It has become popular among Chastity speakers to tell people to “Save themselves for their future spouse.” Obviously, this never worked for, nor inspired me. It is clear among a few guys that I know that this is not something that motivate them. On the other hand, I have known plenty of young women who find this the perfect way to keep themselves focused. I think that it should be broadened here to “You Have a Future.”
What do I mean by a Future?
If you have had the feeling of heartbreak, or at least experienced it in a friend, you get these very far reaching comments of despair like “There’s no such thing as love!” “I will NEVER find the one!” “I suck at this dating thing, I suck at finding the right girl/guy!” “Nobody will ever love me!” And then six months later you think about how silly those things you said were, not simply because you “found someone else,” but because you found yourself doing okay without them. You did not indeed “NEVER manage to survive without them.” You did in fact survive without them.
Those despairing comments are typically the same thing as saying “I HAVE NO FUTURE!” The emotions are so intense, that you cannot see things for the long run clearly. If anything, the important mantra is “I Have a Future.” I mean, when you effectively say “We have no future together,” or “The future we will have will not be the same,” You cannot deceive yourself to saying that means you in particular. “You Have a Future.”
Scriptures say that all Creation is through and in Christ, and ultimately leading to Christ who is the Alpha & Omega. So whether or not your married, Christ is all inclusive, because he is working towards ensuring that we will all be in communion with him. It is our hope. So regardless, we will never have a future alone, because our Future is for Christ, in Christ, and with Christ.
By the way, what happened to the anecdote?
Don’t pretend there are no consequences
Chastity speakers also talk a lot about morals. If I can leave it at this, there are consequences. I’m not just talking about you can get an STD, you can pregnant, etc. I mean, you can get your heart broken needlessly, and when you do, you can drag the morale of everyone else around you. You can also fail to learn to respect members of the opposite sex when you don’t act or live chastely.
In fact, if you find yourself attracted to someone, you can pretend like there are no consequences. That is normal. However, sometimes girls pretend like some super stud is not really a jerk, or guys pretend like super pretty girl is not going to be a brat. When you regularly reflect on your attractions, you can also see the consequences. Namely, that the attractive person is really a selfish immature person who is only going to leave you feeling cheated. You deserve better. You have a bright future.
In effect, when you ignore potentially dangerous consequences that could leave you emotionally harmed in any way, you are effectively saying that you have no future.
In my previous post, I also talked about our Identity. Knowing that God has a plan for us is important. For a lot of people that plan will include a family. That is what it is to be church, but it is not the only way.
You might find your heart so overwhelmed with God for a short time, that you need to intensify your discipleship and actually decide to deliberately not date anybody permanently or temporarily. I would highly recommend doing it temporarily, you would be surprised at the way God will reveal himself to you.
Maybe you are already in a relationship with a good Catholic or whatever. It may be that you are committed to Chastity. This is not an encouragement to dump them, but it does not absolve you from the responsibility of learning who you are, and what God’s plan for you is.
Although sometimes people want a romantic relationship merely as a way of running away from their families or difficult situations in life, you will actually be diving into a whole new world of a multitude of complications, and you will likely carry all of your family dysfunction right into your new family. The same could be said for people who want to run away from things and join a religious order, although in all honesty I have never met anybody personally who feels this way.
Know who you are, and know that you have a future.
Commit to Chastity
Underrated among my generation is the value of commitment. We rave about how open-minded we are, and how open we are too possibilities, but we are hindered from actually living if we cannot actually commit to something despite closing off potentialities. If we fail to not only acknowledge our limitation as a finite being, we cannot actually flourish in something specific and special.
At the root of this “openness” is not always a brave embrace of all that life will hold, but a fear that we will miss out, and fail to live up satisfactorily to a commitment. Commitment is a brave endeavor, and I do not think that those who commit wholeheartedly get enough credit in this day and age.
You can go to the local social watering hole, and everyone is eager to meet new people. Someone wants to meet you, and will eventually get bored, because they are “open” to potentialities, and they will find the next “new exciting person to meet.” How about being brave enough to all the possibilities of a future together?
I think it goes without saying that if we know who we are, in God’s image, that a commitment to chastity is the necessary consequence. Anything else would be lying to ourselves. Floating around, hovering on the surface of life, seeking out the next pleasure after the next pleasure, is not living. We find that as it is essential to our own liberation from our petty cravings and selfish enslavements to love others, we must necessarily close off certain possibilities. We have to stop listening to certain types of music, or watch certain television shows. However, in being faithful to who God made us, and the future we have, we find that it is somehow worth it. Finally, it is also important to envision our commitment to Chastity not as commitment to an idea, but namely to a person, who is Jesus the Christ. Chastity is relational towards others, but it only makes sense if the principle relation is Christ.
Was there supposed to be an anecdote? Oh yeah, I might as well.
I remember I met this girl who we will call “Alice”
A little more than a year before deciding to enter religious life, I met this girl at a chastity retreat, who we will call “Alice.” Alice was always like “Woohoo! Chastity!” That was refreshing. I thought at that time if I was to date a girl, she would need to have a whole lot of enthusiasm for something I was not really strong at. We went out and all, and it never worked out.
At some point, I think I was able to walk away aware of things I had to work on in myself. I think somehow, despite the fact that we just were not compatible, there were two things I needed in my life. I needed more enthusiasm for chastity, but I also needed to be more affirming to myself and others.
Shortly afterward, I committed myself to more prayer, not believing that some other person like Alice, can magically make me chaste from the outside. Chastity came to myself after a real struggle even with a commitment that I, at first, was failing to measure up to. I don’t know, but somehow I was affirming of myself enough to allow myself to have a future in the first place.
Some people may find the reverse, given a chance in a relationship may be the area they learn this. Some people may not. Some people may find that even in a good relationship, it is not enough, who knows. After several months of giving myself over to a commitment, and finding immense joy, satisfaction, self awareness in it and service to my brothers, there was just nothing else I could do for myself. I just know at the end, I decided that I was going to be a monk.
Oh yeah, did I fail to mention Alice always told me I would make an awesome priest?