When people want to lose weight, our TV shows & magazines flood us with talk about diet and exercise, self-control and moderation. People aren’t advised to pop pills, become bulimic or anorexic (although some people definitely do).
With sex, it’s COMPLETELY the opposite. Our culture tells us to indulge and gorge in every passion and desire we have, regardless of the harm it does to our body, mind or soul. People aren’t advised to have self-control and live a chaste lifestyle (although thankfully, I know a ton a people who do.)
It definitely made me laugh. Why? Because it’s totally the answer of a person who’s living a chaste Catholic lifestyle.
Is it difficult to be chaste? Of course! God made us with sexual desires that sometimes feel like the fireworks of 4th of July going off inside us. Does that mean you have to lose all passion if you live a chaste lifestyle? Heck no! The world around us says, “Well, you’re an animal, go indulge in those sexual desires however you please.” That’s like telling hungry people to gorge themselves with as much candy and syrup as possible. Buddy the Elf could would like that, be we would get sick to our stomachs after a while. Reminds me of the scripture that says, “They promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves of corruption, for a person is a slave of whatever overcomes him” (2 Peter 2:19). But what’s our other option? Do we have to become stoic puritans and shove our desires deep down inside, pretending we don’t have any? Of course not! That’s like telling a hungry person to starve. There is another way, a perfect way.
Our passions and desires can be used for evil or for good, for Hell or for Heaven, for selfishness or for selflessness, for sin or with virtue. It’s very easy to use our passions of ANGER, PRIDE and LUST however we want. But is this Christian? Of course not. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says, “Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices” (1768). It is much more difficult to have self-control with our passions, especially when someone cuts you off in traffic and you want to be ANGRY, or when someone criticizes you and you want to retort back with sarcastic PRIDE, or you are in the passion of the moment with someone you’re attracted to and are tempted to LUST. Our religion is not one that tells us to do whatever we want, but challenges us to die to ourselves, so we may rise with Christ (see Gal 2:20). Patience, humility, and love are difficult, but Heaven is worth it.
We have a choice. Our feelings, emotions, passions and desires can either dominate and have power over us (which is called “slavery to sin,” because we aren’t actually free to choose love and good), OR we can have power over them (which is called “slavery to righteousness”). The GOOD NEWS is that it IS possible. I know this myself, since from 8th grade I made a decision never to get drunk or have sex, and now am 27-years old and have stuck to these things. I DID NOT do this on my own. Only by the grace of God, through prayer, and through accountability of community, have my desires been transformed (and are still be transformed). Saying “no” to PRIDE, I am able to grow in humility. Saying “no” to ANGER, I am able to grow in patience. Saying “no” to LUST, I am able to grow in love. All your “no’s” allow you to say even greater “YES’s!” With God, ALL things are possible, even our corrupted desires becoming holy and new! If you’ve made A LOT of mistakes in your past, know it’s possible to be made new in Christ and start saying “Yes” to Him!
Be passionate for God. Long for Him alone. “Delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4).
Peace and joy to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ!
“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you…that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:19-25
What does scripture say?:
“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
“I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed of your testimony…but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”- 2 Timothy 1:6-8
“Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“For God did not call us to impurity, but to holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who (also) gives his Holy Spirit to you.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8