By Amanda Lim and Shawn Tan
What is the value of chastity? How does one distinguish between love and lust? These are the questions germane to us which renowned Catholic chastity speaker Jason Evert addressed in his two talks, held on Jan 14 at the Max Pavilion. Organised by Archdiocesan Commission for the Family (ACF), the one-day event sought to illuminate the profound concepts of love, marriage, relationships, and sex with the teachings of Christ as a totem.
The first talk, for young adults, saw a turnout of 2,000 young adults. Entitled ‘Finding Love that Lasts’, the event began with a welcome address by ACF Chairperson, Dr John Hui, followed by a session of song by Corrinne May, who bore her heart out through music while sharing personal anecdotes about love.
Delivered with panache and interpolated with light-hearted anecdotes, Jason talked about the value of chastity in an increasingly fickle and disillusioned society, where relationships get intense too quickly and face the threat of “foxes” like pornography and a lack of clarity. “The virtue of chastity frees you from the selfish attitude of using someone else and frees you to love authentically,” he said. “If I can’t say no to my sexual desires, what is my yes worth?”
Finding prevailing love also means keeping relationships pure and demarcated. “Boyfriends do not get husband privileges,” he explained. “Date someone in such a way that if it doesn’t work out, their future spouse could come to you and thank you for making their husband or wife a better person.”
In the same vein, the second talk, “Love Matters”, provided tips to help youths navigate the choppy waters of love without sacrificing their morality. Preceding the event was a Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Goh and concelebrated by seven priest. Highlighting the precarious beliefs of a divergent world, Archbishop Goh expressed the need for “more Jason Everts in our midst who can connect with our young people” and the need to seek and uphold real truth.
Jason took to the stage to illustrate the difference between love and lust to his 5,000-strong audience of youths. “Love can’t wait to give, lust can’t wait to get,” he defined. On the topic of pornography, the father of six did not mince his words. “When you’re looking at porn, you’re looking at someone’s daughter who was probably sexually abused as a girl.”
Speaking to the girls in the crowd, he warned against diving into relationships and settling for men who do not value their dignity. “Sex is sexist, girls always pay the price.”
In parting, the key message behind the talks is for us to become the person our spouse would want us to be, sacrificing and mastering our bodies so as to free ourselves to love others. “It’s not about following the rules so you don’t go to hell, it’s about wanting heaven for the person that you love.”
Archbishop Goh commented after the event: “My hope is that our young people will be courageous enough to stand up for Jesus and the truth of love.” He added: “Knowing what to do is one thing, but without His grace, we cannot preserve purity in love. At the same time, I wish there were more Jason Everts in our midst who can connect with our young people. Of course, it is not enough for them to be able to just connect with the young people. They need to be well grounded in the Catholic faith themselves, without which they would not be able to effectively communicate the truths of the Gospel to the young people in a way that will convict them of the Gospel values, and that these are truly meant to be life-giving and not take away authentic living.”
More than 3,000 youths attended the talk, which ended with a rousing song and dance finale that included priests, seminarians and laity, reminiscent of the Joy SG50 concert in 2015.
For more information on Evert’s talks, as well as photos, videos and relevant resources, click here.