I have a few answers up my sleeve for when I am asked: ‘So, what do you do?’ One is, I am a free-lance motivational speaker. Another is, I teach Sex and Relationship Education and a final answer (that I use the least) is that I am a chastity speaker. I use that answer the least because it gets the most awkward response! There are several reasons for this.
The first is that I don’t think many people know what I mean. For most people the word chastity sounds odd, super religious & outdated, or even worse judgemental and unrealistic. When I have the opportunity to explain that Chastity is the virtue (characteristic) to help us to love and be loved, as we desire to love and be loved, then it starts to become slightly more appealing! But that’s not the point that I want to focus on.
A second challenge in being a chastity speaker is chastity! Chastity is connected to sexual purity and we live a world that does not understand or value this virtue. I would even say that our culture doesn’t believe that it is possible. Therefore, many young people that I speak to about chastity and saving sex for marriage, have already accepted the culture’s spin on things and have had sexual relationships. So, a second challenge is ‘why bother? Isn’t it too late for most teenagers?’
I want to answer the second challenge ‘why bother?’ by addressing the third challenge, which is this: How do I proclaim the love of God through the message of chastity? The reason that I bother with this work, is because when it is done well, I am able to share God’s unconditional, perfect, healing love with another person. In speaking about chastity, I am aiming to stir up the questions of the human heart: ‘What are you looking for? How do you want to be loved and how do you want to love?’ In speaking about chastity, I am able to invite people to reflect on their lives and to consider how their relationships and experiences correspond to the deepest desire of their hearts. ‘Are you finding what you’re looking for, in the relationships that you are in?’
I was telling someone recently that I give talks on chastity and we discussed the challenge of ensuring that the love and mercy of God comes through above everything else … The guy I was talking to said this great thing: “We think that Jesus came to make us good, but he came to make us happy!” I really liked that, because I think it’s true. We may think that Jesus came to make us good and that only when we are good will he love and accept us. The problem is, it is hard to be good and the truth is, that we are already loved, just as we are – good or not good! The message of chastity is that the love that we so desperately seek is ultimately God’s love – and it is possible to receive it through a relationship with God’s Son – Jesus Christ. When I came to know this love, then I wanted to be good; not to keep the rules, but to find happiness!
So for me, this is the greatest challenge: to let people know that they are deeply and eternally loved! Every time I give a talk I don’t want people to hear a demand to keep the rules, but an invitation to a life-giving relationship – A relationship with Jesus Christ that enables our hearts to say ‘Yes! I have found the love that I have been looking for’.
Fiona is the founder of Pure in Heart in the UK. She has a BA in Theology and Religious studies and has undertaken courses at the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia.