Thursday, February 22 2024

“Casti alla meta” (Chaste at the destination), published by Mimep-docete,
is a narrative text that is part of practical life, and that applies to
everyone, Christian and non-Christian. It is an audacious book in which the
author, Cecilia Galatolo, a young woman, wife and mother of two children,
talks about chastity, one of the most uncomfortable and complex human
virtues, a value that is often ignored or mocked and despised by many, and
about sexuality by proposing to young people a path to follow that is
worthy of them, to live a happy engagement and then a happy marriage.

The theme of the book is the message “you are precious” and the destination
to which the author leads us, without judging anyone or moralizing, but
with delicacy and at the same time frankness, with a bold and pressing
language, is true love: true because chaste. Yes, because chastity is not a
limit imposed from outside on love, but rather an ingredient that prevents
its corruption, like salt with good food. Tasty dishes should be cooked
with the right amount of salt.

The cover image is immediately striking: appealing, fresh and joyful;
however, while the subtitle is attractive and arouses curiosity, the title
remains too explicit and the word “chaste” in the foreground carries the
risk of labeling the book as something prejudiced and retrograde, excluding
from reading all those who do not have a Christian background. And this
would really be a pity, because, on the contrary, the book shows first of
all the universality of the value of chastity, based on the unique and
inestimable preciousness of the single person and his or her body, and
shows that this path can be followed by everyone, even by those who think
it is too late.

Certainly it is a book against the tide, which does not offer easy and
carefree ways to reach happiness; instead it proposes uphill roads that do
not exclude fatigue and maybe even falling.

In the collective imagination chastity is associated with deprivation,
sacrifice, something contrary to human nature, at most reserved for nuns
and monks. Instead, the author overturns these clichés and prejudices and
guides us in explaining why it is worth taking this way, satiating the
hunger for questions that everyone asks themselves in the youth, the phase
of life that is explosive and exciting, but also turbulent and full of
doubts.

Galatolo intercepts the universal need of young people, who think and
reflect and deserve precise, reasonable and reasoned answers about
sexuality and how to live it as engaged couple, especially if you clash
with what friends, television, books, cinema and the web propose. The
author, showing herself a girl like the others, with her desires, her
impulses and her doubts, gives concrete and above all convincing answers
and shows that she knows these answers in depth because she was the first
to ask herself those questions and experienced those difficulties. This
starting from her own experience is a compelling characteristic: in this
way the author places herself close to the young people and shows that she
understands them; moreover, thanks to examples and personal testimonies of
other boys and girls, she does not remain on an ideal unattainable level
(because if they have made it, is possible for everyone!) and she does not
even hold back in front of themes that might seem strong and inconvenient,
but with simplicity she describes and faces all the variables and
temptations into which a boy and a girl can fall.

I find brilliant the idea to launch, in the introduction, a challenge to
the reader by putting him/her in front of a choice: to follow the voice of
the majority, which suggests to live sexuality “freely” following one’s
instinct, or to live it from the awareness that every person has a unique
value and higher than the simple material level of pleasure instrument, so
that sex between man and woman becomes a gift and mutual welcome, the basis
for a true and eternal love. So chastity is no longer a dogma to be taken
by faith, a duty imposed without reason, a “one must do so, or else it is a
sin!”, but becomes a free and conscious choice of those who put their
person before sex, with the unique baggage of interiority, mind and heart;
so as to live a clean, innocent, tender and also pleasant sexuality!

Certainly, between the lines the author does not hide the indispensable
help of God in pursuing such a path; while on the one hand this may seem to
be an apparently unconvincing text for a non-Catholic environment, on the
other hand it could be a push to know or to get closer to what Catholic
morality really sustains, and not to the impoverished surrogates that non
very human Christians live for lack of adequate training.

It would be wonderful if this small volume were read by the direct
addressees, i.e. the teenagers, but also by adults in every environment;
its reading is recommended to all those who work among young people, first
of all parents, then youth ministry workers, those who teach marriage
preparation courses, catechists and priests, but also to those who are
simply curious about a new way of approaching the subject, because this
book is a breath of fresh air in a bigoted vision of chastity and aims to
show to everybody the thirst for beauty and purity that is in everyone,
awakening the desire to live a finally free, rather than “liberated”,
sexuality.

Previous

A movie about Chiara Lubich, a woman who shows us how "love conquers all"

Next

Parents and the pandemic: is there a risk of burnout or an opportunity for growth?

Check Also