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By Dr. Sandra Nabachwa
‘Scandal destroys faith’ said Pope Francis in one of his homilies. Is sexual immorality a scandal? Let us think about it. The world view of sexuality has changed so much that today you find many people who do not even know what sexual immorality is. We need to remind ourselves constantly.
“One common scandal is to say that one is Christian yet continue living like a pagan” the pope went on to say. “When a Christian man or a Christian woman, who goes to church, is part of the parish, does not live in this way, they cause scandal. How often have we heard men and women say: ' I do not go to church because it is better to be honest at home and not go to church like that man or woman who then does this, this, this ...'”, he said. When I reflect upon the words of the Pope, I think that one of the things we do that scandalize others is living a sexually immoral life. Some people cover this up by avoiding getting pregnant since this is an obvious sign that one is sexually active. They end up using contraceptives including emergency contraceptive pills (which many times cause early abortions) and resorting to abortion when these fail.
‘To thine own self, be true’ said Shakespeare. Avoid living a double life. When you are true to yourself, you experience true interior freedom.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls upon the laity to proclaim the Word of Christ to the world by the witness of their lives. It also calls upon all followers of Christ, the model of all chastity, to live chastely in keeping with their particular states of life. Among God’s commandments is a call to living a life of sexual purity. “You shall not commit adultery” in Ex 20:14. One wonders if living sexual purity is practical in this day and age yet 1 Jn 5:3 says “This is what the love of God is: keeping his commandments”.
St. Paul appeals to the Corinthians in 1Cor 6: 18 “Keep away from sexual immorality. All other sins that people may commit are done outside the body but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body”. Sometimes we are tempted to omit some texts from the bible which are so clear to us, we want to pretend they do not exist. St. Augustine however says “If you believe what you like in the gospel and reject what you do not like, it is not the gospel you believe but yourself”. This is a direct invitation to embrace even those things that seem very difficult and are so demanding.
Tips to living sexual purity
Sexuality is something we have to live with 24 hours of the day hence it is extremely important that we know how to deal with this precious gift of God in a healthy manner, so that we may be happy sexual beings. How?
• Acknowledge sexual urges but do not promote them; have conscious control
• Direct your energy into healthy and acceptable activity
• Know the dynamics of temptation and be keen to avoid them
• Watch your thoughts. Physical chastity is an expression of mental chastity. You become what you think
• Keep high moral standards. Who would want to test out the fatal consequences of poison by swallowing it? Wise people learn from their mistakes, wiser ones learn from others’ mistakes.
• Watch your weaknesses; what do I do, see or read that leads me into seen
• Beware of media bombardment; must you watch it all? Is it helpful?
• Pray, pray, pray. Spend time reading scripture, spiritual books and self-help books. Try to emulate the saints especially the Uganda Martyrs