One of the most surprising if disturbing phenomena in our times is that with all the unde-niable prob-lems related to chastity, there’s hardly anything done about it. No con-certed effort, no campaign nor drive is being done.
Problems, of course, include premarital and extramarital sex, porno-graphy and self-abuse that seem to be an epidemic left to fester especially among the young, infidelity, homosexual activities, forms of immodesty, etc.
We even have cele-brities now publicly confes-sing they are helplessly addicted to sex, treating their perversions just like a case of alcoholism or drug dependence. Some of them, quite wrecked by it all, now avail of rehab which, of course, is not a bad idea. But would that be enough?
And let’s not forget that a few of those who for religious reasons are consecrated to celibacy have committed highly scandalous crimes from which the Church conti-nues to reel. To me, these anomalies comprise the most heinous of all sins against chastity.
We need to do a more pro-active approach to this crisis. Among the things that we can do is to spread more widely, especially in families, schools and parish chur-ches, that blessed doctrine now dubbed as ‘theology of the body.’
The theology of the body links the whole reality of our body, and especially our sexuality, to the humanity of Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity who became man, who took on a human body, to show us, among others, how our body should be under-stood, used and cared for.
The theology of the body tells us the good news about our body, the beautiful designs God, our Father and Creator, has for it at the beginning of our creation, and the redemptive efforts that due to the sinful and wounded condition of our humanity, God through Christ in the Spirit has done and continues to do for it.
We should be able to do this, especially nowadays when we can count already on the tremendous help offered by our communication technologies. Obviously, before we can make use of these technologies, what is fundamentally required is the proper attitude to help reinforcing it with the proper spirituality, and then with due study, patience and persistence. Without these, everything else would be in vain.
Aside from spreading this doctrine through talks, classes and other collective means, what is also most important is to be able to enter into personal relationships with the persons concerned.
It is in these relation-ships, which should be marked by true friendship and confidence, that the persons concerned can be encouraged to do a conti-nuing ascetical struggle, purifying their attitudes and understanding of things, developing virtues, strate-gizing ways to deal with their weaknesses, temp-tations and falls.
In this regard, we need to reassure everyone that there is always hope no matter how bad one’s predicament in this area is. God always forgives and also gives us the necessary graces to heal what is sick and wounded.
Developing true friend-ship, trust and confidence is a must in this task, because most of the problem in this area stems from the fact that those with this problem often feel too ashamed to open up and so are left unattended and unhelped.
That is why, we have to see to it that in the families the relationship between fathers and sons, between mothers and daughters should be such that this delicate topic of sexuality and chastity can be brought up without fear or shame.
We have to encourage everyone to make use of the spiritual and supernatural means first—prayers, sacrifices and mortifica-tions, recourse to the sacraments, filial devotion to Our Lady who is our Mother most pure and chaste.
Then we have to help everyone acquire the skills of ascetical struggle—knowing oneself so well as to know what his strengths and weaknesses are, what he can take and what he cannot with respect to dangers and temptations that we cannot avoid, how to smell possible dangers and how to put oneself as far as possible from these danger, what we ought to do when we fall, etc.
And when it cannot be avoided to have, so to speak, a frontal combat with our weaknesses and temptations, we should learn the necessary skills. Very often, this kind of combat takes place when we are alone, somehow telling us that our worst enemies are actually our own selves.
What should therefore help us is to be reminded always that we should never be alone, even if we are physically alone. We should firmly set our minds and hearts on God and others, especially when we are physically alone. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chap-lain, Paref-Southcrest School, Banilad, Cebu City, Email: roycimagala @gmail.com.