Tuesday, 10 March 2009
From the Devout Life:
The chaste heart is like the mother pearl which can receive no drop of water but such as comes from heaven, for it can receive no pleasure but that of marriage which is ordained by heaven; beyond this it is not even permitted to think of it with a thought which is voluptuous, voluntary and deliberately entertained.
For the first degree of this virtue, take care, Philothea, not to admit any sort of carnal gratification that is prohibited and forbidden, as are all those which are taken out of marriage, or even in marriage when they are taken against the rule of marriage. For the second, refrain yourself as far as possible from useless and superfluous delectations, though they be lawful and permissible...
Keep yourself always close to Jesus Christ crucified, both spiritually by meditation, and really by Holy Communion; for just as those who take their rest upon the herb called agnus castus become chaste and modest, so you also, resting your heart upon our Lord who is the true Lamb chaste and immaculate, will soon find your soul purified from all defilements and impurities.
Chastity is a much undervalued virtue in our society, and I think that its implications reach far beyond what is directly sexual. I would suggest that sarcasm and cynicism can be an analogical abuse of chastity, because they seek to dominate over other people for our own gratification, and to make fun of a healthy innocence, as well as entertaining a certain weariness and distaste for what is pure and good. Sometimes in any institutional life, whether it be school, work, or even seminary, it is easy to fall into cynicism as a kind of coping mechanism, and it's something we must constantly guard against!