By Engr. Carlos Cornejo
Chastity might be an impossible virtue to practice in today’s pornographic world. It is said that in the olden days if you need access to pornography you will have to look for it, nowadays pornography looks for you.
That’s how tough the environment is and that is how easy you could fall into this trap. But practicing chastity by relying on our will power alone would never work. I must say chastity is not a human virtue but a supernatural one; meaning without God’s help we will not succeed. It is such a spiritual virtue that the old Christian tradition would refer to those who are able to practice it as angelic or someone who is like an angel.
St. Thomas Aquinas for example is called an Angelic Saint because he was given a special gift of chastity. He never had strong lustful temptations anymore after he drove away a prostitute that was offered to him by his relatives while being imprisoned. His brothers imprisoned him and offered him a woman to prevent him from becoming a priest.
With St. Thomas’ lucid and clear mind, he was able to write brilliant treatises about God in his masterpiece Summa Theologiae. It was not a coincidence that he had a gift of chastity. Chastity made St. Thomas think clearly because it helped him regulate his evil passions that hinder the ability to see the truth. Chastity is a pre-requisite or a requirement to spiritual wisdom.
Being prayerful and lustful don’t mix. Lust is a blinding vice that makes persons unable to appreciate spiritual things. Thus Herod, who was a bi-sexual, never saw the spiritual dimension of Christ when he met Him. He was only interested in the astonishing miracles of Jesus. In response, Christ just went silent and never spoke a word to him. The prayers of a lustful person are said to fall into the deaf ears of God.
To practice the virtue of chastity, spiritual tradition would recommend seven ways. These are keeping ourselves busy (since idleness is a workshop of the devil and a magnet of many sins), regular prayer at least 15 minutes per day, regular confession, acquire a spiritual adviser (a priest or a holy ordinary person) who guides you in your spiritual life, avoid occasions of sin (e.g. bad websites, bad magazines, bad movies and bad friends), have a devotion to your guardian angel (especially when bad thoughts come), as well as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (by praying the Rosary) and more frequent participation in the Holy Mass.
The overall aim of these spiritual weapons is to be more aware of God’s presence in our daily lives. Often times when we are tempted to sin, evil becomes very apparent, very real and very tempting in the guise of a pleasurable and instant good while the moral good or the real good is obscured or hidden. Of course, if sin did not offer any pleasure, we would all easily become saints. To overcome evil therefore, we have to put the moral good more clear and more perceptible than evil. And goodness has not only become present and real it has become a Person: Christ. That’s why the best weapon against sin is living the presence of God. Prayer, going to confession, attendance in the Holy Mass, devotion to our guardian angel, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary etc., will not just make us become more intimate with Christ but actually changes us into another Christ. “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)