A. WHAT IS CHASTITY AND HOW IS IT PUT INTO PRACTICE?
- A. What is chastity and how is it put into practice?
- B. Benefits of chastity
- C. Is chastity possible? How?
1. What is chastity? The virtue of purity or chastity is the custom of using sex correctly. Chastity moderate’s sexual appetites to make them reasonable. It is an important virtue which enables on to love. It has huge consequences on the human dignity and family if it deteriorates. Chastity can be lived in three situations: individually, in a relationship or in marriage.
2. How is it practised individually? Individually, chastity avoids any sexual pleasure, protecting and educating one’s own heart. Precisely because it protects the heart from selfishness and enables true love to flourish it is considered so essential.
3. How is it practised in relationships? In non-committed relationships, chastity rejects sexual pleasure both individually or in common.
4. How is chastity practised in marriage? The virtue of purity or chastity in Marriage includes: the correct use of sex with the appropriate spouse (children) and the rejection of other sexual pleasures.
5. Can I not do whatever I want with my body? It’s possible to do many things with our bodies, however, they are not all correct or convenient for human beings. For example, drug use is clearly not good.
6. Is the body an object which I own? No, no. The human body is not an object which we own as the human beings are both body and soul (corporal and spiritual). Due to this:
B. BENEFITS OF CHASITY
- Those that look after the dignity of the body protect the state of the person.
- The respect of one’s own body or that of others is respect to all people.
- He whom mistreats a body, abuses that human being. Due to this, if someone stabs another person he should be punished as he has hurt a person not an object.
1. Chastity improves the dignity of human beings.- From to points of view:
2. Chastity improves the respect for oneself and others too.- It is a mere consequence of what we have said above as one only respects what one considers to be worthy of respect. If one values that dignity of the human body in sexuality it is much easier to act correctly with other fellow people in other fields of life. And the other way around too, if the human body is misused to satisfy sexual preferences that it will be easy to convince it that it needs many other human whims. And with this we prove that the sexual abasement hurts many other aspects.
- Human beings are not an object or a tool. One does not “use” a human being. If a person is “used” he or she would feel mistreated and in fact would have in de facto experienced a violation to his or her dignity. In this sense, chastity avoids human beings being used to obtain pleasure.
- Chastity helps to maintain the value that corresponds to the body and to sex. To explain this, it’s not easy to find contemporary examples. Imagine a monarch a few centuries ago. Imagine his crown; that which is used in the most important occasions. And imagine that someone uses that royal crown to pick-up litter. It would be a crime against the dignity of the King. The use of the body merely to obtain pleasure reduces the value of sex which is closely linked to that of the gift of parenthood.
3. Some examples:
4. Chastity frees us from slavery.- There is a correct inclination in sex and that is to form a family. This willingness to have children each husband with his wife is good and natural. And those pleasures that are entailed are also good and desirable. Nevertheless, in sex there is a tendency which leads to obtain sexual pleasures in any shape or form, with everyone and anyone. This is no longer natural and should be contained. If one gives in with this battle, the inclination increases as one obtains preferences and an obsession starts to be formed, this from of slavery can be called sex addiction. The virtue of chastity frees us from those chains helping human beings to be owner of his actions in this field.
- Domestic violence is violence and not impurity, however, they are not too far apart as in both cases a human body is abused. If the human body turns into a mere object which I use to obtain pleasures it is very easy for me to spill my fury on that object if it opposes me. If I like it, I’ll use it. If I dislike it, I will beat it.
- Sexual Lawlessness is closely linked to drug and alcohol addiction because they too mistreat the human body. This does not mean that they always appear together, however, it is easier to fall into one vice if one has already been defeated by something similar.
5. Chastity protects and increases our capacity to love.- The uncontrolled sexual desire drives to selfishness and to the crave of pleasures at any cost. This slavery to personal whims or preferences hinders our ability to love as love invites oneself to crave for the good of others even if it denies personal preferences. Love and selfishness do not get on well with each other, if one is encouraged, the other the falls. If one is freed from selfishness and searches for the good of others, it benefits others but also oneself as one’s heart inflates. Chastity increases our capacity to love due to its victory against selfishness. This virtue is an indispensable requisite which purifies the heart and allows to it to show true affection.
C. IS CHASTITY POSSIBLE? HOW?
1. Is it possible to live chastity? In certain places, it is difficult to live chastity. However, it is always possible to practice it with the help of several resources which we know group into three points. One’s own effort, God’s help and other peoples’ help. These means can be put into practice in the same moment of the battle or before so we are ready and trained.
2. One’s own effort can be applied in several different fields:
- The decision to struggle.- Repeat the firm desire to keep a clean heart. To fortify this decision, it may be useful to set small objectives such as; “until next Wednesday” etc.
- Flee from occasions.- It may be a good idea to reduce (in accordance with their sinful nature) places such as beaches, night clubs, tv, internet… At the end of the day, abstaining from some things has little significance when compared to he who defends his most precious thing: his ability to love.
- Guard the sight.- Sight is a sense which is closely linked to our desires and its control can protect and educate our heart. It may be a good idea to train oneself by looking away from normal images that our curiosity wants us to look at.
- Serve others so that our heart learns to love.
- Get angry.- Remember a happening that will annoy you. Anger usually ends an excess of romanticism. (without a doubt, anger should also be constrained, however, but sometimes it is necessary to overcome the temptation).
- Have prepared ideas or ways to counter attack beforehand so that when the temptations come one is ready. For example, I want to have my sight, my thoughts, my heart clean; I want to be freed from this slavery; Holy Mary, help me; etc. It is convenient that they are short and positive, even though negative or those of rejection also work.
- Have prepared images beforehand to counterattack. For example, remember a goal, an occurrence or any other thinking that sticks more than the temptation.
- Mortification.- The custom of containing one’s preferences helps us to control sexual things.
- Sobriety in food.- Like that above. He who can dominate the desire to eat will be able to control his body too. For example, if temptations come at night it may be a good idea to have a lighter dinner.
- Eat less Pork.- This suggestion come from Saint Hildegarda de Bingen who says that this meat foments lust. (this does not mean that it cannot be eaten).
3. Examples of Mortifications? Some sacrifices that help to dominate one’s own body:
4. Does God help in the struggle to be chaste? God’s help is achieved through prayer, the sacraments, devotion to Our Lady, etc. It is convenient to persevere with humility to divine help.
- Sit down in uncomfortable postures, dominating the sense of tact, which is closely linked to that of sexual pleasures.
- Have quick showers even though we feel like it being longer.
- Eat with moderation, controlling taste and appetite.
5. Why is humility useful to be chaste? A prideful person is haughty towards God, while on the other hand he who is humble has the correct perspective regarding the creatures (human being) and the Creator (God). In consequence:
6. Help from others in Chastity? To advance in our Christian life it is very advisable to have spiritual direction, where one receives advice and encouragement that help the efforts to struggle. This help will only be helpful if there is sincerity. In the case of Chastity, sincerity is hard but it has a doubly positive effect as you both receive help and better in humility. (Pride finds it hard to admit defects, doing this humility is strengthened.
- Humility is necessary to advance in any virtue as “God resists those who are prideful and gives his grace to those who are humble”.
- The influence of God benefits both body and soul. When the soul rebels against God, the balance is broken and the body rebels against the soul. If the soul puts itself in front of God, the body too will respect the voice of the will.
7. Mutual help in relationships? It is convenient that both girlfriend and boyfriend are determined to live chastity helping one another by defending their heart, their dignity and their love. something similar can be said to those that are married, it is convenient that they both want to have children, to use marriage properly and be faithful.