Chastity; an attainment for eternal life
Chastity; an attainment for eternal life
By Nakato Doreen
The Catholic Church provides us with 7 virtues, one of which is chastity. Chastity goes beyond the body and affects one’s soul. It is often confused with continence (not having sex or not using the sexual faculty) and celibacy (the state of being unmarried).
Chastity is the virtue of being sexually pure and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It calls for the maintenance of the integrity of sexual powers as man is either governed by his passions or is dominated by them. It takes on different forms depending on one’s state of life; married or single/ celibate. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "All Christ's faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life," and to be saints. It means that we are called to live our lives in a way that manifests the dignity of the human being by acknowledging our sexuality as a gift from God. When this gift from God is used in accord with His Will, we give glory to God and actually build up the Kingdom of God by being faithful to our state of life. The marrieds must practice conjugal chastity, that is, sexual purity with only their wedded spouse as marriage should be honored or else be judged accordingly (Heb 13:4) while the single must practice continence/ sexual abstinence. Like St. Ambrose noted, “we don’t praise one to the exclusion of others, all of them are good if only we respect our calling.”
Chastity is an attainment for eternal life as fornicators/ adulterers can never inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6: 9-10/ Eph 5: 3-5) and my dears, if not heaven, where to then? Chastity involves the totality of a person; mind, body and soul. It is a life style that involves every aspect of life, everything we do, the friends we make, the dress code/ fashion, what we read and watch etc, because we have got to pursue excellence and integrity. Chastity does not tolerate a double life, it is a choice to either live a life of sexual purity or not. One cannot be both and in Rev 3:15-16, God says “since you are neither cold nor hot, but only lukewarm, i will spit you out”. Like with freedom, for whatever choice made regarding chastity, one cannot choose the consequences. Chastity is the habitual moderation of the sexual appetite in accord with right reason in conformity with God’s eternal law not merely worldly reason, which sees any sex which avoids unwanted pregnancy or disease as “reasonable.” Sadly, the world has set unGodly standards that even Christians have fallen prey to them despite St. Paul’s appeal to us not to conform ourselves to worldly standards but offer our bodies as living sacrifices, acceptable to God (Rom 12:1-2). People don’t determine our destiny, God does and He’ll definitely remember every sacrifice you have made.
Sex today has lost its God-intended value that it’s often played with whenever one feels like and with anybody, no wonder contraceptives, abortions and other effects of sexual immorality/misuse are on the rise. It is good to always remember that sex is the most perfect gift of self, made from God in holy matrimony and nobody likes anyone to play with any of their gifts and so, sex should be treasured and respected. For whatever reasons one has for immorality/misuse, it is important to know that God created us for a purpose, He knows what we were put here to do. He knows the calling on your life, an assignment to accomplish and a destiny to be fulfilled while with sin, this cannot be achieved. The Lord in Prophet Isaiah says that it is because of our sins that he does not hear/ answer our prayers as sin separates us from him (Is 59:2) and in all honesty, many Catholics are receiving the Holy Eucharist yet using contraceptives and others having condoms in their pockets and yet they are aware of the Catholic Church’s stand and it’s teaching of Natural Family Planning (NFP). For the single, using such is a pretense for sexual purity while among the married, its failure to master/ control themselves in case of infidelity and also not appreciating God’s purpose for sex. For the marrieds, endeavor to learn about NFP and its benefits and you will understand and know why the Church is for it.
In all, Jesus said, “Pray that you don’t fall into temptation, the spirit is willing but the body is weak.” (Matt 26: 41), Jesus knows and understands the weaknesses of our human nature and it is only by him that all is possible and his grace is sufficient. Pray that you are not tested (Lk 22.40) but it is also true that one cannot be tested beyond their strength (1 Cor 10:3). It all starts with us and how ready we are to keep His commands depends on us, it is a choice! He is a God of restoration, mercy, and compassion, no matter what has gone wrong in our life, God never disqualifies, and He never writes us off. God is calling you to start a new chapter in your life, repent and experience His true love as He wants you and me to set a new standard and honour Him wholeheartedly in mind, body and spirit (walk the talk of faith!) because it will not only affect you but it will also benefit your children, grandchildren and the future generation.