For the next few weeks I will be dedicating Sundays to a discussion on the 7 Heavenly Virtues and 7 Deadly Sins that are contained within the Catechism of the Catholic church. I do not expect or want you to all agree with me, and I do not speak for the Catholic church. The following reflections on these virtues/vises is my own opinion and nothing more. I would hope you’d all be intelligent enough to understand this, but I’m posting this disclaimer just in case.
Chastity is, in my opinoin, one of the most misunderstood virtues. Most people would define it simply as “refraining from sex until marriage.” The dictionary defines Chastity as “the state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse.” Wikipedia defines it as,
“Abstaining from sexual conduct according to one’s state in life; the practice of courtly love and romantic friendship. Cleanliness through cultivated good health and hygiene, and maintained by refraining from intoxicants. To be honest with oneself, one’s family, one’s friends, and to all of humanity. Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought-through education and betterment. The ability to refrain from being distracted and influenced by hostility, temptation or corruption.”
However, I think there is a much deeper meaning to Chastity that is at the center of what makes this quality a virtue. If you set aside the portion of chastity concerned with sex there is still an entire sphere of your life where being chaste, pure, honest, and wise are all important. At its core chastity involves abstaining from anything that conflicts with your doing good.
You cannot be chaste when something else is more important to you than causing good by your actions.
In order to display chastity one must put doing good above all else. Chastity involves, at its core, putting yourself in situations where you may do good, and avoiding situations that distract you from doing good.
In my opinion, you do not have to be a virgin in order to be chaste. Chastity, in its simplest form, is acting out of love. This involves love for both yourself and for others. It involves the deepest kind of love – not a sexual or vain love – but the love that makes you truly care about what happens to the person who is loved.
Chastity is doing what is best, because it is good. Yes, making the chaste decision is difficult, at times painful, and not always fun. But, it is good, and wholesome, and leads to benefit. That is why we must all demonstrate chastity. That is why being chaste in ALL areas of your life is of upmost importance, because without chastity we are all simply slaves to our desires and can never be completely fulfilled.