves with those who not only keep us accountable but who are also willing to walk beside us on our ascent. As humans, we were made for community, we were made to be together, and we were made for greatness…TOGETHER!
- Read. Read. Read.
You can never educate yourself enough! This was SUCH a game changer for me. By taking the time to educate myself, I not only strengthened my understanding theologically but also practically. Authors such as; Jason and Crystalina Evert, Sarah Swafford, Lisa Cotter, and Christopher West do an excellent job explaining how to practically live out a life of chastity in relationships and friendships.
- Know you are NOT alone.
Know there are people all around the world who believe in you, and who believe in the goodness of the human person. There are young people all around the world striving to be revolutionaries in our culture. Social media can be a platform used to connect us all across the globe and even in our local communities. Find local events in your area (Theology on Tap), join a bible study, or even start your own. Be a revolutionary. Be radical. Swim against the tide. And know that you are capable of true love.