Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chastity is not the "in" thing to do — "and that is why it is so interesting! "
I speak to NRO on the Church's countercultural witness

National Review Online today features a new interview with me by Kathryn Jean Lopez in which I share the message of the new Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste: "Understanding the Catholic Church's 'Yes.'" Here is a taste:

LOPEZ: Why would people even want to read about chastity? It doesn’t seem to be the in thing to do.

EDEN: No, chastity doesn’t seem like the “in” thing to do at all — and that is why it is so interesting! The media and their advertisers press on us from all sides, trying to sell us on no-strings sex and voyeurism, instructing us on how to objectify ourselves and others. “Sex sells” used to be a catchy adage, but at this point, we as a culture have become sated with sex. It has become a drug just like any other drug, giving a temporary high that leaves us lower than we were before.

Fulton J. Sheen called this state of disillusioned satedness “black grace” — a kind of “fed-upness” that could open the way for the “white grace” of conversion. In my experience, there are many, many people who have bought into the lies of the sexual revolution, seeking love through sex, only to experience the darkness of this black grace. If the truth of chastity is presented to them in its fullness — as a way to learn how to truly love and be loved — then they will be open to hearing it. If they then begin to implement it in their lives, they will be transformed. I know, because that is what happened to me.

Please do check out the entire interview and share it with friends. The breadth and depth of Kathryn's questions help make for the best interview I've done yet. One more snippet:

LOPEZ: What is the best-kept secret you refer to, about what the Church teaches about sex? How is it a secret? How can it be tweeted about? By which I mean, how can we better communicate it?

EDEN: The best-kept secret is that our sexuality — not just our genital activity, but everything we do — is designed to demonstrate and concretize divine love, a love that is necessarily creative. In marital love, that creativity includes pro-creativity, but that’s not the whole of it. For we aren’t all called to marriage, and our call to share in divine love doesn’t stop at marriage.

What I am trying to say is that every act of love is necessarily embodied, and that means that our sexuality — that is, our created sex as man or woman — always matters. I don’t love my mother and father as their “it”; I love them as their daughter. When I visit a friend in the intensive-care unit, I don’t wash off my identity as a woman when I sanitize myself at the door. No, I love that friend as a woman. Not by being girlish, not by wearing pink, not by telling stories of my daily life with “all the details” that make men’s eyes glaze over. No, I love as a woman because I love with the love that God gives me, in the body that he gives me.

That is what sexuality is about. It is creative because it comes from the Creator, who not only created me, but re-created me in Christ — and still does, every day. Deo gratias!

Dear friends, please spread this good news far and wide! Thank you, and God bless y ou!

Photo by Ron Sartini