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Sometimes we think that chastity is just a message we preach to teenagers but it is something each of us needs to practice everyday. Start with a personal commitment. Are you determined to live a chaste life ? Everything we put in our heads (movies, books and images) needs to reflect the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of sex. We can use the way we talk to reflect this dignity, avoiding jokes that trivialize or mock sex, and looking for opportunities to speak of real love. Sometimes we can’t avoid images. Especially in advertising and popular media. Think of the people in these pictures as real people, not just something fun to look at. It takes a conscious effort.
Ask yourself questions like, “who is this person?” “ What kind of laundry detergent do they use ?” Imagine them as your sister or brother. Making these choices, over and over, joins us to the pure mind of Christ, who looked on, even prostitutes with saving love.
At the same time, consider how you treat those around you. People are desperate for someone to give them the respect due to a child of God. If you’re a man, make a commitment to honor and respect the dignity of each woman you meet, no matter what she’s doing, or how she is dressed. If you’re a woman, resolve not to manipulate the men in your life or regard them as overgrown children. Dress in a way that encourages men to see your dignity as a person, not as a sex object. We need to help the men around us get to heaven more than we need to attract their attention.
If you have children, or can influence teenagers, help them choose chastity. Show them how to build healthy, chaste relationships. You could be saving them from a lifetime of pain. Research shows that children often base their sexual choices on their parents advice. Help your children see sex as something beautiful and good to be shared with one special person, not something cheap and casual that deserves mockery.Honor the heroes of chastity. Couples who save sex for their wedding night, single men and women who guard their purity, priests, religious and others who are living holy celibacy. Honor those who struggle with same-sex attractions without giving in to a homosexual lifestyle. Often these people feel like freaks in our sex-obsessed culture, but they are the heroes of this battle- duking it out everyday where the fighting is fiercest.
We can change our culture for the better when you see advertisements that use sex or the human body to sell products, let the advertisers know you are offended and refuse to buy the product. When networks air shows degrading sex or promoting immodesty write the producers and let them know you don’t want this piped into your home. Note which companies advertise during those shows. Stop buying their products, and tell them why. When radio dj’s degrade sex, let the radio stations and their advertisers know you are not amused.
There is a great battle being fought in our schools for the hearts and minds of the next generation. Many abstinence educators are working valiantly to spread the message that chastity is the only viable choice. You can help: abstinence educators need single people to inspire teens, and married people to show that a good marriage is worth waiting for. When others promote condoms in the schools, let the schools know that condoms don’t protect against anything (even AIDS). Condoms reduce, but do not eliminate the risk. Their use makes matters worse by encouraging risky behavior. If there is no abstinence program in your area, start one. There are terrific chastity educators and organizations that can help you get started.