October 13, 2015

Ten Things About Living Chastely the Culture Won’t Tell You

Pop culture tells us love is mostly about feeling good, but true love is about wanting the absolute best for the person we love. Jesus wants the absolute best for us, and he asks us to follow his example of self-sacrificial love so we can live in union with him forever. Jesus showed us what real love looks like when he died for us on the Cross. He is the only one who can fill our hearts, and when we grow in love — becoming more like him — we become more fully the people we were created to be.

Part of this growth includes living out the virtue (a habit of doing good) of chastity. While practicing chastity does require saying "no" to some things, it is actually a much bigger and better "yes" to love and the life God has planned for us.

Respecting and living out our sexuality means that we're called to discover how to love all people and develop healthy relationships (not just romantic ones) in the unique way God created us, as male or female. And because we are both body and soul, chastity affects not only what we do or don't do, but also what we say, think, watch, listen to, read, and much more.

How do we do this?

1. COMMIT: Step one is to make the decision to do our best.

2. PRAY: Talk to God and the saints about your desires and struggles. The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, are great saints to talk to, as well as St. Michael the Archangel, who is very helpful in moments of temptation.

3. TALK: Have people in your life who will hold you accountable — trusted family, friends, people at church, etc.

4. LEARN: Search Catholic websites for more info, pick up the Catechism; read a book about chastity. Also, make it a point to develop self-awareness.

5. DRESS: Dressing modestly doesn't mean covering ourselves up out of shame or because we think our bodies are bad. It's because we have immeasurable, God-given dignity...

6. PREPARE: It's important to make sure we can articulate our reasons for choosing to live this way and to share these reasons with friends, family, and especially the people we date. We also need to have a plan for handling temptation...

7. PRACTICE: In addition to planning how we're going to handle temptation, we also need to build up some "muscle strength" so we're able to make the right decision if and when temptation comes.

8. PLAN: Don't put yourself in a situation with someone else where you might be tempted to go too far.

9. TURN OFF: Pay careful attention to the media you consume. Turn off songs with disrespectful lyrics; don't watch scenes in which movie or TV characters have sex outside of marriage; don't watch a woman in her underwear try to sell you a cheeseburger.

10. CONFESS: When we mess up, it's important to go to Confession — not just for forgiveness from past mistakes, but for the grace and the will to be stronger in the future.

Read the whole thing here.

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