By Francesca Santelli
Even in Catholic circles, chastity can be a taboo topic, yet it is an essential part of our faith, and not just because it applies to our human sexuality. It affects the ways we live our daily lives and how we think about and interact with one another. While the fundamental understanding of chastity is that we as Catholics are called to abstain from sexual relations until we are married, the practice goes beyond that. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says that “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The practice of chastity is, ultimately, the persistent, daily exercise in seeing people not as objects to be enjoyed but as human persons made in the image of God. This is why Jesus’ words are so severe about what it means to objectify another human being.
I love chastity, and I try to live by it with God’s grace. And I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on how to live chastely, and most of the thoughts have to do with prayer.
A lot of times, prayer seems like a chore or something that we as Catholics just have to do, but when it comes to practicing chastity, it means so much more. Prayer helps us to fill our hearts with Jesus’ love for us and our love for Jesus, which forms us in his teachings, helping us to love, and not use, people.
In our efforts to live chastely, we should also be using our prayer time to examine how we are treating others: What am I trying to get out of this relationship? Is my heart in the right place? Do I know who I am so I can not only respect myself in this relationship but respect the other?
I find this to be very important while trying to live a chaste life because it puts ourselves in check before we run off trying to be with someone that may not even have the same beliefs and motives as us, which could potentially help avoid any sort of heartbreak or feeling different from others.
In summary, know yourself, be honest with yourself, and know what your motives are in your heart. Especially make sure that the other is on the same page as you are because it is already difficult to live a life of chastity, it will make it even harder if both you and your partner are not on the same page when it comes to motives, how to avoid sin, and the end goal.