I Don’t See Myself Changing, But…
“I don’t see myself changing, but how can I still get to what you guys are talking about?”
This question was asked by one of the students we recently spoke to about living out sexual integrity. At first glance, the question seems to suggest the student was not particularly receptive to the virtue of chastity as we presented it. However, we can learn a lot from this question, and the deeper truth connected to it.
First, this student acknowledged a fact about our human nature: we are creatures of habit. How many times have we tried to break a habit and failed? Or, realized how long it took to succeed? Why can Lent be so difficult for us some years? Well, because in all of these scenarios, we experience a change in our routine. It is initially uncomfortable to adjust a daily schedule or to become aware of something that has been ingrained.
Secondly, this student acknowledged that sin is attractive to us, at least on the surface. The appeal of sin is in the immediate gratification we receive from it. The devil takes something good – like sex – and twists it, takes it out of its context, makes it something self-seeking…and tempts us with that distorted good. This student was not only acknowledging that breaking the habit would be difficult, but that turning away from the temptation to sin would also be tough.
The end of this student’s question is where the “minor miracle” lies: God can reach someone through even the tiniest opening in his heart. This student – even after acknowledging his weakness – had enough humility to be open to the lifestyle of chastity. He opened the door to Grace by simply allowing himself to be curious about choosing a life of authentic freedom and love. This question was asked out loud in front of classmates, meaning the curiosity compelled him to stand out, be bold, and be vulnerable. It was a blessing to hear the yearning heart behind the question, and I pray that this student’s example of curiosity influenced the other students in the room to ask themselves: “Is this something I want too?”