Friday, August 21, 2015

More than a rule

Image from Etsy.
I am always pleased when celebrities speak for chastity, because it gives the virtue a popularity boost, if you know what I mean. But I've always had the feeling that something crucial is missing in such stories. For one, the tone in which they are written sounds like they're saying: "It's so unusual that people still follow this rule lol." I guess we can credit them for trying, but chastity is more than a "rule."

Missing thing #1 - It's not just for singles
In the media, it seems only singles are qualified to be chaste. In reality, it doesn't mean that when you get married, chastity flies out the window. Chastity is a virtue for life; it is important for everyone whether they are single or married. It is not exclusive to singles and the religious.

Married people are chaste when they treat sex as it should be: a gift that unifies the couple that should be open to life, exclusive, and self-giving.

Missing thing #2 - It's not just "no sex"
Another media treatment I notice is that "no sex" is considered the only qualification for chastity. In truth, for a person to have the virtue, he should be chaste in thoughts, words, and actions. It should shine from a person's very being. Even one's choice in clothing should be a result of living chastity. Modesty is not called the "little sister" of chastity for nothing.

Missing thing #3 - It's not just for Christians
Frankly, I get annoyed when the media point out that celebrities who promote chastity are Christian, as if it's only for Christians. Chastity is for everybody because it is a virtue. No person is exempt from having certain virtues just because they don't practice some religion.

Love better, live better
Chastity is one of those virtues that sets the tone or creates a foundation for other virtues to develop. If a person practices chastity, he finds it easier to practice so many other virtues: self-mastery, modesty, thinking of the others, charity, patience, generosity, responsibility, respect... without chastity, all these virtues fall flat, much like having beautiful, expensive furniture but in a room that is very dirty.

More than a rule, chastity is a quality that takes struggle and discipline to acquire, but once you start fighting to have it, it disposes you to love better. You just love better because you respect the other person, you are willing to wait for the right time, you are open to life, and you wholeheartedly commit yourself to this person (and to your would-be children)--till death do you part.

Just because "not many people practice it anymore" doesn't mean chastity should be treated like a funny abnormal thing. On the contrary, it is a very beautiful thing, something everyone must work hard for, because it leads to true happiness.

"The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort."-Confucius

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Writing to fashion magazines

Writeshop Part 2
Influencing Public Opinion
Humanizing Fashion
September 26, 2015, 2-5pm
Calayan Cultural Center

I'm inviting women young professionals (or any lady who likes to read fashion magazines and wants to promote modesty) to attend this talk we are organizing. We want to teach readers to write feedback letters to the media in order to help change the culture, even in a small way. 

Besides the "Humanizing Fashion" talk by Alou de Asis, there will be a practical workshop on writing letters. Learn how to compose letters that get your entire message across, and to make it diplomatic if what you want to say is a correction or criticism.

As media consumers, we have the right to say what we like to see or read about. So, come to our talk and find out how we can say what we think in the best way possible!

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."-Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Convoluted Feminism

What a lovely woman! Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk on being feminist is quite captivating. It's a real eye-opener to hear of the way African women are regarded as "lower" than men, even to the point that they are not believed to be capable to earning their own money.

While I do agree with her wholeheartedly that we, indeed, should all be feminists, I feel it must be reiterated that men and women are equal in dignity, but they are different in many ways. For one, men and women think differently: men look at the big picture, women look at the details; in meeting other people, men focus on credentials, women focus on connections. Those are just some general differences.

So it really shouldn't be a surprise that there are activities that are considered "men's work" or "women's work." They are just what we naturally gravitate to. Men are asked to do "men's work" (cleaning the car, carrying heavy objects) because their bodies are stronger; women are asked to do "women's work" (sewing, cooking, cleaning) because they notice the little things better. And just because we have these social expectations that men and women do these specific things, it shouldn't stop people from trying their hand at the other sex's "specific" task. Men can cook, and women can fix cars, if they want--that's really just a matter of choice.

I want to emphasize that we are different, and that's a jolly good thing! Adichie's feminism is great--she wants to create a world where women are seen as capable individuals, who can support themselves and be good citizens, without having to give up their femininity. We women do not have to dress up like men to be taken seriously. We can wear a pretty dress and accessorize (like Adichie's very dignified style in the video) and be taken seriously, as a person whose opinion matters.

What I don't understand is that these days most feminists forget that our femininity is not just about wearing lipstick or floral frocks. Our femininity is in our biological makeup, too; particularly, in our ability to get pregnant.

I get really confused with this logic: feminists (particularly those who sparked the sexual revolution in the 1960's) more often than not demand that women must be like men sexually: that is to say, we must have the "right" to sleep with whomever we want without "being punished with a baby." This is the reason behind all that gab about the Pill, condoms, IUDs, and whatever-have-yous that they invented. They just want to stop women's bodies from doing the natural feminine thing.

