Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Battle Plan - Conclusion

So I have come to the final post in this series about giving the perfect gift!

As a recap, here are some strategies to help you in your relationship to reserve sexual relations until marriage and to best love your beloved:

And now, the final--and most important--strategy:

Strategy #10: If you want to love, go to the One who is Love
You don’t have to do this alone.  In fact, let me rephrase that: you can’t do this on your own.

To live a life of purity and to truly love necessitates knowing the very source and origin of love.  You and your beloved care about each other a great deal and probably know each other pretty well.  But God knows you even better and loves you infinitely.

Sexual relations outside of marriage harms your relationship with your beloved, but even graver is the damage it does to your relationship with God.  So, while you are trying to give the perfect gift, don’t neglect the repair needed in your relationship with your Creator.

First, develop true sorrow, or contrition, for your past wrongdoings.  Realize that your actions deeply offended the one who loves you the very most.  Think about the countless gifts God has given to you—your very life, your beautiful body, your relationship with your beloved—and the ways you may have misused these.  Remember your past sins with sadness because you recognize now that your actions divided you from Love itself.

Once you have this sorrow, be reconciled to God.  If you are a Catholic, go to the sacrament of Confession.  In this tremendous gift, you admit your wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness.  God, in His abundant mercy, wipes away the dark stain of sin on your soul.  The wall that you had built between you and God crumbles immediately through the power of the sacrament.  The light of grace, once blocked by the darkness of sin, floods your soul with new brilliance.  From this, you receive grace and renewed strength to fight to give the perfect gift.

The closer you approach the one who is Love, the more you will be able to truly love your beloved.  Turn to God in prayer as you and your beloved seek to give the perfect gift.  Mother Teresa once said, "Purity is the fruit of prayer."  When you are tempted, ask God to come to your assistance. 

Develop spiritual intimacy with your beloved.  The reason God calls some people to marriage is because that man and woman need each other to grow in holiness and virtue and, hopefully, to one day enter heaven.  Your spouse is your stairway into heaven.  But if you and your spouse never talk about God, how can that happen? 

Pray together.  If you feel uncomfortable, start with basic prayers (like the Our Father).  Read a book about the spiritual life together and use that as a way to initiate a conversation.  Attend Mass together on Sunday. 

On your wedding day, you make a vow to your beloved before friends and family, but most of all before God.  Don’t make a vow before someone who is a stranger to you or, even worse, someone from whom you are estranged due to serious sin. 

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the greatest image of love—it is a complete, total, permanent, and life-giving gift.  To give the perfect gift to your beloved, you need God.  

Love Him first and Love will show you the way.

"Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love." ~ Blessed Pope John Paul II

"When you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph." ~ St. Josemaria Escriva

Also helpful:

Chris & I read Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World while we were dating and it was a tremendous source of wisdom and guidance for us.  

Check out, particularly their Q & A section, which is very in-depth.

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