St. Paul to Timothy, I, chapter 5, verse 22 —
this is the will of God, your sanctification;that
you should abstain from fornication; That every one of you should
know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour: Not
in the passion of lust, like to Gentiles that know not God. (.
. . ) For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification.
Therefore, he that despiseth these things, despiseth not man,
but God, who also hath given his holy Spirit in us.”—
Thess. 4. 3-5, 7, 8. —
OUR BODY MUST SERVE OUR SOUL AND GOD
Man is made
of body and soul united to form one human person and so body and
soul must work together in all human actions. The soul is superior
to the body but it can only act by using the body as its instrument.
If, for instance, a man desires to give an alms to a poor person,
the desire is in his mind and will, which are powers of the soul;
but the soul must use the hand, which is part of the body, to
give the alms.
the Body serves God
home to ourselves more clearly how necessary the body is for God's
service, we may consider the various actions that we must perform
to worship Him and sanctify our souls. We see at once what an
important part the body plays in them. Even to think of God we
must use our brain. To speak to God in prayer, we must use our
lips and tongue. Our bodies enter into the reception of all the
sacraments. In Baptism, the water is poured on our heads. In
Confirmation, the chrism is applied to our foreheads. In Extreme
Unction, the holy oil is applied to all our members. In Confession,
we must speak our sins. In Matrimony, the bride and bridegroom
must utter the words of consent. At Ordination, the Bishop lays
his hands on the heads of those to be ordained and they touch
the sacred vessels with their hands. Above all, in the sacrament
of God's love, the Eucharist, the body has the supreme honour
of receiving Our Lord's Body and Blood under the appearances of
the Consecrated Host.
of the Holy Ghost
does the body serve the soul in all these ways in the task of
sanctifying itself but it is also the dwelling place of the soul
thus sanctified and so may truly be called the dwelling place
to Preserve the Body
the body plays such a necessary part in all our actions for the
service of God, we have the duty to preserve its life and health
so that our service may be more perfect. Furthermore, if we have
the duty to do this, we have also the right to do it and
no-one else can interfere with that right.
SIXTH AND NINTH COMMANDMENTS
shalt not commit adultery"
shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife"
human body is so honoured by God, it follows that we must honour
and respect our own bodies and those of others. The virtue which
helps us to do this is called the Virtue of Chastity. It is also
called the Virtue of Holy Purity. Another name for it is the
Angelic Virtue because the Angels, by their very nature, are free
from any temptation against it.
of the Sixth Commandment
of the sixth and ninth Commandments is to secure this honour and
respect for the human body. The sixth Commandment forbids any
impure action whether committed alone (such as masturbation) or
with another person as well as all looks and words contrary to
the virtue of holy purity.
Commandment forbids especially adultery which is a serious sin
against holy purity committed with another's wife or husband.
Married persons have a special obligation to observe holy purity
because husband and wife belong to one another in soul and body
by the sacred Sacrament of Matrimony.
goal of marriage being the procreation and the education of children,
it follows necessarily that "every action which, either
in anticipation of the marriage act or in the accomplishment of
that act, or, in the development of the natural consequences of
that act, proposes, either as an end or as a means to make procreation
impossible, is unlawful in itself. In other words, any such contraceptive
act is wrong in itself." (Archbishop J. C. McQuaid)
means direct preparation for matrimony. You date because you
want to get married. Of course, you cannot get married to someone
you do not know. Therefore, you date to know someone you intend
one day to marry.
Needless to say, courtship is dangerous for the soul. "The
spirit is willing," said Jesus, "but the flesh is weak.
Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation." (St.
Matthew, 26, 41.) It is already a mortal sin to expose oneself
voluntarily to a near occasion of mortal sin. Therefore, according
to the circumstances, dating may or may not be sinful. It is
permissible when three conditions are fulfilled: 1) when both
are mature enough to get married; 2) when the dating can lead
to a future marriage; 3) when the man has the means to support
the purpose of dating is to get to know each other but it is not
a rehearsal of the married life. Behaviour between prospective
partners must be limited to what is allowed between a brother
and his sister. The certain sign of a future good marriage is
a clean courtship.
conscience will tell us what actions are contrary to the virtue
of holy purity but if we are uneasy about the matter, we should
ask the advice of our parents or our confessor.
Commandment also forbids looks and words against the virtue of
chastity because these also lessen the honour and respect which
we should have for the human body and because they may lead on
to actions against chastity.
you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God?
Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
nor the effeminate, nor liars with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous,
nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the
kingdom of God." (1 Cor. 6, 9-10)
of the Ninth Commandment
contrary to chastity are wrong, it follows that it is wrong to
think of them or to desire them. God has made this clear by the
ninth Commandment. We should, however, remember the difference
between temptation and sin. Sometimes young people are worried
by unchaste thoughts which keep troubling them. The Catechism
tells us what a person should do when troubled in this way. We
should pray for grace to resist the temptation, turn our thoughts
to something good and occupy ourselves with some work or amusement
which will distract us from the bad thoughts. It is also good
to do some small penances, as Jesus said: "This kind of devil
is not cast out but by prayer and fasting." (Mt. 17, 21)
If the thoughts remain in spite of all efforts to get rid of them,
there is no sin. Sin only occurs when the thoughts are deliberately
beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves
from carnal desires, which war against the soul." (1
Peter 2, 11.)
Virtue of Chastity - Help to All Virtues.
are young, we should try to form a great esteem for the virtue
of chastity, or holy purity. Chastity is a wonderful help to
all the other virtues. If we can conquer our passions when they
tempt us to sins against this virtue, we shall find it easy to
conquer our other passions. Our Lord gave special praise to chastity
in His Sermon on the Mount when He said: "Blessed are
the clean of heart, for they shall see God." (St. Matthew,
gives Nobility to the Soul and is Esteemed by Men.
does indeed give nobility to the soul. Those who practise it
develop moral strength and their actions, words and thoughts are
worthy of sons of God and brothers of Jesus Christ. On the contrary,
those who sin against chastity degrade the human nature that God
has given them.
In the esteem
of men, those who are chaste are looked up to whilst those who
are unchaste are despised. We may notice this with regard to
any of our companions who may indulge in bad conversation. They
may, perhaps, cause a laugh by it or get a reputation for being
more knowledgeable than others but secretly those who hear them
have a feeling of disgust for them.
gives Joy to the Soul
gives great joy to the soul. Those who are chaste know that they
are fulfilling God's will by showing honour and respect to the
body which is His temple. They realise that God sees them always
and are happy in the knowledge that they never do or say anything
that they would be ashamed of in His sight. On the contrary,
sins against chastity are followed by a great sense of shame and
beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God,
your reasonable service." (Rom. 12, 1.)
OF GUARDING THE VIRTUE OF CHASTITY
A. The chief
natural means of guarding chastity is to avoid all dangers
to that virtue, such as bad companions, improper dances, immodest
dress, company-keeping (except with a view to marriage), and immodest
books, plays and pictures.
work. If we are diligent in our school work and any other
work we may have to do, we shall have no time for temptations
against chastity. Diligence in work also strengthens our will
so that we can better resist temptation. Even when we are free,
we should always try to have some occupation and not spend our
time lazing, day-dreaming or just knocking about. We can help
our parents in the home, enjoy some hobby or good reading, play
games or go on excursions with good companions.
Spirit of Mortification. Consider that if we conquer ourselves
in other things, we shall find it easier to conquer temptations
against chastity. So to conquer greed and the desire for comfort
is a help in preserving the virtue of chastity.
(a) We need
grace to resist all temptation and prayer is one of the great
ways of obtaining grace.
(b) By prayer
we fill our minds with holy thoughts and our hearts with holy
of the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist: These
are again great ways of obtaining grace.
By going regularly to confession, we guard ourselves against carelessness
in the matter of chastity. If we have the misfortune to fall
into a sin against this virtue, the confession of it brings home
to us the evil of it. We also receive a special sacramental grace
to help us to avoid further sin. In confession, the penitent
should be humble and sincere about sins against chastity and should
not try, through false shame, to make less of them than they are
in reality. Thus it would not be enough to say that one had had
bad thoughts, if in reality some action had been done. On the
other hand, there is no need to go into unnecessary details about
such sins. It is enough to confess that one yielded to some thought,
desire or action contrary to chastity and, if there was any such
action, whether it was done in company with another or not.
Holy Eucharist: All the saints and Fathers of the Church teach
that the reception of Holy Communion is one of the most powerful
of all means for obtaining the virtue of chastity. In Holy Communion,
we are united with Him who is all pure, the Son of the most pure
Virgin Mary. It is only to be expected that, among the many graces
which the Holy Eucharist gives us, there should be included a
special grace to keep ourselves pure in mind and body.
for the Body as Temple of the Holy Ghost:
We have seen
that when a soul receives sanctifying grace, the Holy Ghost comes
to dwell in it in a special way. But the body is united to the
soul to form one person and therefore the Holy Ghost dwells in
it also. St. Paul speaks of our bodies as "temples of
the Holy Ghost." (1 Corinthians, 6, 19.)
of the presence of the Holy Ghost in both our soul and body should
give us a great horror of sins of impurity which violate the temple
in which He dwells. If tempted to commit such sins, we should
pray to the Holy Ghost within us, that He may help us to preserve
that temple undefiled.
to Our Lady:
is our Mother. Every mother watches with loving care over her
child and wishes to protect him from harm and help him to grow
in health and beauty. So our Mother Mary wishes to preserve in
us the beautiful virtue of chastity. If we ask her, especially
through the Rosary, she will obtain from her Son the grace we
observe the familiar practice of saying every morning and every
night, three Hail Marys; adding to each the aspiration: "O
Mary, through thy Immaculate Conception, make my body pure and
my soul holy." (300 days indulgence, morning and night.)