I am reacting to this video because I found it funny for a feminist to mention that it was unfair that women are expected to be chaste, but men are not. Why would it be a bad thing for society to expect women to be chaste? What I think is really wrong with this picture is not that society expects women to be chaste, but rather that it doesn't expect men to be!

Consider this: nobody goes around saying that women should be patient but men don't have to be. Or that men should be diligent but women need not be. This is further proof that we are equal: virtue is equally demanded of both sexes.

I think the kind of feminism people should have is not one that tries to make women more like men using a convoluted concept of equality. Women's equality with men is in the fact that they have the same dignity as human beings. Beyond that, women and men are different but complimentary, and any effort to equalize them by removing femininity (or masculinity) from the picture is just pointless.

"The woman who thinks she can choose femininity, can toy with it like the social drinker toys with wine--well, she's asking for it, asking to be undone, devoured, asking to spend her life perpetrating a new fraud, manufacturing a new fake identity, only this time it's her equality that's fake."-Rachel Cusk

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Quick tips for Guys: Relationship Rules of Thumb

I know you guys don't like reading long stuff so this will be quick. Here are a few pointers to help ease that daunting task of finding the right girl.

1) Date only the girl you can see as your girlfriend. Make friends with a lot of girls, but ask out the one you feel is the one whose hand you want to hold.

2) Go steady only with the girl you can see as your wife. As you get to know your date more, you can think seriously on asking her to be your girlfriend only if you want her to be the one you will grow old with.

3) Marry only the woman you can love as a sister. Sounds weird, but let me explain. The big difference between courtship and marriage is that marriage is the next step in a loving relationship: it includes giving of the self in order to become one and to have kids. Okay, so maybe some people will tell you otherwise, but you can't deny that this is the natural and basic thing. SO, if you can love that woman for her whole being, without thinking of sex; if you can love her with a will to protect her as you would your mother or your sister, then she may just be the right girl.

I use "may" because these pointers are here only to help you when you're thinking things through. As in every thing, pray hard about it before making the next step. Love is not just about feelings; most of the time, the feelings are only there at the start. To love is a decision, so you have to make it with your full will, with faith, and with perseverance. It may sound difficult here, but it's not when you put your heart in the right place and keep it pure.

Good luck! :-)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

10 things on chastity

Photo from Jason and Crystalina Evert's FB page.
On the first week of September, Jason and Crystalina Evert were here in the Philippines for a series of talks that highlighted different aspects of living the virtue of chastity, from dating to marriage, even up to teaching it to kids. Their highly popular seminar series, Romance without Regret, has helped a lot of teens understand their true worth, and how to really find true love in this day and age. I was fortunate to catch their talk for young professionals, Better Together: The Path to Real Love.

This talk focused on how men and women are different when it comes to love, attraction, and affection. They gave some pointers on how to find the right person to marry, and how to save your marriage before you tie the knot. Here are 10 things they said that I want to share.

1. Chastity is not a denial, but a virtue that helps a man love a woman. Because men’s minds are wired differently, Jason says that romantic love poses a different kind of struggle for men. Men are very visual; hence, it’s so easy for them to mix up love with lust. But chastity helps a man let go of the latter and seize the former by teaching him to put his wants aside for the benefit of his beloved. Quoting from the Song of Songs, Jason asserts that “If I cannot adequately love a woman as a sister, I utterly cannot love her as a bride.” This is the standard of chaste love.

2. Chastity gives power to a woman to know if she’s authentically being loved. On the other end of the spectrum, chastity helps women because by living this virtue, a lady can find out if her young man really loves her. There are other ways of showing affection, and if a man goes out of his way to do that, even sacrificing his own wants, then the woman can better see that this guy is really something.

3. Women nowadays hardly make it easy to be pure. An honest comment from a guy. Jason points out that the way women dress can make or break a man’s commitment to chastity. Now, some may argue that “It’s my body; I can dress it up the way I want to, and it doesn’t EVER mean I’m asking for it.” Chill. The truth is, “It’s your body, so you have the responsibility to dress it up in a way that helps people live a little better.” When you see things, it’s difficult to un-see. When you imagine things, it’s difficult to un-imagine. For guys who want to live chastity but have these images stuck in their head, Jason suggests giving love to the immodestly dressed girls (and girls who pose in racy magazines) by saying a prayer for them.

