But I really had had enough. I was going to daily Mass (mostly), and Eucharistic Adoration, and Jesus was working on me, in a way He never had quite succeeded at before. Maybe I was just fed up, maybe He was. Things were changing. I didn’t want to be so “slutty” anymore. I didn’t want to feel like I was beyond hope, beyond redemption. Maybe there was something to this chastity thing, after all. I kept praying. At fifty years old, I had mostly given up on a “real” relationship and even the tedium of affairs, but there was always… ahem… “self-mastery,” if you catch my meaning. Still, I think somewhere, somehow, I was hoping for the magical, spiritual belt that would erase temptation.
And then I met Scott. (Well, we’d been Facebook friends for months, via the magical threads of Mark Shea.) Scott was far and away one of the most interesting people I had seen on Facebook, and apparently he felt the same way about me. We were instantly attracted to each other, and he made plans to come for a visit. We talked about chastity, and were adamant. There would be no sex. None. Only kissing. We were completely in accord. He was such a genuinely nice person, with such a tender heart, that I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I didn’t want to be the occasion of his going to Confession. For the first time in my life, I was more concerned with his good than my own. I have no idea how this happened. It had to be Jesus Christ. There is, literally, no other explanation.
But let me tell you, it was not easy. It was (and is) very, very difficult. But somehow, this time, it’s worth it.
We had four delightful days. We kissed. We kissed a lot. It was great. It was exceedingly great. It was exceedingly tempting. The pursuit of virtue was very, very difficult. But we did it. No. I take that back. Jesus did it. But because it was so hard, I offer you the following tips. To some, they may be obvious. Sadly, they never were to me. Perhaps you will find them useful, and following them will make virtue a little more attainable.
- Pray: Pray, pray, pray. Don’t wait until you’re already involved with someone to get involved with Jesus (though better late than never). Instead, get a spiritual life now. As a person who thought chastity was for naïve fools and those in religious orders, I can only attribute our success thus far to the powerful intercession of Saint Faustina Kowalska (who has entirely redeemed herself in my jaded eyes), the Virgin Mary, my beloved Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, and the grace of an entirely benevolent Jesus. Get some friends in Heaven. Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Ask. For. Help. It is my utterly sincere belief that the saints are overjoyed and delighted to help.
- Make a firm resolution: Don’t just think about it. Say it out loud. Tell him. Tell yourself. “I’m not going to engage in sexual relations before marriage.” Scott and I decided it was okay to kiss. (I know couples who don’t kiss.) It’s not about what might sound silly for someone else, it’s what boundaries you think will best help you.
And this is something to consider, as you decide what is permissible. Following Christ shouldn’t be about backing away from Hell, but in running toward Heaven. Don’t focus only on what you think you can get away with under the Law. For example, I know people who say anal sex is okay, because then she’ll still be a virgin on her wedding night. Or that oral sex isn’t really sex. Huh? No. All the nope in the world. That’s a lie from Satan. I can’t even. No.