Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series: Chastity

Find out what the Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series is all about!

The Virtue of Chastity is not an easy one to approach with our teens. However, after discussing modesty last week, it seems fitting that chastity be the next virtue to discuss. To be chaste is to aim to be pure. Next to modesty, chastity is likely the most ignored of the virtues, and not just by teens and young adults.

Chastity is considered one of the seven heavenly virtues in the Catholic faith. And it’s not just about being pure. It’s not even about not having sex. That’s abstinence. Chastity is about seeing our sexual selves in the way that God created us. For the sake of this learning series, I’ll be discussing chastity in unmarried teens and young adults. Although it would certainly relate to all unmarried people.

In our overly sexual culture, promiscuity and deviant sexual interactions is considered cool, and it’s promoted in the media and in our society. It’s become extremely difficult to teach our children Christian values when it comes to relationships. In contrast, being chaste is treated as embarrassing. It’s ridiculed, and those who practice it are led to believe that their convictions are archaic and pathetic.

High school crushes, peer pressure, and hormones are a constant battle against our Lord’s design when He created man and woman. Regardless, scripture is clear about being chaste and pure. So why is it so hard for those who love the Lord to follow His commandments?

Well, it’s time to change that damaging mindset about chastity, and fiction can help. In all the fictional novels that I have written so far, purity is both good and cool.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

CHASTITY IS PURITY OF THE BODY. This seems pretty obvious when we consider the physical manner in which a person is impure. So, one way to remain chaste through the body is to refrain from all physical aspects of intimacy that often leads to the act itself. This begins with something small such as tempting others.

In The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, Tommy has a crush on Faden, and vice versa. She is aware of his feelings about purity by the ring that he wears. When they reveal their feelings to each other, they’re alone and share a kiss (p.96). However, when David and Martha find out, they are told that they have to wait until they are older to date (p.137). Teens can easily create romantic moments for themselves in which chastity is quickly forgotten, which is why it’s important to avoid them.

Chaperones are a big thing in Freeing Tanner Rose. Tanner is annoyed by them (p.41) and makes fun of them (p.79), but Gabriel is not embarrassed. However, Tanner’s world is the one that we live in today. When we first meet her, she’s flirting and getting close with Jason Allan (p.2).

Tanner flirts with Gabriel too, but he contrasts her behavior in the way that he is very conscious about not being physical or flirting, (p.55). Even when Natasha flirts with him at the post-show party, and he is obviously attracted to her, he still remains chaste in his actions (p.176).

In Saving Faith, there are many suggestions that Christian and his friends are promiscuous (p.) This is evident also for Maria and her friends (p.71) and the conversations that they have.  At one point, Christian offers to “fix” Gabriel’s virgin status with a “sure thing.” But Gabriel’s response is priceless:

“And then what?” Gabriel looked at him and waited.
“What?”
“And then what?” Gabriel’s expression was serious as he stared back at Christian. “After the sure thing? Then what?”
“I don’t know, man.” Christian laughed. “You really that naive about the ways of the world?”
“No,” Gabriel said. “Just more interested in the will of God.” (p.64)

PURITY IN THE MIND AND IN THE HEART is another aspect of chastity that we ignore. But what we allow into our minds and hearts can easily affect our actions. We can conjure up thoughts about intimacy with a crush, or we can read books that offer all kinds of impure scenarios that lead us to lust. Tanner watching Gabriel on the camping trip is an example (p.46). But impure thoughts won’t lead us closer to God and what He desires for us.

Purity in the mind is often dictated by purity in the heart. It’s a desire instilled within our hearts that solidifies our decision to remain pure. If it’s strong and honest, then it cannot be corrupted easily. But if we say all of this to a teen, it sounds old-fashioned and prudish. Which is why fiction is a better method in teaching virtues. Let teens fall in love with a virtuous character.

PURE AND PROUD. This is what Faden boasts about himself to Tommy in The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch. (p.96) To be truly virtuous, you have to be confident in yourself and unashamed of your convictions. We see this so often with Gabriel. When Tanner and Gabriel are in the limo waiting outside Rick Vonn’s house, she asks him about his purity (p.129). He’s cool and confident in his response and this surprises her. This is the lesson we should teach our children.

The fictional stories offered show how the coolest characters are pure and proud. And those who have been taught otherwise need further educating.

Faith sees this when she compares Gabriel and Christian. She has to come to a decision in Saving Faith. She realizes that her actions have led her to a point in her relationship with Christian:

There was no doubt that she liked him, but to like him meant to compromise her convictions more than she already had,  because it was evident now that he would accept nothing less.  (SF p.132)

Faith’s actions have consequences. As did Christian’s. But what she is considering a consequence, for him is the icing on the cake. “It doesn’t take much,” Faith says to her brother about how a person’s life can be destroyed in an instant. Yet, she is neglecting to realize that in the same way, it doesn’t take much to give the gift of virginity away in a moment of unchaste passion. It’s one act, yes. But it’s one that changes everything. And like her first kiss, it’s something she cannot get back.