4. If I couldn’t respect my own body, how could he? In connection to dressing appropriately, Crystalina says that the way girls dress and the way they act around the guys set the bar on how they want to be treated. If a girl respects herself, the guys will see it and give her that respect. If a girl obviously doesn’t care, then it sets the stage, kind of like giving permission, for the guys to act like jerks around her.

5. You should never have to lower your standards. Know what you want in a man. After sharing her own story, Crystalina suggests that girls write down everything that they want in a man. If a guy does not qualify, don’t waste your time. Believe that the right guy is out there for you; and he will have all those qualities you want in a man. Meantime, work on being the right girl.

6. Conversion—give that gift to yourself. It may seem like a very hard thing to do (and it is!), but if you haven’t been living in the way you know you ought you should, it’s time to get up and go. Crystalina shares the story of her conversion: when she finally decided to change from her “party girl” lifestyle, she made a long list of all the things she did—and filled up five pages back to back! Then she went to confession, read all the things she wrote in there, and said them to the priest. Afterwards, she felt so good being able to crumple the five pages and toss them in the garbage bin. Conversion is really a gift—but you have to find the strength to take it.

7. Guys should initiate love. They should act decisively. Don’t be a wimp and pop the question! If a guy likes a girl, he should man up and say so. Seek her out. Make friends with her. Ask her out. Girls get crushes all the time, but they don’t really fall in love that easily. So guys have to make it happen—they have to initiate love. Remember the fox in The Little Prince? Girls are like the fox: they have to be tamed. A wimp who keeps it all to himself should feel sorry if she meets someone else and is lost to him forever.

8. We’re really different—it’s beautiful! Men and women are different, but complementary; meaning, the weakness of one is made up for by the other. So, don’t worry if he doesn’t remember the outfit you wore the first day you met, or if she doesn’t think Metallica is the coolest band that ever ruled the airwaves. These differences are what make relationships interesting. What really matters is you two should agree when it comes to the most important things (such as values and beliefs, life philosophies).

9. Freedom exists for love. I know that some people think chastity and freedom don’t jibe. How can you say you have freedom if you can’t…? But true freedom means choosing to do what is right—the right things may sometimes entail self-sacrifice, but this will be good for you in the end because it won’t put you in a bad position. If you live this kind of freedom, you will be able to love with full integrity.

10. Chastity is not killing your desire but setting it ablaze. This is about truly loving somebody! If you live chastity, you forget yourself, you put all the love into caring for the well-being of your beloved. And that love, because it is not based on physical attractions but on a determined will, grows to be stronger, fuller. It becomes true love!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Homosexuality and chastity

The other night, as My Husband’s Lover was running on the boob tube, my sisters asked me for my stand on “same-sex marriage.” I said I am against it, but I wasn’t able to explain it very well. So let me use this chastity blog as a venue to do so.

Let me start by saying that people who have same sex attraction did not choose to have them. Nobody knows the cause of homosexuality; but studies point to nurture rather than nature (i.e., there is no gay gene). Though same sex attraction occurs, it is not normal. If it were, then there would be more people who were gay, say at least 50 percent of the population.

Now, my main objection against marriage between two men (or two women) stems from the need to live a pure life. A virtue that teaches each individual to love, chastity is for all: single people, married people, straight and gay people. Living chastity means loving without lusting, and respecting the body and soul of the beloved. That’s why single people are called to wait till marriage, and married people are called to fidelity and openness to life. It’s simply the way to love without being selfish, and it’s the only way that leads to happiness because it does not create complications, because it helps each person live in integrity.

People with same-sex attraction are called to living this very same chastity. It is harder, because the person they love is automatically off-limits. But, come to think of it, this is the same struggle that even straight people face. You can’t have just anybody—relationships should be founded on a true and right love. Common knowledge: If a woman falls in love with a married man, she has to squelch that love because the man is off-limits. If a man falls in love with a nun, he has to squelch that love too, because the woman is off-limits.

I’ve tried explaining this to a friend once; she asked, “If that’s the case, won’t it be dooming them to live a life of never finding happiness and true love?” Not really, because if the relationship is not based on a true and right love, and if it doesn’t let you live the virtue of chastity, then it’s doomed not to last anyway—where’s the happiness and true love in that? I type the rest of the conversation for rumination.

“Why would it be wrong if they love each other anyhow and their love is sincere?”
“In the end, people want to have long and lasting love, and to get that, it takes more than love being mutual and sincere.”
“My gay best friend has long lasting relationships naman.”
“How long?”
“The last one was three years.”

In another post, we can talk about legalizing “same-sex marriage” and its implications.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jason and Crystalina Evert

Can we get any luckier than this?

You're invited to attend and ask all the questions you need. These guys are really good speakers, on top of the fact that they give really good advice, especially on matters of love, relationships, chastity, and marriage. Taralet's!