Step 7: Chastity
“Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8)
Before the post goes any further, for all non priests or religious brothers or sisters I suggest you disregard the following. This reflection will not be of any help to your advancement in sanctity . . .
WAIIITT COMMMEEEE BACKKKK!!! Wow! What an epic lie.
Let us focus on chastity of heart which will inevitably encompass all other purities in life. What is chastity? while it may be taken as a physical renunciation of sexual acts as do those who take the vow and choose to live for God alone it also calls out the married couple, the bachelor and bachelorette, the independent business man and woman. All who were created by the One True Lover must heed this call to holiness before all else. Why???
“O holy purity, thou art the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit” (St. Athanasius). In heaven and on the earth there has ever only existed One Love. One! One Lover. One! All other ordered loves sensual or otherwise are mere manifestation of that one love. And should be ordered to return to Him. God is it! “God so loved the world . . . ” He desires to dwell in our heart and reign over all of its affections, those that we share and those we receive. Should we not allow him? He is, after all, the author and source of it all. The things of this world, pleasure, passions, delights “do not satisfy us because they were not made to, we long for more because we were made for more and the longing that we have is a sign of God’s love for us and this leads us to His very self” (Sr. Mariam).
“Our body is the most powerful weapon the devil possesses” (St. Alphonsus,92). Because he knows that it retains the capacity of wishful thinking, physical inclinations, and most importantly a deep longing for love. He is able to manipulate but he is not able to conquer. Temptation is his tool and the will is his target. He makes it seem impossible to remain chaste! But remember while he can manipulate; he can NEVER possess without consent. St. Francis de Sales reminds us, “when a thief is trying to break into a door, it is a sign he is not yet in the house.”, “So too, when the devil continues to tempt a soul it is a sign that soul is still in the grace of God” (St. Alphonsus, 94).
Humility!!!! We cannot overcome temptations of impurity if we do not acknowledge our weakness toward them. Run to him during these moments, do not settle for a lesser love than that which Jesus can provide. Receive the Sacraments, His mercy awaits in the confessional and his sustenance in the Holy Eucharist. Invoke the pure ones, the saints who have won victory over the flesh and enjoy the fulfillment of that deep longing for love.
Let us wear our interior outwardly. “Our interior should glow with divine love” and the outward expression or virtue of this love is modesty. Therefore, “Let our modesty be know to all men” (St. Alphonsus, 99). There are those who were chosen among the rest to manifest a heavenly witness of the love of Jesus in their own lives. Consecration espouses these souls to Jesus Christ and makes them prime examples of what our fulfillment in heaven may look like if we run the race and keep our gaze upward not downward on earth. It is this virtue and vow that makes religious men and women ” mirrors of their heavenly Spouse” (St. Alphonsus, 102).
The love that belongs within the sacramental bond of marriage, the sexual expression of love that unites a husband and wife to bear the fruit of the covenant; new life, is good. But even in marriage it is not the end goal. God desires to expose humanity to an even greater love, a universal love that only He can give. “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?” (Rom 8:38) If I order my loves in Christ Jesus, nothing can separate me from the source of all love.