Education to Love and Responsibility
Dear Young Friends,
Talking, sharing, encouraging and sometimes putting young people to task gives joy in my ministry. Here I have put into the words of “Innocent” what many youngsters have told me in the years past. Let us pay heed to Innocent. Always your friend, Fr. Arasu.
I am a Virgin
Yes, I am a virgin. I am now 19 years old and it has not been easy to be a virgin. I have been made fun of, poked at and called immature and even mentally sick. I hate to hear that ‘since I’m a virgin I’m inexperienced in relationship, and I will never find a partner.’ People even make assumptions that there is a high possibility that I will not bear children. And I hate that, sex the most intimate act of self-giving, has been slapped with nasty nicknames. But I know that sex ought to be and is a pure form of love and a lasting one.
I’m also tired of repeatedly told that, ‘to be chaste is hard and almost impossible’. People have come to believe that chastity ultimately means running away from people, hiding one’s heart and damning the desires. I’m sick of this attitude of the society and its tendency to reduce chastity and abstinence as something old-fashioned and outdated. It is even considered to be narrow-minded or to put it religiously (of course negatively) “a profound act of self-sacrifice.”
Today I’m an adult and I love sex and I look forward to have it in a meaningful and responsible way. I want to be sincere to myself. I don’t abstain from sex because I’m terrified or scared of acquiring disease or become an unprepared parent’. I don’t abstain because I can’t get a mate, or because I don’t “feel ready”. I don’t abstain from sex because I think it’s uncultured or dirty. (One of my sexually active friends was genuinely shocked to find out that I am a virgin and actually have sexual desires!)
I abstain from sex because I love it too much and I have no courage to abuse it or misuse it. I value my body too much to give it to just anyone. And I love my future spouse too much to mistakenly lose this precious gift that my partner truly deserves. On my wedding night, I will very gladly give my virginity to my spouse who has won my heart. As the crown of God’s creation, my body deserves nothing short of reverent patience.
At one time in my life, I didn’t see the value of my body. I compared myself to other youth in my class, envying their figure, perfect body and lovely complexions. I sought the attention and approval of my peers, giving away gifts, kisses and hugs in exchange for closeness. I wanted so much to “feel” wanted and loved. But you only need to spend a quiet moment of prayer and deeper thinking in yourself will reveal that you are precious and you ought to preserve your worth.
With the grace of God, my loving family, and strong role models, I slowly learned the proper purpose for dating and courtship, the meaning of kisses, hugs and the true value of the human body.
Chastity isn’t about suppressing our desires, but channeling them to bring about the best and the most life-affirming results. How happy would teenagers be if they spent less time craving over passing infatuations and more time developing healthy friendships! How happy will the future partner be, when my partner alone is able to unlock the secrets of my body!
Now let me share with you the following 12 steps that we can follow before we enter into intimate relationship. Let each one of us make the following promise of awareness, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
I will engage in sex only…
- When I am aware of all the changes that can come about in my body, including infections and all other sexually transmitted diseases. And when I have tested myself medically and shared concerns with my partner.
- When I feel that I am mature enough to give myself willingly, joyfully and totally to the person I love and cherish. Because I know that having sex is more than merely having a physical act.
- When I am confident that my partner loves me, cares for me and will stand by me beyond our physical and sexual attraction. When I have known that I have matured in loving relationship that can last forever.
- When I can honestly make the decision to have sex because I have known all the consequences and I KNOW that I am ready to face them. I am NOT doing it to fit in or feel pressured to do it. I AM in control of this situation rather than the situation controls me.
- When I am confident that my commitment to the other person will help us to grow and mature emotionally, socially and spiritually.
- When I have fulfilled my family, social, cultural and religious obligations that have implications for me, for my partner and for the children we will bring forth.
- When I am ready to take responsibility for my actions and I am confident in caring for the child I am bringing into this world.
- When I am willing to put my future goals on the side to support my partner and our child.
- When I am ready to make short and long-term goals for the new family and be willing to sacrifice myself to achieve the goals that I have made with my partner.
- When I can talk openly and honestly with my partner my past history and my future plans for our lives.
- When I am honestly able to say that I am not in lust with this person but that I truly do love the person and we feel that same about each other.
- When I have learnt to resolve conflicts in mature way and be able to accommodate each other in good and bad times.