The way the Catholic Church speaks of chastity and the promises it gives a person who is striving for it has been speaking so deeply in my heart that I felt compelled to write another reflection.
Chastity offers freedom from sinful or utilitarian motives, we [knowingly or unknowingly] use sexual intimacy for. Chastity allows our heart and soul to appreciate, more profoundly, the person we are in a committed relationship with.
If you can’t understand that, think about a time you felt used and unloved in a relationship, and you knew it.
That hurt is excruciating to a person’s soul and I don’t wish that on anyone so my hopes are that this article will help you understand why glorifying sexual intimacy in marriage allows a person to experience the most sincere and purest love.
Because many people in life can make us feel good, and it’s normal for us to desire that. People are always going to give us emotional bliss in life, it just happens. But the way your boss makes you feel special is different than the way your parents do. Likewise, your spouse’s love will be different than a friends love.
Simply put, any person, with their qualities and attributes, will spur a spark in you.
And one way we experience this spark is by way of sexual stimulation. Any sight of a quality you find attractive or a sudden seduction of the senses has the power to stimulate you spontaneously. Yet, those sexual experiences go away overtime. Likewise, many people possess the qualities you get stimulated by (and may even have it in a higher degree).
So in good conscience, after reading that, the point is: qualities and attributes are repeatable.
Those feelings are also repeatable.
A person will never be repeatable.
So if every relationship (even the choice to indulge in pornography) comes with the temptation to sexual seduction (which it will) then the person who can’t say no to those temptations, by their actions, reveals to the person they marry, “this act of love means nothing.”
Now, I’m sure that comes off harsh. And to those of you who have remorse for your sexual past, my intentions are not to condemn you because you can start over with chastity any day you choose. I surely had to make the decision one day, and this explanation leaves me determined to pursue it constantly.
In his book, The Love that Satisfies, Christopher West describes this point in another way saying, “If any real care I have for each person gives way in the end as him or her being an instrument for my sexual pleasure, than he or she can be easily replaced in such a function.”
That is precisely why infidelity—and ones in the mind (porn)—leave the other person devastated. Infidelity says to the victim, “I am repeatable. I am replaceable.”
Since chastity is a virtue that exercises our ability for love that focuses on the value of a person, it allows our bodies to experience a spark of sexual desire purely rooted in an appreciation and affection for who a person is. From that, you realize you end up [maybe even unconsciously] convincing yourself that saving this desire for when I’m ready and able to make a verbal exchange of my vows of love, in a commitment that promises this person my ‘forever’ (marriage) is such an ample act of love.
Chastity inspires you to say, “I long for your good.”
Whereas anything on the contrary says, “I long for you as a good.”
Italian ethicist Rocco Buttiglione says, “Only the value of the person can sustain a stable relationship. Values of sexuality are wasted away in time and are exposed to the danger of disillusion. But this is not the case for the value of a person…which is stable and in some way infinite. When your love develops and reaches the person, then it is forever.”
My heart is exploding out of my chest, is yours?
That is the love we all want.
AGAIN: SAYING YES TO CHASTITY MEANS THIS;
I KNOW AND LOVE THE VALUE, DIGNITY, AND BEAUTY I AND OTHERS HAVE, AND I KNOW SEXUAL INTIMACY IS THE GREATEST LOVING UNION ON EARTH, SO I REFUSE TO VIOLATE THAT WITH FALSE INTENTIONS.
How much more attractive is it to be able to have someone hold you in their arms, look you in the eye, and say “you’re worth waiting for.”
or, “I won’t let you use me.”
And I know how hard it is to wait until marriage, I’m still trying to perfect it (which I never will) but we also don’t want a spouse who couldn’t say no to their sexual desires.
Again, chastity takes continuous effort, but it is the surest way to real love. Keep the continuous practice and prayer, and remember you can start over with chastity at any moment in your life!
Inviting God in your heart to resurrect your impure desires progressively aligns you closer to understanding love and God’s plan for sex. It allows you to one day embrace sexuality in its full form, with your spouse–the love of your life–in a prefigured glorious, unifying, and blissful love without feeling shamed or used like an object of someones pleasure.
And, believe it or not, we’re promised that striving for that and experiencing it with someone brings you closer to God in the greatest of ways.
Can I get an ‘Amen?’