Part 2: Chastity & Happiness

6 01 2010

Two questions to ponder:

1. What exactly is Chastity ?

2. Why can it bring happiness?

Chastity is the virtue that directs our sexual desires and attitudes toward the truth of love. Stop!  What’s virtue?  Virtue is a firm habit of doing what is good. To view chastity as a positive virtue we must see that it is much more than abstinence, which means “not having sex”

Chastity falls under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which is the virtue of controlling and moderating our desire for pleasure, enabling us to enjoy pleasure in good things the way that God intends. But chastity is not merely learning to control one’s desires. It is really about learning how to love another rightly. JP II showed that a life of chastity is one that loves responsibly and purely, embracing the responsibility that comes with love, rather than running from it. Chastity says “yes” to the demands of love, while also fighting the selfish desires of lust. Only then can we say “no” to choices that actually rob us and others of their dignity.

If we bottle up our sexual energy and attempt to ignore it, this could lead to sexual repression, which is actually an unhealthy response to the sexual gift. So neither repression nor indulgence of lust is the proper response to the sexual gift. Neither is what God would intend for us. What God does call us to is a healthy chastity, through which we acknowledge the power of our sexual desires and guide them with the deeper desire to love. Chastity is seen and lived as a life-giving virtue; it leads to happiness. This is why the Church teaches us that, “man. ..  cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”

Love is not just about feeling good, although this is a part of love. Love is an active decision. It is a decision to give oneself to another and to do so totally. JP II uses the term total self-donation for this type of giving.

Dominus vobiscum et cum spiritu tuo!

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