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Chastity

Ubi caritas et castitas, deus ibi est.
 

 
SIN feels good. Period.

Sin gives us raw physical pleasure. It can be intense and intoxicating. But sin is not bad because someone in authority, for some arrogant and mysterious reason, says so. Sin is not bad because the Catechism says so. Nor is sin bad because it feels good. Sin leads you away from the goal of holiness and into the empty pleasures of merely feeling good. Sin misses the point of life.

God is the point of life, and, in regard to sexuality, He gave us genitals so that we could bring new life into the world. Note that we aren’t creators; God is the Creator and we are procreators—that is, we stand in the place of the Creator. Our genitals therefore serve the purpose of procreation. They serve love by bringing children into the world who will learn to love Love—God Himself—to become love themselves.

Despite its intensity of feeling, sin defiles love. Sin is the hatred of love. Sin makes pleasure its own end, and so it ends in failure.

Still, sin feels good—and that points to the ultimate spiritual battle. Despite the throbbing intensity of sin’s attraction, we have to struggle against its pleasures and struggle to remind ourselves that, despite all the allure, sin is the hatred of love.

The battle against sin can be fought only with love for God, and chastity is one powerful weapon in our hands.

  

Chastity is a choice you can make now regardless of your past. Every Christian—male or female, with heterosexual desires or homosexual desires, married or celibate, laity or religious—is called to chastity. Chastity is not the repression of sexuality, it is the purifying transformation of desire into love.

  

As the full human response to divine love, chastity encompasses all the psychological, social, and physical consequences of accepting that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). In chastity we renounce lust; dress modestly; engage in sexuality only within the context of Holy Matrimony (which is not a civil right but a sacrament given only to a properly disposed man and woman), and within that context, engage only in sexuality that is ordered to an openness to procreation; and distance ourselves from—or, in scriptural language, die to—the moral impurity of the corrupt social world in which we all live. All of this is done so that we can serve God with pure hearts, both now and in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Chastity is not just an attitude toward human sexuality, it is the full acceptance of the human responsibility to the holy lifestyle that Christ preached—and lived in His body—and that contemporary society, in all its psychobabble about happiness, self-fulfillment, and human rights tries its best to subvert. Chastity, then, is a way of life—the way of life, the only lifestyle, the only “orientation”—for anyone who would follow Christ and claim to be Christian.

 

This is not a command for virgins to obey and brides to ignore, for widows and not for married women, for monks and not for married men, or for the clergy and not for the laity. No, the whole Church, the entire body, all the members in their distinct and varied functions, must follow Christ. . . . They must take up their cross by enduring in the world for Christ’s sake whatever pain the world brings.

 

—from a sermon by St. Augustine, bishop
Office of Readings, Common of Holy Men

And woe to the soul that spurns chastity. Love is chaste, and to spurn chastity is to spurn love. If you spurn love, you will find that in the end you are left with nothing but everlasting broken emptiness. To spurn chastity is to spurn Christ Himself, who, in His real and physical suffering on the Cross—truly present to us in the broken bread of the Eucharist—offers the only means to heal our human brokenness.

  

There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them.

  

— as told to St. Faustina
(Diary, 324)

 

The Litany of Chastity 

 

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CATHOLIC PSYCHOLOGY

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A Guide to Psychology and its Practice
 

 
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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.