I’d like to illuminate chastity and write a great tool I heard about at a talk I went to a while back.
First of all, It’s Important to ask this question: What it Chastity? Why is is a burning fire? Isn’t that something to avoid contact with because of burns, perhaps? Fire burns, sure, but it’s ALIVE. It’s active. It’s real. It glows with the weight of existence.
Chastity is NOT mere abstinence. My friends, Chastity is not an absence, a lacking, an empty hole, or a giving up, or a deep darkness of despairing depression. Chastity is much more than not kissing, or keeping your emotions dead, or friend-zoning yourself.
Chastity involves a shift of focus. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you words straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.’
You hear that, brothers and sisters? Chastity is the successful integration of body and soul. It’s the SELF MASTERY of ordering your wants and desires to your current state in life. It’s unity of body and soul. CCC 356 basically explains that the unity of Body and soul is so profound that the two natures actually form a single nature: Human being. Chastity is a means(among all the other virtues that are also necessary) of being more Human, being who you are, being yourself. Ergo, when things are in order you become a BLAZING FIRE! In order to better understand chastity in a very practical way, we’ll use the chair analogy.
The chair represents a relationship with any particular person. like most chairs, this chair has four legs. Each leg of the chair represents an aspect of any relationship: physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional. When all of the legs of the chair are the same length, the chair is comfortable. Things work. When one of the legs is shorter or longer than the others, it can be difficult to balance. For example, I might be in a relationship with someone who is really, really attractive but has the intellectual capabilities of a small rock. If I am in a relationship with this person and I enjoy intellectual pursuits such as reading and engaging in deep, philosophical discussions or whatever else, we’re not going to have a great friendship, marriage, relationship, whatever. The aspects of your relationship should also match the context of what’s right according to your state in life: single, married, priestly, consecrated. If I’m in high school and thinking about marriage, I’m forgetting my state in life. If I’m married and thinking about the wrong woman, I’m an idiot. State in life is the back of the chair. The legs should match the seat and back, right? So all of the legs should fit the context of your state in life. When you have the right back of the chair, the legs are all the same length, and the chair is made for you(Jesus was the son of a carpenter…), you can sit pretty comfortably. It’s a good chair.
So, when you sit with people, keep your chair in proper shape. I have seen that the chair analogy has been an extremely valuable means to evaluate relationships. Chastity is being the best self that you are in the context of your state in life. Rather than simply refraining from things, It transcends such emptiness and reaches into the blazing fire that is wholeness of existence.
Happy sitting, my friends.
P.s.- Believe it or not, if you are single right now it means you are called to single life. If you are married right now you are called to married life. God’s call isn’t some far off thing in the future, it’s now. If he wants you to change seating, he’ll let you know. Just ask St. Paul. Read 1 Corinthians 7:20 (through the end of the chapter). Edit: That basically means you’re called to holiness, now, in whatever state of life you’re in. Sometimes we try and run away or escape. Be content. The kingdom is in your midst. Seek it where you are(that is, if you are where you should be. If not, get there!).