Q. Why does society say that chastity is a bad thing to do?
A. There are plenty of ways we could answer this question.
- We don't understand who we are -- unique and unrepeatable persons created in the image and likeness of God.
- We don't understand what love is -- willing the true good of the other, not a feeling I happen to have.
- We don't understand how chastity and love are linked -- chastity frees me to give of myself to another in a truly loving way.
But the answer that I would like to focus on is our society's seeming inability to say no to immediate gratification. We are used to getting everything we want immediately -- the score to the football game, a Big Mac, cash from the ATM, a movie we want to rent -- the list could go on! We don't like being told. We don't like experiencing inconvenience or pain. We pop a Tylenol at the first sign of a headache, and blast the air conditioning in our car on a hot day.
So, in a society like this, who would want to say "no" to sexual desires? We can't say "no" without a greater "yes," and in our society today, we have lost the sense of the greater "yes." Because we can't necessarily see the goodness of the "yes" to love right in front of our faces, like we can see the apparent good of a "yes" to experiencing the pleasure we want right now, as a society, we seem to choose the "no" to chastity instead of the "yes" to love.
But in reality we can't say "yes" to anything if we can't say "no" to other things. We make our wedding vows by saying "yes" to one person, but that yes involves a "no" to the other 3 billion people of the opposite sex on earth. We can't say "yes" to playing for our high school football team without saying "no" to playing for our school's rival.
What we need to recapture in our society, I think, is the goodness of a "yes" to love, even when that "yes" involves sacrifice. We need to see that it is worth the difficulties. We don't have the cross without the resurrection ... but we also don't have the resurrection without the cross. Sometimes we get so afraid of the cross, that we also say no to the resurrection. We need to see the goodness of both and embrace them both together.