A few weekends ago I went hiking with some of my friends. I’m back from College now, and I haven’t seen these guys for almost a year. It is safe to say that we all had a wonderful reunion.
As we were catching up one of my friends announced that he was thinking about converting to Catholicism. We all found this incredibly interesting and started asking him questions as to why. One of the things he said was, ” When I went to Catholic bible studies I was amazed. There were guys my age, 21, 22, who were giving their lives to become priests– to live a life of celiabacy– and they were happy! My friend continued to explain the other points, but I got caught on this one statement. Celiabacy brought these boys joy and I began to wonder, do I find joy in my celiabacy/chastity?
If I’m going to provide an honest answer I will say up until now, no. I didn’t. I always spent my time frequently praying for my husband, imagining my husband and anticipating married life. I didn’t want the gift of singleness! I wanted to get married and have a man of my own– and although I’ve sustained my purity I never cherished it.
“… there were guys my age, 21, 22, who were giving their lives to become priests– to live a life of celiabacy– and they were happy!”
How odd this statement was to me. Men finding happiness in purity? It’s not that I didn’t believe it, I did, but I couldn’t get over how it violently confronted my own wishes– and then of course I was moved to repentance. You see we can so easily make love and sex an idol in our own minds, but it ought not to be. The thing about the gospel is that asides from Christ you virtually are not in ultimate need of any other indulgence. You live for Him, you die for Him– you do everything for Him and when you have sex or abstain from it– yes, you also do it for HIm. You do it in worship and today that thought captivates m and I am proud of my chastity — however counter-cultural that may be. I’m proud that my self- control brings God glory and I’m proud that because of this I’m able to understand His spirit and preserve my love for Him– not His love for me— but my love for Him.
You see, whether you’ve always practiced absitence or you’ve made a new commitment to it, the truth is that the act of absitence itself is a living sacrafice we make to our God. It is an image of self-control and divine commitment and for that we should be happy.
So if you’re single, yes, go pray for your future spouse that is a good thing, but also thank God for your singleness, your joy in Christ and the opportunity for worship, because that is the present and we do not wait until the future to express joy for our gifts.