Bright Maidens: The Absolutely True Diary of a Virgin

 
 
The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

Topic:TLC’s “Virgin Diaries”

Elizabeth at Startling the Day
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Virgin
The channel that brought us little people, super breeders, polygamists, and prancing toddlers has recently introduced a new rarity…late-in-life virgins!  It is just as ridiculous as it sounds, but I’m not surprised an over-sexed culture is shocked by those who decide to abstain, whether for religious or other personal reasons.  Nor am I surprised that the people it’s chosen to highlight are not the average virgins.  Normal doesn’t boost ratings.
Photo found here.
As I’m still on a blogging break, here are some links to past posts on virginity, sex, and chastity.  Enjoy! 

Pure Desires

The idea of pure desires might sound contradictory to you, but chastity means being sexually attracted, but choosing the greater good for the other.  It means you allow God’s love to permeate your affections.  In order for this to happen, we must first throw aside the false notion that religion and sexuality are at enmity with one another.  Could it be possible that erotic love could be pure?  Could sexual intimacy be sanctifying?  In God’s plan for sex, the answer to both questions can be an emphatic yes!
 
Although in the past you may have used your body in a way that drove you and others further from God, you are still made in His image and likeness.  Your body is still capable of expressing the love of the Blessed Trinity.  This is quite a calling.  But you’re worthy of nothing less.
 
– How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul by Jason and Crystalina Evert(152)

Bright Maidens: Daydream Believers and Emotional Disasters

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!
 
Topic: Emotional Chastity
 
Daydream Believers and Emotional Disasters

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It happens all the time.  You bump into a man on the street.  He smiles charmingly and holds the door for you.  You walk away, maybe shooting him a backwards glance, and can’t help but think, “Maybe he’s the one.”  What a kind, cute gentleman.  Good qualities for your man.

You daydream as you eat your lunch, and the day passes by in a blur of warmth, hope, and affection.  He could be the one.  You imagine your first dates, his proposal, your glorious wedding.  The laughter of your kids as they run through the house.  His hand in yours as your face life, together.


It doesn’t seem so wrong to pass the time daydreaming like this, but in reality, it is frightening: you are building an emotional bond with a man to whom you haven’t spoken more than three words!  Sometimes with a man who doesn’t even exist!  I’ve been emotionally invested in many fictional characters, and the age of middle school and high school was ripe for idealized obsession of pop stars, actors, and the boy in my science class!  What is the fruit of that emotional bond?  Usually disappointment, hurt, and worry. It is better to have not built that bond in the first place.
 
The danger of emotional chastity does not stop there.  It can worm it’s way into dating relationships and marriage.  A woman in a dating relationship may amplify her beloved’s qualities to the point that she no longer sees him for who he is.  Her “love” is not real and is not based in reality.  As Edward Sri explains in Men, Women and the Mystery of Love, “The most tragic effect of sentimental idealization is that we end up not really knowing the person we find so attractive.  A man in sentimental love may seek to be close to his beloved, spend a lot of time talking with her, and even go to Mass with her and pray with her.  If he has idealized her, though, in reality he remains quite distant from her: The powerful affection he feels depends not on her true value, but only on the ideal values that he has projected on to her.” (50)  
Like sexuality, emotional attachment has to be integrated into the fullness of the person, otherwise it can be disastrous.  A couple who takes idealized versions of each other into marriage will have a serious crisis upon realization they married someone they do not know and do not authentically love.  They may then be open to the temptations of emotional cheating and adultery.
What can we do to safeguard ourselves from false love and dangerous emotional intimacy?  Edward Sri (57) suggests pondering these questions:
Am I committed to this other person for who he is or for the enjoyment I receive from the relationship?  
Does my beloved understand what is truly best for me, and does he have the faith and virtue to help me get there?  
Are we deeply united by a common aim, servicing each other and striving together toward a common good that is higher than each of us?  Or are we just living side-by-side, sharing resources and occasional good times together while we selfishly pursue our own interests and enjoyments in life?
I would add: Guard your heart.  When the temptation to fantasize about life with a stranger presents itself, pray for that person instead.  Identify what prompted that temptation.  Are you lonely?  Tired?  Frustrated?  Jealous?  Take those emotions to Jesus.  You don’t have to guard your heart around him!  Reach out in kindness and interest in getting to know the other as person.  Take things slowly.  Pray for wisdom and grace to authentically see and love each other.  Invite your beloved to spend time with your family and friends.  Value their opinions on your relationship.  
We are called to love as God loves, and not to love for our own sake, but to glorify the Lord.  Avoid being an emotional disaster and a daydream believer: love people for who they are.

Bright Maidens: Sensible, Courageous, and Very Beautiful



The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

Topic: “What is the distinction between being sexy vs. being desirable?”

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“Now the girl is sensible, courageous, and very beautiful.”  
– St. Raphael, describing Sarah to Tobiah
I am not Megan Fox.
When I was in college, a group of guys used to call me “Megan Fox.”  Though they meant it to be flattering, I always felt uncomfortable with the nickname.  “I don’t really look like her,” I’d say with a laugh, hoping they’d agree and forget it.  You see, I’d never heard anyone saying something about Megan Fox’s brain or the tender way she cared for her then-boyfriend/now-husband’s son.  No, she was reduced to one word: sexy.  Or two words: smoking hot.
Did I want to be viewed the same way?  No, thanks!  Although it’s nice to be considered attractive, sexuality has to be integrated and viewed in light of the total person.  It is relational in that way.  Taken apart from the whole person, it becomes objectification, the reduction of a person to one aspect: one’s ability to have sex.

There was another way I wanted to be viewed, though I wasn’t able to articulate it then.  I wanted to be desirable, to be someone described as “having pleasing qualities or properties…worth seeking…attractive.”  (That’s from the dictionary, not a faith book, friends!)  Desirable doesn’t crown sexuality as the most important aspect of a woman, nor does it deny sexuality.  It just integrates it.  You are wanted for more than your body!  You are worth more than your body shape or size!  You’re a woman a man can pursue, not just a woman who can arouse.  


Having Pleasing Qualities.

As Catholic women, we are called to imitate Our Blessed Mother.  In the conclusion of Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II said Mary is the model ” in the matter of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ.”  The pleasing qualities we are to have are not based on fashion, technological skill, degrees, or abilities.  We are to be women of prayer, who are full of virtues, and treat others with honesty, kindness, and love.  We are to be totally open to the Holy Spirit, to invite others to be Saints, and to encourage them to union with Christ.


Worth Seeking. 

As Catholic women, we are secure in the Lord.  With that beautiful stability, we do not need to chase men and seek their approval as an affirmation of our lives.  Even when it is lonely, we are content to be women who are worth being sought, so that only the bravest and brightest of men pursue us.  We value sexuality and invite others to do the same.  This is a stark contrast to the hook up culture, where no one, especially men, needs to pursue, discern, abstain, or sacrifice. 
  

Attractive.


It is not our place as friends and girlfriends to be sexually suggesting with the men in our lives.  Men don’t need any additional graphics or words to throw a wrench in their efforts to live chastely.  They need women who respect and aid their desire to live chastely; in turn, they will do the same for us.

This doesn’t mean we have to hide our beauty and our sexuality, either!  We just integrate it and ask others to follow our example.  One day when we’re married, sexiness with be an aspect of our chaste lives, but at this time it has to be kept on the down low.