A: Think of it this way: a priest is called to be faithful to his spouse - the Church - the same way that a husband is called to be faithful to his wife and family. A priest takes care of his "family" the same way that a husband takes care of his, except the priest has a spiritual, and not physical, family.
We are children of God made in his image and likeness - we're all called to glorify God with our bodies, which is practicing chastity, but everyone has a specific vocation in which they do this. Priests glorify God by giving their entire selves - body and soul - to the Church.
This past weekend Andrea and I traveled to Indianapolis to attend a conference on John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The conference was presented by Christopher West, a well-known TOB speaker...we had a great time and learned so much about this teaching on human sexuality. The message of TOB is so needed in our culture today, and we found a couple of great resources to help spread this message.
We came home with a couple of these CDs:
These are CDs of Christopher West speaking to college-age students about some of the struggles of living a pure life.
One of the reasons that I personally love Theology of the Body is that it explains the importance and beauty of our human bodies, and how our bodies express our mission as human beings - to love as God loves, in the image of the Trinity. And this is not just for people who are married! It opened up new doors for my life as a single 23 year-old. It gives an awesome vision for what love truly is - a total gift of yourself. TOB really tugged at my heart, and inspired me all the more to live a life of purity - not just because my future husband is worth it, but because it is worth it and so fulfilling to love as CHRIST does. If you are looking to understand "what life is all about," then this is for you!
There are many situations in our lives in which we are tempted. It may be something very miniscule or it could be more serious. What is temptation? Every temptation is a lie. It is a lie that tries to tell us that something evil is good. It may feel good or satisfy an immediate need we have. However this is not what we truly need, it is actually a lie that is making something evil look good.
Sexual temptation tries to distract us from the true and pure beauty in which sex was created. This trains us to think about our sexuality selfishly and look at it as what can I get. It might ask how can I use this person to satisfy myself. Love looks at what I can give and is looking out for the other’s best interest which is truly the purpose of sex.
Understanding the difference between good and evil is something we are all capable of as intellectual beings. Please look at temptation for what it is and make the conscious decision to resist temptation and serve the purpose that we were created for in each of our lives.
“What’s a real man? He’s not a bully or a wimp. He transcends his own ego, his own fears, his own selfishness, and sacrifices himself as a gift to those he’s called to protect.” – Philip Mango
I don’t personally know much about being a real man, because I don’t have experience in this. However, I know from a woman’s perspective that we are drawn towards a man who does all of the above as Philip Mango has said. It is also important to become the real, true, and purist version of ourselves.
Transcending one’s ego is a lot easier said than done. I struggle with my own pride and have found that when I can admit that I am nothing without my source of strength it is much easier to give that praise and honor back to God. I have also found that my fears tend to lead to my struggle with pride. In order to counteract my fears, I tend to overemphasize my confidence to cover up my lacking. This is a common defense mechanism that I have come to recognize in myself. In admitting and accepting my fears, I am able to overcome this defense of pride. In transcending one’s ego, one is also being selfless, which is the opposite of being selfish.
We are called to love as Christ loves and give as Christ gives. Christ laid down his life for the whole world, are we willing to do the same? A good starting point is to go home and love your family. Mother Teresa said, “If you want world peace, go home and love your family first.” I am inspired by this quote to do whatever I can in small ways to promote love and peace in the world, by first becoming the best person that I can be.
Sexual purity is something that should be taken seriously. Sometimes people are overwhelmed with their current sexual temptations or sexual sins that they avoid discussion about anything dealing with sex. The truth of the matter is that sex is a beautiful and wonderful gift.
The Lord loves us so much that He gave us commandments and principles to live by so that we can be protected from the ravages of sin. If we desire God's blessings in our lives, we must obey Him. No matter what you have done or what bondages you may have allowed into your life, you can be forgiven, healed, and set free through the blood of Jesus. He conquered death and sin for us and we became new creatures when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. All Christians can live their lives free from the bondage of sin and there are many things we can do to avoid falling into the traps the world sets.
Sexual sin ranging from lustful thinking to perverted behavior is rampant in the world today. Even a quick sampling of television, magazines, the Internet, movies, advertising, and music can drown a person in sexually explicit material that is meant to cause arousal and appeal to the flesh. Biblical values such as celibacy in the single life, virginity until marriage, and faithfulness during marriage are considered ridiculous and old fashioned - even to some Christians.
"You will never be happy until you learn to make gratitude part of your daily emotional and psychological diet. You will never have a great relationship until you learn to truly appreciate the wonder of another person. And you will never experience the depths of intimacy until you grow to be thankful for the opportunity to share the journey with another person." - Matthew Kelly
Q: Will people think you're weird if you don't ever have sex in high school or college?
A: Hmmm...I think a lot of the time people make fun of virgins in public, but oftentimes I think there is also a certain envy that comes along with it. Someone who doesn't have high standards or morals oftentimes tries to bring others down with them to make himself/herself feel better and raise his/her self-esteem. But compare the consequences of practicing chastity and not practicing chastity. If being thought of as "weird" is the worst thing that has happened to you if are practicing chastity, then you're pretty well off. Compare that to the worst thing that can happen to you if you DON'T practice chastity. It's a challenge to to practice chastity at times, but because it's so hard, it really makes the gift of virginity just that much more special. Stay strong!
Honesty is something that has always been very important to me in relationships. There are three different parts to honesty that I want to focus on: being honest with yourself, being honest in how you present yourself, and being honest with each other. I think the first part of honesty is being honest with yourself. Girls especially have a tendency to jump in feet first, sometimes before the guy even notices them. It is important to also be grounded in reality and not get caught up in these emotions.
It is natural to want to show people the best side of yourself, but being yourself is crucial in the stages of getting to know someone. I wrote about being yourself a couple weeks ago. Evaluating why you are struggling to be yourself will help you to see where you are personally and what you are looking for in the relationship.
It is also important in relationships to be honest with each other. Communicating how you feel about each other and where each of you are in the relationship will help both of you to be on the same page. This will also keep you both rooted in reality and help you from falling into the day-dreaming type of relationships.
The director at a Planned Parenthood in Bryan, TX announced today that she is leaving her position at the clinic. The woman said that she had a strong conversion of heart when she saw an ultrasound of a child being killed through abortion. The director, Abby Johnson, said "I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it."
She radically turned around and joined the Coalition for Life and began praying outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic during the 40 Days for Life campaign. What an amazing witness!