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Chapter 16

THE EVANGELICAL COUNSELS
Chastity (Purity)

 

When an evil thought is presented to the mind,
we must immediately endeavor
to turn our thoughts to God,
or to something which is indifferent
(distract yourself and replace it with something else).
But the best rule is to (do both):
instantly invoke the names of Jesus and Mary
(eg. “Jesus mercy, Mary help”)
and (while distracting yourself)
continue to invoke them until the temptation ceases.
—St. Alphonsus Liguori

 

 

Chastity relates to the Beatitude—“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)  Do we see other people as physical objects for sexual pleasure or human persons with spiritual souls that will live forever in heaven or hell?  We were created by God to be loved and to love respectfully and sincerely in humility and purity.  Each individual person is “unique, precious and unrepeatable.” (St. John Paul II)  The goal is not to control others, to dominate or manipulate them into doing our will.  The goal is to do God’s will and to help others do the same.  Through flattery, force or fear we try to get others to give us what we want.  Through “purity of heartwe seek to please God and no other, and to help others do the same.

  In a Christian marriage, the husband and wife help each other (and their children) to get to heaven.  Marriage is a means of salvation.  The greatest favor you can do your family is to do God’s will, to die to yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus.  Then, you will be blessed and your family too, because you are willing to do God’s will and not your own.

Let marriage be honored by all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” (Heb. 13:4)  Artificial contraception defiles the marriage bed and hinders the spiritual life and love of the couple.  The use of which is a serious sin, especially types that can cause an abortion such as the birth control pill.  Infidelity, even of the heart, defiles the marriage, obviously, to one degree or another.  “Whoever looks on a woman lustfully, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28)  The remedy for all this is Chastity in mind and body which comes from Purity of Heart.  Through the sacraments, prayer and penance (self-sacrifice), humility and obedience to God’s will, love will begin to heal and grow, and life will spring up once again where death reigned.

Humility (Poverty) opens the soul to God’s Life-giving Love.  Chastity helps to keep it open.  Next we will see that Obedience (Charity) is “the love of God (that) has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5)

 

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