Castitatem amare

MG_Brovelli.jpgIt is fitting on this feast of Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr, to offer some random thoughts on chastity, the joyful virtue. Chastity leads to hope and to joy; unchastity leads to despair and sadness. Chastity delights God; unchastity delights the devil. Chastity opens the soul to God; unchastity opens the soul to the devil. Therefore, as Saint Benedict says, Castitatem amare, "Love Chastity."

Chastity facilitates growth in all the other virtues; unchastity stunts growth in all the virtues and, if unchecked, will contaminate and destroy them. Chastity opens the door to Divine intimacy; unchastity closes the door to Divine intimacy, attracts evil spirits, and provides ground for familiarity with them.

Chastity confers spiritual authority and causes the soul to radiate a supernatural peace. Unchastity destroys spiritual authority and causes the soul to emit a sense of disquiet, trouble, and sadness.

Chastity is its own reward in that it disposes the soul for familiar and continuous communion with God. Unchastity is its own punishment in that it makes the soul heavy and insensible to spiritual joys.

Unchastity infects the will with weakness, pollutes the memory, and darkens the imagination. Even the body is affected adversely by unchastity; it gives rise to psychosomatic complaints, fatigue, and restlessness. It weakens the body's resistance to illness by strengthening the soul's collusion with sin. Ultimately, unchastity foments unbelief, despair, and hatred of God.

To set out on the path of chastity is to set out on the path of joy that leads to the ineffable sweetness of union with God. The soul is created for Truth. The soul yearns for Truth and recognizes Truth when she encounters it.

The soul that feeds upon Truth grows strong in goodness and radiates a supernatural beauty. Unchastity blinds the soul to Truth. The chaste soul holds fast to Our Lord's words, "The truth shall set you free." Unchastity produces, in the worst cases, an aversion to the Truth and a contempt for Truth that causes the soul to repulse it.

Chastity flourishes in the light and turns to it like the sunflower to the sun. Unchastity darkens the mind and causes the soul to prefer the cover of darkness to the light of Truth. This is why unchastity always goes hand-in-hand with the vice of lying. Unchastity finds it necessary to spin a web of lies around itself; it thrives in the climate provided by error, lying, and deceit.

Chastity goes hand-in-hand with love for Truth. It delights in what is beautiful and pursues what is good. It generates a climate of joy in which the other fruits of the Holy Ghost thrive and abound. If you would be happy, be chaste.