Author explores chastity and relationships
Kathryn Marshall | Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Author Dawn Eden Goldstein spoke on chastity and care for the “other” on Monday night as part of the Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry “Body, Mind and Spirit Sexuality” series. She has written books such as “The Thrill of the Chaste” and “My Peace I Give You.”
Goldstein graduated from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake with a doctorate in sacred theology, making her the first woman to receive a canonical doctorate. The degree is issued under the authority of the pope.
The lecture began with Goldstein reflecting on an anecdote from earlier in the day, when she met a woman who had a tattoo that read, “Jesus wants the rose” on her arm. The rose, being an analogy for those who do not live perfect lives and yet are embraced by Jesus, expresses why Goldstein wrote “The Thrill of the Chaste” based on her own journey when she herself did not lead a ‘perfect’ life, she said.
“I, myself, did not know about chastity,” she said. “All I knew is I wanted love, and I had wounds in my background. And out of that woundedness, I believed I wasn’t valuable for who I was.”
Initially Jewish, Goldstein later became Protestant, and was then baptized into the Catholic Church when she was 31. She decided to learn what chastity was when she joined the Church and read St. Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.”
“I had been told that chastity was really just abstinence — just say no,” she said. “When I read what the Church teaches about chastity, what the catechism teaches, I found that chastity is a virtue. Virtues are not defined by things that are negative. They are defined by things that are positive.”
With this message in mind, Goldstein wrote “The Thrill of the Chaste” to share how chastity is a virtue with foundations in loving fully and completely.
It is a virtue that can be applied to both single and married individuals, as single persons give love directly to God and indirectly through their neighbor, and married persons give love directly to God and indirectly through their partner, she said.
Applying the question ‘How can I love fully according to my relationship with this person?’ takes chastity out of a sexual realm to a realm that invites the individual to live more fully as a human being, Goldstein said. In this way, chastity is a gift of self, she said.
“It’s about being faithful, about making a sincere gift of self,” she said. “It’s about making a free choice to love — loving totally, faithfully and fruitfully.”
The next “Body, Mind, and Spirit” series speaker will be on Feb. 27 featuring Kerry Cronin, who will be speaking on intimacy and the search for the “other.”