The readings for mass today have a lot to do with chastity. The first reading definitely does because it says “For this is the will of God, your sanctification that you abstain from fornication; that each of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion.” And that “God did not call us to impurity but in holiness.” The gospel is about the ten bridesmaids who are waiting for the bridegroom to come. For young adults, the gift of their virginity on their wedding night is beautiful because it is a gift of themselves, for their spouse alone. What greater wedding gift is there than to wait for the “right person” to receive this gift? They will know how special they are and how much they are loved on their wedding night, because their spouse is the “right person”. A young person’s virginity is also like an unopened gift in shiny paper with a big fancy bow on it, that is saved for the special occasion of their wedding night. Christmas presents are no fun if you open them before Christmas, wrap them back up and put them back under the tree to open again on Christmas morning. Why spoil the special occasion?
It’s possible to regain chastity though. Confession is of course the first step, then abstinence. Even for couples who are living together, the priest will ask them to live as brothers and sisters, or in separate quarters while they are in marriage preparation. The couples who do this, insist later on that it made their wedding night a great deal more special.
There is no sexual sin that can not be forgiven if a person is sorry and resolves to recover a chaste lifestyle. The sooner it is confessed the better though. It is better to nip sinful behavior in the bud, than to wait until it is a more ingrained or long term problem. It is more difficult to change then. You will feel better about yourself, the sooner it is confessed. Young people can carry a lot of guilt around unnecessarily sometimes. This is true for those who have committed adultery too. Christ’s mercy is greater than any sin that we can commit and everyone deserves a second chance to live a life of chastity and holiness.
Seniors struggle with chastity issues too. Many find themselves single later in life after losing a spouse, because of a death or divorce. The dating scene is not what it used to be when they were young. Many seniors are also tempted to live together rather than get married because of economic reasons. For an example, they may have a pension as a surviving spouse that they would have to give up if they married. Living a chaste and holy life may come with a price, but why would you jeopardize your salvation over it? The gospel reading today says that “those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.” When the bridesmaids who were not prepared arrived and asked to be let in, the Lord said “Truly I tell you, I do not know you”. What a shame it would be to live a life of holiness and lose your salvation at the end of your life.
There are many practicing Catholics who struggle with same sex attraction. This is not a sin to have a sexual preference for those of the same sex any more than it is for heterosexual Catholics to be attracted to those of the opposite sex. Sex outside of marriage is a sin, regardless of who commits it. It isn’t complicated. All single people are called to a life of chastity. There is an excellent support group for Catholics with same sex attraction that are trying to live a chaste life though, called Courage.
Chastity is a virtue that is worth protecting, at all stages of life. To fail to do so, could jeopardize our salvation. Is it worth it? The best thing we can do is to not put ourselves in situations where temptations to sexual sins could occur. Like pornography. There are support groups for Catholics who have an addiction to pornography though. It is possible with God’s grace, frequent confession and the support of other Catholics to break this vicious cycle of addiction and live a life of holiness again.
The Catholic church and Jesus Christ himself, did not teach people to live a chaste life in order to take the fun out of our lives and our relationships. Chastity prevents a lot of heartache and suffering in the long run, if you stop and think about it. There is so much suffering that people go through, or cause others to go through because of unchastity. The sexual freedom that people in modern times have, doesn’t give them a better quality life. Christ came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.
Daily Mass Readings:
1 Thes 4: 1-8 / Ps 97: 1, 2b, 5-6, 10, 11-12 / Mt 25: 1-13