Chastity was once a virtue I dismissed as something that applied to “those religious types” who were brought up in the Church. I conjured up every reason imaginable to excuse myself from its demands. I told myself that purity was abnormal, and I settled for living a life that deadened me within. I saw the way that our Lord was calling, but I ran away.
Now, many years later (and three days away from my wedding!) I recognize that I’m marrying my best friend because God opened my eyes to the value of purity.
This awakening happened in 2008 when I met Nadia and Mike, as they were preparing for their wedding. Nadia was everything I thought the “typical Church girl” to be. At the time, I was immersed in the world and was battling to accept myself and my struggles with purity. I was afraid of being judged, and so I never opened up to anyone. However, Nadia embraced me with a hug, and her welcome was telling of the love that exists in the Church. I remember their joy, their laughter, and their love. Every judgement I made was proven false, and I could not deny the reality of God’s love or the joy of purity. Experiencing their wedding was like witnessing a sign of Divine love. I realized the secret to their love and joy—and the reason for all their laughter—was their united surrender to our Lord.
I left the Church in tears. For the first time I was aware of the fruits of life in Christ and the wounds within caused by my sin. It was after their wedding that my journey with God really began.
It was not easy and it did not happen overnight. It took work and sacrifice to embrace chastity. There were tears and many more falls to come. But in 2010, everything changed for good. I committed myself to purity. I discovered the Theology of the Body and the beauty of confession. Everything dead inside gradually came alive again. I discovered that God’s love did not vanish despite my shortcomings and sins.
Now, as I approach the altar with a joy-filled heart, united to my fiancé, I feel a responsibility to share the message of chastity. My hope and prayer is that my wedding day might be a sign to others of God’s love in the world.
Love is not expressed by the one who desires only to hold you, but by the one who strives to uphold your purity.
Pure love reveals our true worth and beauty in God. It’s worth every sacrifice. Love is not expressed by the one who desires only to hold you, but by the one who strives to uphold your purity. Chastity allows us to experience joy that surpasses a physical touch. It is the outpouring of God’s love, enabling us to recognize human love in the way that our Lord intends for each of His children.
May all of you struggling with purity allow God to win your hearts as he won mine.
Catherine Ciarallo is a full-time Public Middle School educator and teaches Catechism at St.Marguerite d’Youville Parish in the Archdiocese of Toronto. She enjoys giving presentations on chastity and sharing the beauty of the faith through her blog entitled Sacred Sharings for The Soul.