"Whose stories came in to my life to continue the legacy of love?"
Fr. Roger Lopez
Fr. Lopez spoke about the importance of stories, legends, fables, etc. He reminds us of our history in stories, whether by aunties and uncles, grand mas and grand pas, or the sacred legends, gospels and proverbs that give life to many of the spiritual and religious beliefs to which we hold. We all have a story. Fr. Lopez was reminding us of the many aspects of the Christian Easter story. There were so many side stories to the Holy Week, of death and resurrection. There was Jesus’ expression of intense fear, Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial, Mary's discovery of the empty tomb, and Jesus' instructions to Mary to go tell the others.
Fr. Lopez offered a thought that really caught my attention: "We would be mistaken to think that the story ends there."
Jesus expressed intense fear, yet continued his story with death, resurrection, and the empowerment of his disciples to continue a kingdom.
Judas continued his story in self-condemnation and suicide.
Peter continued his story through forgiveness and a commission to care for the people.
Mary continued her story by sharing the news of resurrection.
So, what's my story? How does it relate to chastity?
Today, I'll relate my story more directly to the more traditional perspective on chastity. I'll share a bit of chastity as it relates to my sexuality.
Chapter 1: Playboy. My first stories of sexuality came from the pages of magazines and books that emphasized sex for personal pleasure and exploitation. More specifically, women were there for the pleasure of men. But the story continues.
Chapter 2: Church. Chastity meant that sex was meant for marriage. Sex was evil and I would be condemned to hell if I didn't follow the rules. But the story continues.
Chapter 3: Marriage. Hmmmmm? Confusion. What made this act evil yesterday and holy on my wedding night? But the story continues
Chapter 4: Relationship. This chapter is ongoing. What I am discovering is the reality of relationship. As relationships grow, there is an ongoing shift in my perspective on life. I am slowly transforming away from self. At the same time, the wonder and awe of life becomes more and more apparent. The fullness of life is expanding, and sometimes exploding.
The crazy paradox of life is that the more I focus outside of myself, the bigger my life becomes. Bigger? It's difficult to put in to words but I expect that you know what I am talking about. Life takes on a life of its own and sometimes I feel like a spectator and sometimes I am caught up in this glorious whirlwind of expansion.
I am finding sexuality to be expanding in the same way. The shift from lust to love allows me to recognize our individual beauty, but it’s so much more. Our relationships expand beyond beauty to a sacred intimacy that is far beyond sexuality.
What is the practice that takes me from lust to love? I can only relate to stories of a journey. Along the path, I have had to ask for help. Even better, people offered help that I wasn't even aware of. I know my parents offered perpetual prayer as did many others along the way. Many shared their stories, the stories of suffering and resurrection. These stories had one powerful theme: the stories did not end.
Each story had a point of celebration, but never an end. Each celebration, resurrection if you will, was an experience of expansion in to the next chapter.
So, here I am. Here we are. Each of us at a point in our journeys, living a chapter of our story. Each of us struggling to expand beyond self. We find that lust is not so much about sexuality but about ME! We experience moments of vulnerability when we see beyond self in the story of another. In that 'other' story, we find a bit of ourselves that eases a bit of pain, offers a ray of hope, and heals one of our many wounds.
Chastity? It is not limited to sexuality. It is about expanding beyond self, engaging in relationship, and willing ourselves in to each other's stories. We continue the evolution in faith, hope and love.
Each story is transforming.
Each story is sacred.
Each story is an expression of relationship.
Each story is ..................................