Presence of God – O Jesus, lover of virgins, make me understand the beauty of perfect chastity.
“Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
The grace of Baptism consecrates the body of a Christian, makes it the temple of the living God and a member of Christ. Hence every Christian has the duty of respecting his body, a duty which demands the virtue of chastity according to his state in life. Sins of impurity profane the body, the temple of God, and make the members of Christ “the members of a harlot” (1 Corinthians 6:15).
Outside of marriage, absolute continence is demanded of everyone without distinction. Conjugal chastity limits marital pleasure to the ends of marriage itself. Even as poverty frees us from slavery to earthly goods and regulates their use, so chastity frees us from the slavery of our senses and moderates their use. Hence the virtue of chastity is not restricted to those who are consecrated to God, but is a serious obligation for every Christian. Chastity of the body is not enough; we must also practice chastity of thought, desire, and heart, for Jesus has said, “The things that come forth from the heart … defile a man. From the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries” (Matthew 15:18-19). Chastity of body, therefore, calls for chastity of heart. Jesus strongly insists on this interior purity. “The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil, thy whole body shall be darksome” (Matthew 6:22-23).
“O Lord, all my hope is based on Your great mercy. Give me what You command, and command what You will. You command that we be continent. Someone has said that no one can be continent unless God grants it, but it is true wisdom to know from whom this gift comes. Continence brings us recollection and the restoration of that unity which we have lost in giving ourselves to too many things. He loves You less who loves, together with You, anything which he does not love for You. O love, ever burning and never extinguished, O charity, O my God, inflame me! You command me to be continent; give me what You command and command what You will” (St. Augustine).
O Jesus, make me understand that there is no greater honor for man than the one You do him when You deliver him from the “tribulation of the flesh” (1 Corinthians 7:28) and invite him to give himself entirely to You in the bond of perfect chastity. O holy bond which unites to God, who is infinite purity, a base creature, and raises him to the level of sharing in the immaculate splendor of divine virginity! O holy bond, which establishes an indissoluble union between God and man, which presents souls “as pure virgins to the one Man, Christ” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2), to be espoused to Him in faith and love!
O Jesus, Spouse of virgin souls, You who have said, “All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given” (Matthew 19:11), give me a better understanding of the great value of perfect chastity. What more sublime gift could I ask for and receive from You?
O Jesus, You who by calling me to perfect chastity have freed me from the cares of a family and from earthly affections, grant that I may not become egotistical, but may share in the most direct and intense way Your solicitude and Your life of immolation and sacrifice for the salvation of men and the glory of the Father. You want me to be a virgin that I may collaborate more intimately with You in the sublime work of redemption; and in the measure in which I give myself fully and generously to You, You will give me the gift of spiritual fecundity. O Jesus, tighten the bonds of my union with You, for this union will enable me to bring forth many souls to Your love and grace!
Note from Dan: This post on chastity is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on chastity: Saint Augustine, Philippe de Champaigne, between circa 1645 and circa 1650, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.