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June 26, 2024
What we control, influence
June 26, 2024

Teens, your sexuality is a gift

Q: How do we communicate sexuality with older teens and young adults?

Our older teens and young adults need to receive, digest and live three vital messages:

  1. You are a sexual being, God created you this way. True happiness requires living in relationship with Him.
  2. You have a vocation, a unique call from God.
  3. The purpose of this stage of your life is to discern your vocation and prepare to live it.

We do not speak enough about God’s purpose for our lives. Without this big picture, we make decisions based on what seems sensible or practical at the given moment. Our older teens and young adults need to understand the bigger picture. They were initiated into the sacred mystery when they were baptised. They are capable of encountering the Divine. Life is not about the pleasure, power and wealth that dominate today’s culture. Like all of us, they need God. To love your teen is to initiate them into the sacred mystery that is God.

You are a sexual being

Pope Benedict says: “… everything has its origin in God’s love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God’s greatest gift to humanity; it is his promise and our hope” (Caritas in Veritate, 2). We are sexual because God is love and God calls us to love Him and each other. In his Theology of the Body, Saint John Paul alludes to the three points of a triangle. Point one: “To love is to give yourself”. Point two: “The spousal love of man and woman is the paradigmatic case of a total gift of self in our experience.” Point three: “The Trinity is the exemplar of love and gift.”

The mystery of our sexuality is tied up to the mystery of our bodies and God’s gift to us. We are called to give this gift of our body to God: in marriage by a free, total, faithful and fruitful union—giving oneself to one person fully, totally, faithfully and fruitfully; or to God fully, totally and faithfully in the celibate life. This is the inner meaning of sexuality. It is God’s call to us and our response to God. This is the inner meaning of the sixth commandment: You shall not commit adultery (cf. Ex 20:1-17).

Jesus takes this higher: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt 5:27-28).” This is Jesus’ way of saying each one is intended to live a chaste life before marriage and in marriage, to give oneself fully, totally, faithfully and fruitfully to a spouse. Jesus raises marriage to the dignity of a sacrament, a channel of grace. It is sacred. But not all of us are called to marriage. Some are called to the priesthood, others to religious or lay consecrated life—all channels of Grace.

You have a vocation

God created each of us uniquely to live fully his or her vocation—married, single, priest, consecrated lay or religious. No one knows us better than God. Thus, God’s call—vocation—is the pathway to a happy life where we make the most impact. The heart of the spiritual life is bending our heart to the will of God in things little and big. Nothing is more important now than preparing for, discovering, and living your vocation. You were called to be a saint. Living your vocation is the royal road to holiness. It is also the royal road to becoming the best version of yourself.

Your life is not about you doing what you want. It is given to you as gift to make Jesus present to those around you, and others who are most in need and on the margins. By living your vocation, you become a portal, allowing God’s grace to bless those around you and His goodness to flood the world. See your life through the eyes of Christ and do whatever He asks you.

To find God’s call requires being intentional. It requires building a friendship with Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit for help every day. When we are generous to God, God is even more generous to us. Begin with regular times of prayer and Sunday Mass. Add Eucharistic Adoration and reading good Catholic books. Delve into what the Church teaches. For difficult questions, ask This AI language model has been fed the Church’s key documents. Read widely and broadly, but always bring your questions and challenges to God in prayer. Each of us needs to ask for clarity concerning our vocation.


Your purpose now

To you in late teens or early adulthood, you find yourself at an exciting stage. Much is done for you by parents, teachers and family. But it is time to consider your contribution. How are you going to impact the world? The real work is discerning your vocation. At the first level, there are only a few choices: married, single, priesthood, lay or religious consecrated life. Pray and ask God where you are being called. Really ask, and open wide your heart to God’s call.

If you are in a relationship, there is one purpose: to discern your vocation. Parents, when your teenagers and young adults enter relationships, sit down with them and remind them of their sacred purpose. Wait till marriage: It is the best way to ensure a happy and fruitful marriage. Sex and sexual stuff prevent you from truly seeing the other and being able to discern properly. Many modern couples wake up after marriage and realise they do not know their spouse. They were sexually intimate but never became friends. These marriages do not easily last. Each time you have sex with another person, you make it more difficult to form permanent bonds with a spouse. Science calls it the sticky gene.

Stay pure. Go to the Blessed Sacrament in adoration together. Go to Mass together. Pray together every day and read good books on marriage and courtship. Marriage is a vocation. Part of the discernment is deepening your prayer life together. Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation often and talk through challenges and difficulties.

Parents, please do not allow your teen or young adult to enter the bedroom or closed areas with their boyfriend or girlfriend. They need to stay in public spaces and be held accountable. If you believe they cannot wait, they will not wait. Help them by praying for them for discernment. If a relationship is getting serious, you should get to know the person and the family. Discernment is communal.

Remember, the priesthood, religious life and consecrated life in lay communities are vocations in our Archdiocese. Ask God to show you what He wants of you and for the courage to live the vocation. If you feel a tug in this direction, contact Generation S, and let’s begin the conversation and discernment.


Key Message:

Your sexuality is a gift. Use it wisely. This time of your life is to discern your vocation; you need to do it intentionally and with great support from your family.

Action Step:

Parents, read this article together with your teens and young adults. Have a healthy, open conversation and be loving and supportive. As a family, read Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.

Scripture Reading:

Eph 5:1-20