Purity is something that is little understood in today’s society, yet it is something so vital to live respectfully, peacefully, and lovingly in the world today.
My will vs God’s Will
When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I lived like most of those I knew my age at that time. I was Christian/Catholic. I went to bible studies, prayed the Rosary daily, went to church often and always on Sundays, and yet, I would regularly have sex with my fiance at the time, because, that’s what 2 people in love did back then (truly I was clueless). But after the relationship failed miserably, I learned that I lived my life according to MY will, not God’s. I could not understand why life was an endless ride on an emotional roller coaster, until I was forced to reflect upon my choices. After looking at my past, I discovered what I believed and what society taught me was “good behavior”, was in reality, selfish, lustful, and sinful, (I have since repented of them all). In my relationships with men, I thought, “if I love the guy, it’s ok to have sex, because everyone else was doing that, why can’t I ?” After 3 failed relationships, I figured out why…it is NOT God’s Will. I learned that if a man TRULY loves you, he will be willing to wait to be married first. If he is not willing to wait, he’s not worthy to marry! Living in purity is important because it is how God intended us all to live. St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20: (emphasis added)
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
There is a reason the St. Paul said this, and it has much more depth and breadth than how it is explained in this short Bible passage. Volumes have been written about it, and I have some links below so you can read the explanations of it.
R E S P E C T !
By giving my body over to my fiance before marriage, I unknowingly degraded myself. I lowered my value in his eyes, and in my own. When I did that, afterwards, I needed almost constant renewal of his commitment and love, because I had not respected myself. Once that happened, the relationship had a definite expiration date! I gave into my own cravings for affection and love, by giving my body over to him. What I needed was love, real pure love, not sex. And I already had that Love in God/Jesus, but because of my lack of self-respect (and state of sinfulness), I couldn’t feel God’s love, so I looked for it elsewhere (in a man). Plus, I have learned that sex without marriage is a lie. Each person involved is lying to the other. Because God intended for sex to be between 2 married people, not unmarried. If you are unmarried and have sex, you degrade yourself to yourself, and in the eyes of your lover (no matter how much he adamantly denies it)!
When I was in my relationships, I kept praying for God’s will to be made known to me, but I didn’t realize that following the “rules” completely 100%, was actually doing God’s will. By the “rules” I mean first of all The Ten Commandments. Then there are the teachings/catechism of the Church, which are from the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament meant to keep us out of sin. Then to obey our superiors: lawmakers, bosses, judges, doctors, pastors, etc, and then the laws for all of us: doing the speed limit, don’t drink and drive, don’t murder, don’t do drugs, don’t steal, etc. Because of the wretched state of my sinful soul, I thought that “doing God’s will” must be, doing whatever shows up in front of you! (I have since discovered there are a lot of people that actually think this way)! What I discovered is that God put the commandments, catechism, laws, and those above us in our lives to guide us, and these guides ARE His Will. Then if I didn’t follow the rules/superiors/laws, and I got hurt/hurt others, when something did happen, I would cry and ask God “Why me Lord?!” Not realizing that I was following my own will but thinking it was God’s will! God puts people above us and below us. The ones above us, He speaks through to guide us to what His will is. If we don’t listen and obey those above us, we are not listening or obeying GOD! St. Faustina was told by Jesus that obedience means more to Him than the deepest sacrifices we could possibly do! God made these “rules” not to hurt us but to SAVE US, not only save us undue suffering, but literally to SAVE US from hell!
But there is more to purity also than just purity between a man and woman…it is purity with yourself. You can’t be satisfying yourself without damaging your mind/body/soul in some way. And the damage is far more subversive than one can ever imagine. How you feel about yourself, how you act, what you think of yourself and others, it effects all of those things and so much more. It was not until I learned to live in complete purity, even with myself, that I healed in ways I never would have otherwise. Jesus let me know once during my meditation that without complete purity, He could not have healed me in the ways I needed to be healed. I was abused mentally and emotionally for a majority of my life. I allowed physical abuse from 2 of my boyfriends and verbal/mental abuse from the last one, because I felt such low self-esteem. But because of practicing complete purity with the help of God/Jesus, I was healed of my extreme low self-esteem, and now I feel I know my TRUE value as a person. There is a closeness I have gained with God/Jesus and I can now FEEL Jesus’ Love for me, and how important I am to Him. I have been given insights into myself and my being as a person, that never would have happened if I had not lived in complete purity. I gained not only newfound respect for myself, but also for others. I think about my actions more now, and how they will effect others, something I think the whole world needs right now.
Anything worth value is difficult
Being pure has not been easy, but is anything worthwhile easy? Doesn’t it take hard work and sacrifice to say, get a degree, or run a marathon, or learn a new trade? So, something as valuable to your mind/body/soul as purity surely would take some effort because it is worth even more than any of those things I mentioned! Once you make the effort, and DO live in complete purity, you will see, you won’t want to “go back” to the way you were…I promise you that! There is a level of Grace you feel, a deeper connection with God and The Divine. You understand things you never could before. Being pure, for each of us, is part of God’s Divine Plan.
There are many discourses to be found throughout the web, but here are a few places where the explanations are especially good:
Theology Of The Body – http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/catholic-teaching/theology-of-the-body.cfm
Theology of the Body in Simple Terms: Vol 1 – https://www.amazon.com/Body-Gift-Reflections-Creation-Theology/dp/1932645748/
Theology of the Body in Simple Terms: Vol 2 – https://www.amazon.com/Purity-Heart-Reflections-Theology-Language/dp/1932645756/
Purity as life according to the Spirit: https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb56.htm
The Positive Function of Purity of Heart – https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb57.htm
God Bless you,