Acquiring renewed purity does not involve a surgical proceedure, nor does it require the use of a preventative ‘aid’ (I’m thinking ‘ middle ages’ and ‘chastity belts’) to ensure that sexual interaction does not take place. For purity to be renewed it is a willingness of self that responds to the call from God to live in sexual purity. It won’t magically take you back to the innocent days of pre-sexual encounter, it won’t ‘repair’ you physically, nor wipe out the memories of sexual promiscuity. But what it will do, is give you back your sexuality, so that you can make better decisions about the way that you live out your life. It isn’t about repression, it doesn’t have to be a struggle, and it certainly isn’t about secularising your personality.
It’s about making a stand.
Since I have 2 children and have had more pre-conversion sexual relationships than I would want to admit to publically, it may seem ironic that I’m discussing an issue regarding purity. I can appreciate that. When I first heard about renewed purity I thought it was a crazy concept, and that it could not be applied to my own life. The opposite was true. In fact, I discovered that I am exactly the kind of person that can benefit enormously from pledging my sexuality to God.
Understanding that there is more to the equation of intimacy than woman and man, that for love to be true, for love to be christocentric, is to accept that God can not be denied a place even in the marital act itslef. In expressing our love in the ultimate form that our bodies can give to one another in sexual union, a complete surrender and unification, a willingness to be more than man, more than woman, but ‘of one body’, we express the very essence of what it means to be united with Christ.
“Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church”. ~
Pope John Paul II
Reflecting on this thought gave me the opportunity to realise that just because I used to be a certain kind of person didn’t mean that I couldn’t transform areas of my life to reflect who I am now and the person that I have become…As a single woman, do I really want to atempt to find gratification in empty and unfulfilling sex? Do I want to be a notch on someone’s bedpost? Am I so insecure that I need the reassurance of affection through the sexual act? No. Am I worth more than that? Yes.
“The Gospel of Christ constantly renews the life and culture of fallen man, it combats and removes the errors and evils resulting from the permanent allurement of sin. It never eases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. By riches coming from above, it makes fruitful, as it were from within, the spiritual qualities and traditions of every people md of every age. It strengthens, perfects and restores(6) them in Christ. Thus the Church, in the very fulfillment of her own function,(7) stimulates and advances human and civic culture; by her action, also by her liturgy, she leads them toward interior liberty”.
Pastoral Constitution ~ GAUDIUM ET SPES
For me, renewed purity is about promising myself to my future spouse (if God so will’s it), entrusting my sexuality to God to take care of, and ensuring that I do everything within my power to ensure that I don’t make this any harder than it need be. Sexual abstinence is one thing, but there are so many other ways of engaging in sexual impropriety..and that’s before we find ourselves in close proximity to a member of the oppposite sex!
TV shows take on a whole new look when you desire to live a christocentric life. There is so little morality portrayed on our television set’s. Music is much the same. On numerous occassions I have started listening to a song and then there’s a line that just sucks out all the enjoyment (for me at least)…I don’t want to hear about how many times a couple engage in frenzied foreplay or when and where they ‘did it’.
Media voyeurism may be a subtle means of penetrating the mind, but it is important to identify it and recognise it seeping into our lives. I don’t perhaps worry about myself so much, I am perfectly capable of seeing and hearing no matter how thinly veiled the sexual over-and- under tone- undertones. It is our children whom are most vulnerable, of course, and yet when they are exposed to sexual referrence on practically every level, we may wonder how to tackle this and perhaps not do so at all.
I’m approaching the Big 40, and I have to say, that it’s much easier now than it was when I was in my teens. I no long associate normality with having a ‘healthy’ singles’ sex life. I don’t feel inferior when acquantances enquire who I’m with (I get so bored with that question) because I now know that I’d rather be with no one, than with the wrong someone.
Of course, the pressure for me as I approach the top of the hill (I say that as if it’s all downhill for the next 40 years after that!) isn’t what it used to be, either. I don’t have to fend off lustful boys at the school disco (though if I told you about the chat up line I received yesterday you would have a fit laughing!).
Being a teen in these times of *eroticulture is harsh.
It’s popular to confuse ‘love’ with ‘sex’, and yet often the ‘love’ we receive in sexual relationships isn’t the kind of love we hope for or need.
What sex should be~
An element of loving one man or woman that you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with… you picture your future and it always includes them… you see Christ in this person, and they help you to reflect Christ’s image in yourself. The ultimate union of man and woman within the confines and sanctity of the Marriage Sacrament.
What sex often is~
A way of seeking/getting attention. A way of feeling wanted/needed. A way of killing boredom. A quick romp that makes you feel dirty and cheap and unloved. A way of contracting a serious STD or AIDS. A way of getting pregnant. A way of increasing abortion statistics. A way of taking control of your own body because you can do what you like with it and no one else is going to tell you any different, “so there!”
What sex can be ~
A gift. A gift of yourself to your future spouse, completely, sexually undefiled by another. The knowledge that your spouse will cherish the gift that you have offered to him/her at your betrothal. A sacrifice at the altar of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
What sex (outside marriage) often is ~
Painful. Brutal. Seedy. Unreciprocated affection. Empty. Lonely. Socially acceptable.
What purity is ~
Beautiful. A means of developing the relationship that you have with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. A deepening and strengthening of your faith. A rebellion against Satan. A rebellion against a sexed up, secularised world. Socially unacceptable.
I feel for my own children.
What mother doesn’t worry about their children being led astray? I hope that I have done enough to instill in my teenage daughter a sense of the worth and value of her purity. I pray that when tested, she will be able to withstand the temptations of the flesh and say;
“I’m a sheep for Jesus who is my Shepherd, but I’m not a sheep of the world…I will not be led to the slaughter, to the ultimate abattoir!”
“Get real, jerk. I’m saving myself for my husband”, would do.
Nowadays of course, it’s just as ‘uncool’ in our unsacred society as it ever was to maintain your virginity, but at least there are organisations that let you know that you are not alone, and that your sexuality, a beautiful gift from God, is meant only to be expressed within the confines of the marital union. That love can only reach and fulfill it’s ultimate potential in married love.
Above all, sensuality is God-given and beautiful. Often the most precious things in life are worth waiting for. While we’re waiting, we can do some reading…
If you don’t have this already, get hold of this book called ‘If you really loved me…’ I purchased a copy for my daughter … but I started reading it myself and it resonated with me so much. Particularly the chapter on renewed purity.
Know where the boundaries lie and make sure you (or your children) know how to avoid difficult dating siutuations.
Guard your purity and join the purity club!
Visit this funky pure love club aimed at teens.
*it might not be a word but I like it.