How much does our faith cost us? What and how much are we willing to sacrifice for God? Sacrifice in the true sense of the term. What are we willing to make sacred? It is true, there are Christians who come to give their lives in so many parts of the world, but not us in the West (at least for now). There are Muslims who accept so many precepts and prohibitions. That they do not eat certain foods, that do not drink alcohol, that fast during the month of Ramadan. We are often not even able to respect Lent fasting. Luisa recounts how she was raised by a Moroccan pupil who in the summer, during the eighth grade exam, did not drink and eat and never complained about anything. We can’t do that anymore. Not even these little waivers. We’ve softened. Of course there is always the risk that a religiosity made of rules and precepts will turn into something only external, something to do to feel good without changing the heart. The question I asked at the beginning remains: what hard are we willing to do for God? Are we able to “pay” something or do we want a zero-cost faith? A zero-cost faith is probably worth what it costs, that is, nothing. Even our faith actually, if we think about it, “imposes” on us of relinches. We don’t remember them because we don’t want to remember them, but they are there. I can think of two in particular. Two waivers that touch on two very similar areas. One, I have already mentioned, is Lent fasting. The other is about sex. Chastity! Help that word out of fashion! Chastity before marriage (abstinence) and chastity after marriage (living the ampleino in the truth of love). Living a sexuality that is an expression of authentic love and not of a simple drive to satisfy, that perhaps we embellish with love. Two waivers, food and sex, which are not ends in themselves. Through these demands God the Father and Mother Church want to educate her children, each of us. Educate us to be people who are aware, fully human and capable of being kings and queens of our lives and impulses. How can we give ourselves if we don’t own each other? How can we give our sexuality and our bodies if we ourselves do not govern them but suffer them? God does not ask us to give up something for Him, but to sacrifice something, that is, to make it his own. Our sacrificed sexuality becomes something really wonderful, because lived in the light of full and true love. So chastity will not be something castatal but will become educating. By struggling we can really learn to put the other and his good at the center and not our ego and our cravings. Then abstinence from relationships before marriage will become a channel to express all our desire and attraction to the other in selfless and free gestures of tenderness, which will then become very important during the marriage. The man (more regards the man this danger) who does not get used to exercising tenderness out of the sexual context then in marriage will do the same, making soon feel his bride used. The sexual desert soon makes it to arrive (as it happens for many married couples). Premarital chastity is the true test of love. Many young people ask for proof of love: if you really love me, let us make love. My bride asked me for another proof of love: if you really love me, let’s wait for the wedding. I assure you it cost me a lot, but I never regretted it. Those who practice chastity are willing to give up their strong desire to sexually join each other for something greater. He’s telling the other one I want you everything, I don’t just want your body. All or nothing. Love is like that. At least the real one. When we are one in my heart, when I have given you my whole life in the forever of the marriage then I will also want your body because only then will I be worthy of such a precious gift. Only then will I enter my garden as a king, as a queen and not as a thief who takes something that does not belong to him. God does not ask us for a sterile effort, if he asks for himself something of ours is to give it back even greater and more beautiful. So is chastity. It takes our sexuality and makes it a way to feel like people are full, to feel completely loved and to experience paradise. Many have sex, few make love, Christian spouses re-actualize a sacrament. It’s not the same thing. Trust.
Antonio and Luisa