Last week, we had the great joy of having Dawn Eden speak on “Living to Love: Why Chastity is Key” (see her speaking above in Basingstoke). I hadn’t read her book, The Thrill of the Chaste, but I bought it yesterday and am already halfway through it.
Dawn’s speaking and writing on this subject is deeply inspiring. And can I tell you what I love most? A lot of chastity material is geared towards young people in their teens and early twenties. There are some amazingly effective speakers and authors such as Jason and Crystalina Evert who reach out in attractive ways to this audience. But what about the generation above? What about their parents, or young adults in their late twenties and thirties? Even seminarians, priests, religious? Few of us have been untouched by our hyper-sexualised culture.
What is refreshing about Dawn’s work is that it emphasises that chastity is for everyone. Many of us are working with young people and have to present the message of chastity in relationships in our Confirmation programmes (for example, session 19 in the TIC programme). And yet, Dawn encouraged us yesterday that we have to first of all know deeply what chastity means for ourselves. In our daily lives as married or single people. This is not something we simply encourage young people in. It is a virtue that every single one of us – whether a bishop or a teenager! – needs to appropriate deeply as we grow to become more like Christ. (There is an interview with Dawn by the Catholic Herald that explores this more deeply.)
I was challenged and encouraged by this message. As I am readingThe Thrill of the Chaste, I am asking the Holy Spirit to increase in me the beautiful virtue of purity of heart. I warmly encourage you to buy Dawn’s book and discover this message for yourself.