***

The books referenced in this post were The Destiny of Sunshine RanchFreeing Tanner Rose and Saving Faith from my Faith & Kung Fu Series. Free discussion questions are available for both:

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
Freeing Tanner Rose Discussion Questions
Saving Faith Discussion Questions

For more Catholic fiction reflecting this theme, check out the comments below!

Join the discussion!
Call out to Catholic authors of fiction for teens and young adults. Have you written a Catholic novel that encompasses the subject of chastity and purity? Please share in the comments below, listing the titles and including a brief description of how it’s presented in your fiction.

For more on the titles listed in this post and others, as well as their educational themes, visit Catholic Teen Books For Teachers 

12 Things Every Teen Girl Needs to Know

teengirlstalking

Following is a post I recently wrote on Project Inspired:

Ladies, as you journey through life, your experiences will guide you through. But if you could have a few tips to make that journey a tad easier, would you take them? Well, I’d like to offer up a few…12, to be exact. I’m sure there are more that will come to mind later, but consider these for now.

Check them out!

  1. Beauty resonates from the heart. A person can be physically beautiful, but if she doesn’t have a beautiful heart, then her physical beauty will fade pretty quickly in the eyes of the beholder. So focus on beautifying your character, because compassion, kindness and generosity make more of a difference than a pretty face!
  2. Purity is a gift. You were bought with a price, and if God thinks you’re special, so should you. Prove this worth and save yourself for your future husband. He’s worth it also, don’t you think?
  3. Boys can be a distraction. When all your friends have boyfriends and you’re crushing on a cute guy, it’s hard to agree with this. But boys only distract you from important things like school, friends, goals and glorifying God. If you’re not looking for marriage, why look for love?
  4. Bullies are weak. You’ve probably already heard this, but if you’re being bullied, it’s not easy to believe. Usually a person who bullies is insecure about herself or being bullied by someone else. Whatever the reason, she is probably not a happy person. Bullies are also strengthened by those they surround themselves with. Look to God for your strength!
  5. Popularity is just a fad. Once you leave school, no one cares. You have your whole life to succeed based on your merits, not because others think you’re pretty or you wear expensive clothes. Focus on your worth.
  6. Modesty is respected. Really, it is! How awesome it is to be fashionable and modest, especially when you get noticed for your personality and great fashion sense, rather than how much of your body you’re willing to reveal. And both boys and girls extend more respect for modesty than immodesty.
  7. Social media can be dangerous. Not only can social media be dangerous for the most obvious reasons, but it distracts you from the world and creates false realities. Also, your self-worth should not be determined by how many followers or likes you have.
  8. Who you are begins now. Ladies, being a teen is fun, and sure, it’s a time when you shouldn’t have to take yourself completely seriously. But there are things that you should take seriously—like the kind of person you want to be and how you want to be perceived. Do you want to be seen as a person of integrity? If you expect good qualities in others, then expect them of yourself also. If it becomes habit, then it becomes who you are.
  9. Your parents might just be right. I know that sometimes you don’t want to hear what they have to say, but your parents’ advice is likely based on their experience. So hear them out!
  10. God adores you and you need HimHow amazing is that? And with so much love encompassing you, how can you ever feel lonely in your life? Never forget that you are God’s girl and He will always be there for you. Let’s face it—you can’t do it alone. No one can. With God on your side, you will have a great life, but there will be low times, and this is especially why you need God and His love. With Him, you will find true strength to get through all the hard times. So keep Him in your heart always!
  11. There’s a plan for you. You may not know what it is, but know that you have a purpose. When I think of this truth, I get so excited about what God has in store for me. You should be excited also.
  12. Look to the Good Book for everything in your life! The Bible has the answer for every stage of your life, from purity to marriage, from repentance to salvation. Whenever you’re looking for an answer, check the Good Book! 

With life comes many challenges. I pray that the above list helps you steer through the craziness of the teenage years with as much sanity, confidence, love and truth as you can possibly attain! God bless!

Ladies, what do you think about the above list? Share your story…we love to hear from you!

Check out more of my posts on Project Inspired

If you loved this, then you’re sure to like…

10 Things Teen Boys Don’t Want You to Know

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Do Boys Like Gabriel and Faden Really Exist?

Guys on purity
You haven’t met Gabriel yet. But he’s a teen boy with gorgeous blue eyes, dark hair and a handsome face. He could be a model if he wanted to. And he could probably have any girl that he wanted to also. But his desire is to lead a pure life, dedicated to following Christ. Gabriel is from my upcoming novel, Freeing Tanner Rose.

Faden is another character with similar aspirations. He’s from my novel, The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.

But do boys like Gabriel and Faden really exist? Are there boys out there who strive for purity, modesty and other strong Christian values, or are my novels just fairy-tales?

So tell me. Do you know boys like Gabriel and Faden? Why do you believe that these boys are few and far between?

If you loved this, then you’re sure to like…

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Youth Groups, Schools, and Book Clubs

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The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch- Chapter 1