Friday, March 26, 2010

Teenage Girl's Rule of Life part 3

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak to the 8th-grade girls in our confirmation class.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 Is here.

3. A second priority is taking care of your bodies. The Catholic church teaches:

CCC 364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit.

So let’s unpack that a little bit. The human body has dignity because it is made in the image of God. The Body is beautiful, complex, funny and versatile. And isn’t that just like God? Look at God’s creation and we can see a complex nature that is interdependent on itself, and great beauty with the simplicity and complexity of a snow flake, the versatility of the seasons and yet fun and mirth like the sea waves or morning dew. Look at each other – you are all beautiful young ladies, funny, complex and versatile! And you all are imaging God for each other.

And I can tell from looking at each of you that I don’t have to tell you to make good choices when taking care of your bodies. Eat good foods, foods that you will enjoy but will also give you energy and make your body work well and if you don’t think you eat the best then try to learn to enjoy foods that are good for you and pretty soon your tastes will change. And along with prayer, find time for exercise, walking, running, videos at home, take a class or find a sport that you can enjoy. As much as we want to be in heaven some day don’t push it! Living to a ripe old age is a blessing in itself but you’ll enjoy it more if you have a good body to grow old in! So start making those habits now.

Now, your bodies are different than the guys over there. That too is the way God made us. I would say that in many ways your bodies show God’s special love and attention because all of you are designed to nurture, to love, to bring new life into the world, to comfort. Even your physiology is like a well orchestrated ballet of chemicals and hormones that give you your menstrual cycle each month. It’s all a perfect balance. And to see you with your strong bodies, womanly curves, hips and breasts, it is all a wonderful thing and beautiful. The greatest artists in the world from the beginning of time have tried to capture and honor the beauty of femininity.

I promise you ladies, the guys haven’t missed this. They have their own complex physiology as well and as a married woman with four sons let me explain them to you for a few minutes – guys are simple creatures! Wonderful, strong, handsome, noble – but their wants and needs are very simple. They want to be recognized and praised for a job well done. They want to eat good food, and they would like to have sex. And this isn’t a bad thing. This is how God keeps human kind moving forward and growing. But with the fall of Adam and Eve and the introduction of original sin all three of those needs can become perversions and sinful. The executive who undercuts rivals and ruthlessly pursues riches and glory to feel successful, gluttony and overeating, but especially the perversion of sexuality.

In modern times, I would say that sexuality is probably the most difficult desire for young men to control, and our Catholic Faith – the faith preserved and handed down by God, has some high standards. A guy can just be sitting there, not thinking anything but one sexual image, or one sexual word can totally take his entire focus.

So ladies, help the men in your lives, in your school, place of work, church, and community to live their commitments to be strong in Christ by practicing modesty in the way that you dress.

CCC 2521 Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

I had a friend who is the father of 8 who had his four B’s of modesty and these are the areas of your body that you particularly need to dress modestly – Belly, butt, breasts, and back. Nothing too tight, and no areas of skin showing. When a guy sees a girl’s body, particularly those areas, he thinks about sex, or he tries NOT to think about sex, but when he’s trying NOT to think about sex he’s not giving 100% to the things he should be thinking about. But more importantly if you want a man to see you as the beautiful image of God that you are, and not as a sex object then it’s important that you dress with the dignity that God intended for your body and dress appropriately for where you are. Now, I’m not saying you can’t wear a modest bathing suit to the beach, or wear workout clothes for a run etc., but maybe a sun dress isn’t the best choice for mass or school, and maybe your formal dress for the school dance shouldn’t show any cleavage or you’re belly button. All of those send the wrong messages to boys.

1 Timothy 2:9 - "And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes."

Isn’t it funny how the clothes with the least amount of material cost the most? Girls dress for other girls surprisingly but don’t try to be skimpier than the next girl.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

1 Peter 3:3-4 - "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

It’s one thing to say you are a Catholic Christian, that you are “in it “ for Christ, but actions speak louder than words and one way to stand apart and to stand up for Christ is by the way you dress and dressing with modesty is one of those ways.

Purity requires modesty.
2518 The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."307 "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity;308 chastity or sexual rectitude;309beign correct in judgement or procedure. love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.310 There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith:

2519 The "pure in heart" are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him.312 Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as "neighbors"; it lets us perceive the human body - ours and our neighbor's - as a temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine beauty.

I think that is one of the best paragraphs in the whole catechism – if you practice purity – keeping your heart pure through living in truth and chastity – you will be able to see as God wants you to see. I think that is a mind blowing revelation. To see according to God…
I think this time in history is really, really difficult for young people when it comes to living chastely. There seems to be a presumption in our culture that teenagers will have sex. That it is all inevitable. T.V; shows now have common ads for birth control! And shows and comedies make it seem that if you’ve dated a guy five or six times you’re pretty much expected to have sex with him. Ladies, it’s not true. It never has been true. It’s all a lie.
God designed the intimacy of the sex act for the pleasure of the man and woman and equally for the conception of children. When you have sex you are saying to that other person with your body, I am completely yours and you are completely mine! You can’t say that at 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 years of age. You can’t really say that until you are married. And yes, I know that when you are in love with a young man it feels as if this will be forever and you may feel as if you want to give that part of yourself to him, but unless you are married you don’t have any promises before God and witnesses of a life together and your sexuality isn’t yours to give and his isn’t yours to take. And further, if you aren’t ready to be a mom you’re not ready to have sex. Because of that total self giving is that the love is so great between the man and a woman that it might actually present itself as a child. And maybe with that idea, the idea that in sexual intercourse the couple are in a complete act of total self donation, that birth control is a lie and abortion really is murder.

I applaud the young lady last night who gave her witness and was able to tell two guys who wanted to have sex with her outside of marriage no. That took a lot of self-respect and some courage. I would encourage all of you to do the same Keep out of situations that might put you in that position. Don’t be in private places alone with a young man, keep control of your senses (drinking and drugs) dress appropriately, and don’t get started with kissing, French kissing, petting. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 St. Paul in his epistle tells us to flee fornication (sex before marriage) That means run away, stay away, not get up as close to the line as you possibly can without falling over. In this way you protect your heart, you protect your body, maybe you are protecting a young man’s error in judgment, and possibly your yet to be conceived children.






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