How Far is Too Far?

When attraction might be fatal…

How far is too far? We might easily have entitled this short article ‘The Courage to be Chaste’. Chastity is an unfashionable concept today. But all it means is the right-ordering of our sexuality. Who would not want to have a rightly-ordered sexuality?

But we can go too far precisely because of our attraction to members of the opposite sex. The first thing to remember is that sexuality is good. God created it. Don’t let anyone ever convince you that the Church has got hang-ups about sex. Sex is wonderful. But it needs to be seen in an appropriate context, otherwise it will lead to deep unhappiness and instability, even if this might not seem obvious at first.

Many people today think that sexual relationships, even with multiple partners, bring untold happiness. However, this is not the case. How many people do you know in this situation who are settled down, and at peace? Mutual attraction and desire is one thing; acting it out is quite another.

In patient expectation and preparation

If we have a daily desire to glorify God with our bodies, as St Paul encourages us to have (1 Corinthians 6,20), then it will become clearer to us that those bodies are not to be used cheaply.

Tender signs of physical affection can quite easily escalate into passionate embraces that have no place outside the context of marriage. This is not the Church dictating from on high; rather, Christ wants us to love one another in a way that glorifies him. At times this may be hard, especially when we are truly in love with someone.

Imagine though your future husband or wife whom you have not yet met. Ask yourself the question – would I like him or her to be carousing with someone else in preparation for meeting me? If the answer to that question is ‘no’, then that is because deep down we know that the glorification of God rests in doing his will with courage and patience.

We are all so precious, yet fragile too. We owe it to ourselves to allow God to look after us and prepare us for that moment when we meet our future husband or wife. Realise that he has a loving plan for you. He will fulfil your desires, if you are patient and take everything to prayer. Speak too with those you can really trust. Perhaps a priest or someone who has made a vow or promise of consecration to God. They will help you discuss these things which are – quite rightly –  pretty sensitive.

So glorify God with your body, because he is most certainly looking after you.