Summer is here and with that comes the nostalgia of summer romance. It is one of those seasons where love is in the air. Just think of all those great summer romance flicks- Grease, Dirty Dancing, and The Notebook.
So how do chaste singles survive the summer without feeling like they’re missing out?
The answer is to understand the purpose and meaning of your chastity. If you’re chaste just because it’s something that good Christians do, then you’re merely enduring the practice. If all you’re doing is waiting around for a husband or wife, then you are missing out on the gift of chastity.
Every season of love such as Valentine’s Day,Christmas, including this summer will be dreaded. You’ll just find a way to live in the shadows until it passes. Jenny Taylor author of A Wild Constraint, The Case For Chastity, states, “conditional chastity is not chastity. It is a waiting game.”
So what is the purpose of chastity? The purpose of chastity lies in the two greatest commandments.
Jesus said the two greatest commandments are “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and the second is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
Step 1: Love God & Love yourself
Before you are called to love your neighbor, you are called to love the Lord and love yourself. That is what chastity does for you. It gives you the time and space to do both. Loving God and loving yourself go hand in hand.
When you don’t see yourself as enough, when you’re searching for someone else to fulfill you, you are rejecting the divinity in you.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 139:13-18:
“You formed my inmost being;
You knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
Wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.
My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me unformed;
In your books all are written down;
My days were shaped, before one came to be.
How precious to me are your designs, O God;
How vast the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands;
When I complete them, still you are with me.”
The Psalm is a beautiful love poem to yourself. It praises God for wonderfully making you!
The purpose of chastity is to discover that you are a gift to be shared to the world. But first you have to see yourself as a gift.
Remember Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself.
Loving yourself comes first. Chastity is that road. It is a road to looking and loving yourself with God’s eyes. It is a journey of self discovery. An opportunity to know yourself better and find fulfillment in your personhood.
How do you love yourself?
The road to self-love is different for everyone. Here are some suggestions:
*journal- Know yourself better. Write about your dreams, fears, reflections, insights, etc
*surround yourself with positive people
*take classes to nurture your talents
*take action steps toward achieving your goals
*read motivational books, listen to motivational speakers
*pray, read the Bible, go to Mass
Step 2: Love your neighbor
When Jesus calls you to love your neighbor he understands that deep need for us to connect with humanity. He’s not talking about sex. When you give yourself as a gift to others that is where you will find true love. Again, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about Christ love.
How are you a gift to others?
How are you giving yourself away?
God doesn’t want you to hide your light. Chastity is not about withholding yourself but of freely giving yourself to the world. God wants to use you to be a gift and service for others. He didn’t make your sole purpose to belong to one person in matrimony but to the whole world.
Even in matrimony, God wants us to give our gift away.
“..generous marriages that offer themselves in hospitality to others, particularly singles, are the bedrock of a healthy community.” – Jenny Taylor, A Wild Constraint, The Case For Chastity
How can you love your neighbor?
Here are a few suggestions:
*volunteer your gifts and talents to a local ministry
*become a mentor to a youngster, student, or novice at work
*spend time with the elderly
*find fellowship with like minded people
*nurture your friendships
*believe in someone, uplift them with encouraging words, and help them achieve their dreams!
The world will sell you on sex and casual relationships to distract you from the real relationships that God is calling you to: with Himself, yourself, and your neighbor.
Loving yourself and giving yourself away will give your chastity the meaning and purpose it deserves. It will do more than sustain you through this season. It will give meaning and purpose everyday of your life.
You are wonderfully and wholly made. Take the summer to reignite the flame of the Holy Spirit within you and in your brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s a summer love worth remembering!
Copyright 2017 Janet Tamez
About the author: Janet Tamez is a writer who grew up in Union City, NJ — also known as Havana on the Hudson. Between the rosary, the racket, and the rumba Janet writes about life as a Catholic single mom and as an urban Latina living life to the fullest. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Miami and has been published in two anthologies for Whispering Angel Books: Living Lessons and Littlest Blessings.