The Courage to Be Chaste (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1985)
A couple years ago, I bought a copy of The Courage to Be Chaste. I stopped reading it when I learned in its first pages that Groeschel — a Franciscan friar and a psychologist — wrote it for people who intend to be perpetually celibate. NOPE, I thought. Not me. Not reading it. And I stuck it on a shelf.
I had yet to tell myself what I’ve since started telling myself each time I start an “I’m still single” pity party: SUCK IT UP. I don’t remember when I accepted that I have no idea if I will ever get married. I also don’t remember when I acknowledged that it’s ok if I don’t. But I did, so it was with a mind more open than it used to be that I carried The Courage to Be Chaste onto flights from Tampa to Houston and Houston to San Diego last week.
It is with sincerity that I say this: The Courage to Be Chaste is one of the best books I have ever read. The world needs this book because
Last summer, as a student at the Theology of the Body Institute, I browsed the books for sale in the lobby of the Black Rock Retreat Center. I bought some, but didn’t read them when I got home, ’cause I had my own book to write. So this weekend, when an opportunity to read for leisure finally presented itself, I took it, and picked one of those books.
The Love That Satisfies: Reflections on Eros and Agape is by Christopher West, a Catholic author, speaker, and Theology of the Body expert who teaches at the TOB Institute. The book, which dissects Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), makes profound points about life, love, and sex. Here are 10 of my favorite excerpts:
St. Francis de Sales — whom I first encountered in the best way as an anxious undergrad in 2006 — is “widely regarded as one of the greatest spiritual advisers in the history of the Church.” He is also my homeboy. So when a friend forwarded me an email from Sophia Institute Press last month about a sale on a couple of books full of his wisdom, I bought them.
Over the weekend, I finished the first, Roses Among Thorns, which is a short collection of excerpts of personal letters written by de Sales. The back of the book says it’s for people who “find it difficult to live amid the clamor of the world with your eyes fixed on Christ alone” (totally me, as evidenced in “The most important thing to do while you’re single.”). If you think you fit the bill (and if you think you don’t), read on. I hope these excerpts from the book do for you what they did for me:
While I read Confessions of a Boy Crazy Girl, a book for teen girls written by new friend Paula Hendricks, I thought of an adolescent female, who fought hard to feign disinterest in the boy on whom she had a crush for her first two years of high school.
Of the script she wrote and memorized during a math class, so she wouldn’t stumble for the words with which to start a conversation with a different boy as she held the door open for him after class.
Of the afternoon she drove 70 in a 55 in an attempt to show up at school in time for his path to cross with hers.
She, like Paula, was a boy crazy girl. Also, she was me. (#Embarrassing.)