THE POPE SPEAKS
not be surprised, beloved Sons, if, in speaking of courage, We
wish to emphasise precisely the word personal. To form
a united group as compact as yours is, animated not by desires
of violence but determined to defend properly and loyally the
highest and the most sacred desires - this is certainly an excellent
thing; everyone supports everyone else, mutually, fraternally
and, in this way, daring becomes easier.
courage must be shown, even if, in some place or other, at a certain
moment, because of particular circumstances, you should find yourselves
in the minority, few in number, perhaps, even alone, faced with
an adversary bolder and more numerous. Be ready to resist to
the end, against them all, in your affirmation of the law of God,
in the defense of the faith and of the Church - should we add
today also, in the defense of order, of progress and of social
peace, on every occasion that the common good requires your collaboration?
Look at the
first martyr, St. Stephen: one against them all, to the very end.
He surpassed, even in intelligence and wisdom, his cruel foes
who were unable to answer his argument and his proofs. (Acts,
6, 10) It is men like that who are needed by the Church and by
society. (Pope Pius XII to the Youth of Rome, Dec. 8, 1948.)
Believing, Living, Holy.
thoughts, your aspirations, your ideals, can be read on your faces;
they resound in your acclamations. But nevertheless, since you
expect a norm and a directive from the Father of Christendom,
We intend to take it from the treasury of truth and virtue contained
in the name which you bear: 'Catholic Youth,' that is to say,
youth believing, living, holy.
believing: it is youth which has noble aims - the reality,
the power and the value of which it is thoroughly convinced.
Youth which did not have such aims and such a conviction would,
by that very fact, put itself outside the struggle; it would be
dejected, scattered, reduced to powder by the strong and opposing
pressures of contradictory ideas and movements.
You, on the
contrary, have those noble aims; you wish to work for God's cause;
you profess openly and in a virile fashion your faith in God;
and you are reaching out with all your energy "like a torrent
which a high spring thrusts" wherever the irreligion of the
modern is to be conquered, wherever God is to be kept for your
dear country. You wish to work for the cause of God and of his
Church. (. . . )
have before you truly noble aims: the noblest that youth, with
its thirst for the ideal, can propose to itself; the only ones
which do not deceive and leave the souls disappointed; the only
ones which carry with them the certainty of final victory.
youth: the Catholic faith, the Church, is life. Messenger
and mistress of peace and of love, the Church for two thousand
years has nonetheless found herself constrained against her will
to defend herself against the ever-renewed assaults of her enemies,
whether open or hidden. But she does not fear; she is old but
she is also eternally young; she has a history of inexhaustible
richness, but she is not lost in that history; she is never solely
of the past but always and primarily of the present; she lives
in time because she is always for the here and now, for problems
and their solutions, for the men who are today living on this
earth. (. . . )
too, wish to be a living youth, a youth which integrally and courageously
translates its convictions into action. You will do this first
of all in yourselves; then you will do it all together in the
various sectors of life; so that the family may remain Christian;
the school not act against the Church and the Christian family,
but in harmony with them; (. . . ) that all public life be ordered
to promote the general good and not particular interests of one
party. (. . . )
youth: that is to say robust but humble, knowing that
with its own unaided strength it cannot make the grade, cannot
face up either to interior foes or exterior; consequently, a youth
which prays daily, and draws with fervour upon those springs of
supernatural life which stream so abundantly from the Church of
A holy youth
that is to say pure. You wish to be a youth "without
fear and without reproach." We can even say "without
fear because without reproach." A pure heart and a spotless
conscience give us the right to look every man in the eye with
serenity, and every event too, even death and above all God, who
knows all things.
A holy youth:
that is to say a respectful youth - with respect for parents;
respect for authorities, ecclesiastical and civil; respect for
the experience of one's elders; respect for women and girls; respect
for all who bear the human stamp. You can work toward your ends
by every morally licit means which the law puts into your hands,
but always respect the man, even when he is your adversary.
A holy youth:
that is to say a youth full of Christ. Bear Christ in
your mind by his teaching; in your will by the observance of his
law; in your heart by the Holy Eucharist. Christ must always
rule and dominate your will and your action. For Him no sacrifice
is too much; with Him all is possible: "Jesus Christ, yesterday,
today and the same forever." (Heb. 13, 8.)
Pius XII to a Youth Movement, Jan. 4, 1948.)
write unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word
of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any
man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him.
all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and
the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is
not of the Father, but is of the world.
the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he
that doth the will of God, abideth for ever."
St. John 2, 14-17.
VIRTUES OF PURITY AND CHASTITY
BEST PREVENTIVE MEANS TO FIGHT ABORTION.