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Author considers love in light of Christian teaching

| Friday, February 13, 2015

Jason Evert, a speaker on chastity and virtue and author of books such as “How to Find Your Soul Mate Without Losing Your Soul,” offered a take on chastity, relationships and love to a packed audience at Jordan Auditorium.

The talk, sponsored by the Notre Dame Right to Life and titled “How to Save your Marriage Before Meeting Your Spouse,” focused on redefining the virtue of chastity for young adults who seek to form healthy romantic relationships.

“Navigating the dating scene is obviously very tough,” he said. “What I’m proposing is a return to the concept of the virtue of chastity.”

Evert said while the contemporary connotation of chastity frames it as a repressive attitude towards sex and sexuality, chastity is actually a virtue that, when practiced, liberates and ordains sexuality to God’s love.

“Chastity is a virtue like courage or honesty that applies to your sexuality,” Evert said. “It does not eliminate your sexual desires; rather, what it does is it orders them according to the demands of human love. The purpose and function of it is to free the human person from a utilitarian attitude.”

Evert said working with with young adults showed him the desire young people have towards forming loving and healthy relationships but also their inability to learn how to date and engage in romantic relationships in light of Christian teachings on abstinence and virtue.

He said one problem in contemporary dating lies in men’s lack of initiative in pursuing relationships with women.

“What’s happening is today, we’re not initiating love. We’re either initiating lust, or we’re initiating nothing,” he said. “… It’s one thing to want this kind of love, but it’s not enough to want to find it. We need to know how to give it and how to receive it as well.”

Evert said women, meanwhile, feel social pressure against developing authentic relationships. He emphasized five points within his presentation that addressed the problems both men and women face when navigating contemporary dating. These points are enjoying and understanding oneself in single life, looking for love from within, facing fear, creating clear commitment and maintaining purity within relationships.

Evert said the distinction between sexual desire and lust was important to understanding through what lens people should view men and women. According to Evert, sexual desire is natural to men and women, whereas lust is an unnatural perversion that impeded the ability to appreciate the person, and rather only appreciate the pleasure that could be derived from the person. He said abstinence allows people to know and love the person as whole, and therefore stop lust.

“What we learn through abstinence, is that abstinence is not about waiting to love your girlfriend, it is about loving that woman perfectly, by caring about her body, and her soul, in all eternity,” Evert said.

“When you grow in purity, you come to a greater awareness of the beauty of the human body, and that beauty becomes a light to your actions.”

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