The world bombards men everyday with its fake messages of love and sexuality. Men are told women should be conquered and used, marriage and fatherhood are burden to avoid, and pornography is just normal “guy stuff.” This is a distorted view as the Catholic Church affirms that chastity is a virtue that expresses, trains and frees men to love in a noble way – to love like Christ. It taps into who men are really called to be: Noble, Self-giving guardians and protectors of women. During our session, we learnt about how men can find their authentic manhood and live a life of daily chastity.
Understand what chastity is not
Most men know the lyrics to Timaya’s “shake up your bum bum” and Iyanya’s ‘Your Waist,’ however, few men know what the Church has to say about chastity. Chastity is…
- Not about getting rid of your sexual desires. Its normal and healthy to have these.
- Not a list of prohibitions/a bunch of rules; its an encounter with Christ, who teaches love.
- Not motivated by fear of getting a girl pregnant/getting an STD or going to hell.
- Not about waiting to love a girl; its about loving her right now through sacrifice.
Chastity expresses love, trains you in faithfulness and frees you to fall in love for the right reasons. It prepares you for your vocation.
“Only a chaste man is capable of love – St. John Paul II”
Consider what authentic manhood is all about
In the heart of every man is a conqueror. The world’s view of manhood taps into that but twists it. The world says to conquer women for the sake of yourself. To change this, first face your fears; reject this false notion of freedom. Reject the idea that men are afraid of giving. To find your manhood, you have to love someone more than you love yourself. Freedom exists for the sake of love; it exists to be given away. To care for a woman is to do so through suffering and the ability to die to yourself for her purity.
We reflected on John 12:24-27 –
Discussion: Why is this scripture passage truly the blueprint for authentic manhood?
- It points to self sacrifice as being God’s will for love. This means we should let go of our selfish inclinations and put God first in everything especially our sexuality. The verse encourages us to sacrifice now for the greater purpose/gift which is not necessarily on earth or has material value but it has significant spiritual value and brings us closer to God (focussing on heavenly reward).
Relearn how to look at women
Our culture is obsessed with the body and nakedness. When you’re tempted to lust over a woman, the saints recommend you utilise ‘custody of your eyes.’ Instead of looking and lusting pray Psalm 84:1 below:
Also pray for her. In this way, you transform into an act of intercession. God created the glory of sex and the world fails to see his plan. The soul is like a castle fortress. The devil looks for weaknesses in the walls and that’s where he attacks. When we look at porn, its like opening the drawbridge of the fortress.
Discussion: We need to challenge ourselves to practice praying for women in situations where we think of lustful thoughts. We suggested praying Psalm 51: 10 – Create a clean heart in me, O God. And renew an upright spirit within my inmost being.
Examine the benefit of having great examples of manhood
Men need to learn manhood from other men. Manhood is about making a total gift of yourself. Some are lucky enough to have great examples of manhood in their families or other aspects of their lives. In Tobit 8:4-9, a young man Tobias is one such example. On his wedding night, he prays to God before consummating his marriage. He recalls God’s original plan for marriage, then he calls his bride “sister” and prays, “And now, O Lord, you know that I take my sister in conjugal union, not by reason of worldly pleasure, but solely for the love of posterity, in which your name may be blessed forever and ever.” Ultimately, our greatest example of manhood is Jesus himself. In becoming man, Jesus not only revealed God to us, He revealed us to ourselves.
10-point game plan towards living a pure life
Purity is a battle. You need a game plan and weapons to fight. This week, meditate on Psalm 51: 10, Psalm 84:1 andJohn 12:24-27. From the list below, choose 3 ‘weapons’ you can implement right away and commit to at least trying to do 2 of them throughout this week. Here they are:
- Humility: the foundation of spiritual life, humility is about having a realistic understanding of your weaknesses and recognising that God’s help is essential. Reflect on your weaknesses and pray the Litany of Humility.
- Good friends – brotherhood: don’t do it alone, you need accountability, look for friends who can support you in your battle.
- Confession: The sacrament of confession lets you know that when you fall you can get back up again through the graces bestowed once your sins are forgiven.
- The Eucharist: our Lord Jesus, present in the blessed sacrament will give you the strength to carry on during the journey as he gave prophet Elijah in the desert during is 40 days and 40 nights trek in the desert (1 Kings 19:4-8).
- The Name of Jesus: remember the name of Jesus is powerful, use it and prepare prayers to say whenever you face temptation.
- Devotion to the Virgin Mary: pray a decade of the rosary for purity. The Blessed Virgin Mary is our model of purity and a powerful intercessor for the battle for chastity. Turn to her in your time of need and she won’t let you down.
- Your Guardian Angel – Yes you have one, yes its a warrior, yes pray to it.
- Date holy girls
- Avoid the occasion of sin
- Perseverance: don’t be discouraged, it might be a long journey but God is with you.
For More Info:
Pray for your future wife: E5Men programme is where men of any faith fast for their future/current spouses in unison on bread and water for at least one 24 hour day per month – preferably the 1st Wednesday of the month. See more on their website.