Every Friday, as my students exit my classroom at the end of each period, I shout at them, “Have a great weekend, and make holy choices!” I’ve said it so many times that the students now respond with, “We know… holy choices!” as soon as I chime “Have a great weekend!”
Holy vs. good
There is a reason behind my choosing the word holy instead of good. People can often mistake something bad as good, but they rarely mistake something unholy as holy. Likewise, students may mistake the use of their sexuality in a certain way as a good, but they can hardly justify it as holy.
I was taught at a young age that sex before marriage is bad, and I was told that abstinence is good (and “the way to go”). And as I grew older, I failed to see the reasoning behind the supposed “good” because it was never explained to me.
I would say that promoting abstinence without talk of chastity is like reading a biography of Frodo without the entire context of the Lord of the Rings. Abstinence from sex before marriage only makes sense if it is promoted in the context of chastity.
Chastity, the pursuit of holiness
Chastity is the pursuit of holiness and it should be conveyed as such. Our young men and women should know that their sexuality is given as a gift, and, like all gifts, it has a very special purpose. It is meant to express our love for our spouse in a very intense and immense way; and in this immensity and intensity, it opens itself up to a creation of a brand new human being, created in the image of the Ever Living God, planned and loved by Him from before all ages.
Our heart’s desire
Each of us has a vocation and we are called to fulfill it. At the bottom of our hearts is a desire that thirsts for holiness; it is what St. Paul calls “the law written on our hearts.” Part of this desire is to fulfill our calling to live out our sexuality in a way that is worthy of God.
Young men and women need to know that to live out this desire is not to give way to the insatiable wants of the flesh, but to listen in silence to the voice of our hearts. In doing so, they are pursuing chastity and they become fully who God calls them to be. In other words, they become more holy.
(John Huynh, Director of Faith Journey program and former theology teacher at Dowling Catholic High School)