Friday, March 28, 2008

Question box Friday -- How do I live chastity?

Our students tend to agree that there are many reasons to save sexual activity for marriage, but when it comes to practically living out the virtue of chastity in day to day life, many are at a loss for what to do. Below are several ideas, some for relationships and some for individuals. Please comment with your own ideas.

1) Write down the reasons why you are committed to chastity. Read them occasionally and add to the list. Reminding yourself of your goals and why they are worth achieving can help you to stay strong when you are being tempted.

2) Have an accountability partner -- a friend to whom you can confide your individual or relational struggles and successes with chastity and who can challenge and encourage you to stay committed.

3) Choose good friends who share your morals and values. Our friends have an influence on us, and it's important to have friends who positively impact our lives and who set a good example.

4) Dress modestly. This one is for guys and girls. The way we dress sends a message about whether or not we respect ourselves and others. If we look like we want to be respected (which is totally possible to do, while still dressing attractively), then others will be more likely to grant us the respect we deserve.

5) Go to confession regularly. The sacrament of Reconciliation isn't only an opportunity for forgiveness; it also gives us the grace and strength we need to live God's plan in the future.

6) Make wise dating choices. Choose dates who you know won't compromise your beliefs and with whom you share values. Discuss early on or even before a relationship commences, your commitment to chastity. Group dates and public places can lessen temptation.

7) Pray to God for the grace of self-control.

8) Stay away from pornography and masturbation, which train people to think that sex is a selfish act and only about pleasure. Caving in doesn't lessen sexual temptation, it increases it.

9) Put a crucifix in your room. Whenever you are tempted, remember that Christ gave His life for love for you. He is your model for how to love -- sacrificing in order to seek what's best for another person.

10) Set strict boundaries. It's more difficult to say no to sex after participating in activities that prepare someone's body for sex. Set boundaries that prevent you from getting to that point.

11) Write letters to your future husband or wife, explaining why you are waiting for him/her, and to remind yourself that your sacrifices are for a real person who you can learn how to love before you even meet.

12) Read and other blogs, books, websites, and articles that remind you of the benefits of chastity.

13) Say no to alcohol and drugs.

14) Remember the HALTS concept: Never make a big decision (example, Should I have sex?) when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired or Sad.

15) Spend time learning the true meaning of love, chastity, marriage and sex, which is often completely different from what the media portray. Theology of the Body is one way to discover the depth of these topics.

16) If your boyfriend or girlfriend is pressuring you for sex, break up! If they can't respect you and your values, then they aren't looking out for what's best for you, and consequently they don't truly love you. You deserve better than to be used by another person.

17) Share your convictions with others. Explaining your commitment to chastity can help to solidify your beliefs.

18) Don't be caught in compromising situations. Make a decision now not to lay down with someone of the opposite sex, be alone at home with them or stay up too late with them.

19) Never forget that you are worth the benefits and freedom of chastity, and that you are capable of living a lifestyle of chastity.

20) You tell me what number 20 should be ...

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