REFLECTION: Is chastity possible? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 August 2011 14:53

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

The answer, of course, is a resounding Yes! It’s God’s will in the first place. And He will always give us the means necessary. He does not design us for it and just leave us alone to do whatever we can. He gives us the means in abundance.

And if we correspond, if we put our mind and heart into it, if we are determined to fight—for tremendous, formidable enemies we have in this area—then chastity need not be an elusive dream or a false hope or a wishful thinking, but rather a joyful affirmation of love, a way to assert our identity with God and with others.
God created us in his image and likeness, and with his grace, elevated us to be children of his, meant to participate in his own life, not only in our spirit, but also in our body. We are image and likeness of God, children of his, both in body and soul, and not only in one without the other.

That means that though there is a distinction between our bodily and spiritual dimensions, we should not forget that there is a fundamental unity between them, meant to be unbreakable. Absent that unity, we would fatally compromise our humanity.

The body then has to be fully infused with the spirit. And the spirit, which is our soul, should fully animate the body. The body has to materialize our spiritual life. The soul has to spiritualize our material world.

All this dynamism of the mutual relationship between the body and the soul that is initiated and governed by the love of God should be sustained by us with God’s grace and our effort.

This is where the virtue of chastity comes in, a virtue that becomes more challenging given the wounded and weakened condition of our body-and-soul relationship.
Without chastity, we would be doing violence to our nature. We would open the floodgates to all sorts of immoralities and perversions. We would be spiritually blind and morally handicapped, since only the pure of heart can see God, as our Lord said. In this regard, we don’t have to look far to verify this truth.

Yet the enormity and complexity of the problem provoked by the non-living of chastity is also a great opportunity for us to have a deep conversion and return to God and to a straight and clean moral life. There is always hope, as long as we react.

Chastity starts when we fill our mind and heart with good things—love for God and for others, expressed always in deeds and not just in intention and words. We need to be driven by love. When we find ourselves idle, empty, or just languishing and drifting without clear directions, we have a problem that should be solved immediately.

Chastity gathers strength when we always pray, when we have the basic attitude of looking for God in everything and in everyone, able to refer everything to God. It grows to the extent that we give ourselves to the others, helping them in whatever way we can, avoiding self-centeredness and self-absorption.

Chastity is protected when we keep ourselves busy, when we make ourselves truly contrite in our confession and transparent in our spiritual direction, not afraid to be known as we really are and docile to follow the indications.

Chastity is defended when we wage a continuing battle against our weaknesses and the temptations around. We should never forget that our life is a warfare. We cannot afford to sit pretty and be complacent.

We should not allow our weaknesses and the temptations to chill us into discouragement. Rather they have to spur us to get closer to our Lord, and to use all the supernatural and human means available.

Sometimes the battles are no mere skirmishes but fierce hand-to-hand combats that can leave us deeply wounded. But it would be all worthwhile. With God’s grace and our effort, we are assured of victory always. Even our falls and mistakes can be victories if we know how to handle them and make use of them to get closer to God.

From the personal plane, we should try to bring the fight for chastity to the higher level of cleaning our environment morally. There’s a lot of pollution and corruption around—pornography easily accessible, public displays of indecencies, bad example from prominent persons, accepted social practices that are immoral, etc.

We should try to get our act together to wage this struggle with families, church, schools, government, etc., cooperating synergistically.