A student at a school once asked me, “what if she doesn’t want me to practice chastity?” This is a great question. My initial response was to tell him to practice it anyway, but that did not seem sufficient. Striving to live out sexual integrity is good, and it is even better when you can invite others into it. So, what do we do when our friends, or that special someone, doesn’t want us to practice chastity?
We try to remind them of who they are by the way we strive to live our lives. We have all been told that we must act a certain way to fit in with a certain crowd. Sometimes people don’t even give the virtuous life the time of day since it is not how the “crowd” wants me to live. This is real and difficult; yet no one is remembered for swimming with the tide! St.Josemaria Escriva once said, “When you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph.”
Here are three tips on how to remind friends that chastity is worth living:
1) Encourage them by telling them that they are not alone. It is very easy to fall into thinking that we are the only one striving to live this virtue out. That is not true. There are plenty of people striving to live this out and constantly thinking up new ways to be better. Let them know that they are not alone, they have you. Help them find friends that will help them live this out.
2) Tell them they do not have to be perfect. Living out the virtue of chastity is not going to be perfect. It is going to take time and practice. No one is perfect. We can build up others in the way that we love them imperfectly.
3) Have hope. Finding hope along the journey is important. Surrounding yourself by friends and relationships of people who strive to live this out is really encouraging. Find those couples and ask them how they do it.
I told that student that even though she may not want you to practice chastity, you can practice it anyway. It may not be easy. It will most likely be very difficult because it is not popular, but you are not alone. It does not need to be perfect, but you can strive. She may not want you to practice chastity now, but a lot of women will want you to in the future.