Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chick Flicks and Chastity

That was not taken at
UNC, but you get the idea.
In high school I was voted "Most Likely to become a Motivational Speaker", well, I guess they kind of got it right. Last year at the FOCUS national conference in Orlando I gave a breakout session titled "What Chick Flicks and Love Songs have to do with Chastity", it was for men only.

Perhaps I am crazy. What female willingly agrees to addresses a group of solely college men on chastity and women's emotions?

The weeks before the talk I spent a lot of time praying and blessed be God, the Holy Spirit showed up. From that talk I have received a number of requests to give versions of it for other events and one such event was just this week.

The FOCUS team at UNC- Greeley invited me to speak at their women's night about this topic often called "emotional chastity". It was so great to spend some time on a FOCUS campus doing hands on ministry. As my only experience on a FOUCS campus is Benedictine, which is a Catholic bubble, I was so exciting to witness a thriving program at a public university. The love that existed between the missionaries and students was apparent and you could tell that they really had a great community of faith.

The basic concept behind emotional chastity is that men and women are different in the way they were made, so they are different in the way they are tempted, specifically when it comes to purity. Men, being more physical and visual in nature, struggle with the physical side of purity. They are tempted to have unchaste thoughts and actions. Women on the other hand are more emotional and relational, so they are tempted to do things like "mentally stalk" men (almost obsessively daydream about men who they aren't even in a relationship with) and use men to try and fill an emotional void. Emotional purity and physical chastity are so interconnected because for women, where our hearts go, our bodies tend to follow.

The interconnectedness of sensual (physical) and sentimental (emotional) love is all within the wisdom of the Catholic Church from writers such as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, and Pope John Paul II and the more I learn about it the more I understand myself as a woman, as well as the struggles that I continue to see reoccurring in the the young adults I am blessed to present to. So as long as God wants me to put myself in potentially awkward situations (for example, two of my upcoming talks will be given in bars), I'm going to continue to read up on all things related to relationships, emotions and women.

"The strength of a woman lies in the emotional life." St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross


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