Growing in Chastity

Chastity is associated with the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The pure of heart have the treasure of seeing God—the greatest gift of all. God loves purity of heart, because He can exist fully in a heart that is pure.

Chastity combats the ugly sin of lust. While lust is the disordered desire for or indulgence in impure sexual pleasure, chastity helps sexuality remain “personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman” (CCC 2337).

What is chastity?

“Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being” (CCC 2337).

Living with chastity

Chastity helps us bring our sexual appetites into agreement with our reason. Unchastity can leave us feeling empty. But God’s plan for us in living chaste lives is to allow us to experience the beautiful freedom, dignity, and love that He desires for us in our relationships.

3 considerations to help you grow in chastity

  1. Examine your closet. Do the clothes you wear emphasize the sacredness of your body? Do your clothes encourage others to look at you and maintain their purity and yours, or do your clothes encourage others to look at you with lust? Make adjustments if necessary.
  2. Think about the media you consume. Do the magazines you read, the sites you visit, and the shows and movies you watch build up the virtue of chastity? Or is the media you consume full of lustful images and messages that fight for your attention. Think about how you can adjust your media consumption to help you live a life that maintains your “purity of heart.”
  3. Reflect on your relationships—with your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, spouse. Does your relationship with your loved one uphold the dignity of both of you? How can you change things so that both of you maintain chastity and, as a result, have an opportunity to live with the freedom and love that God has in store for both of you? 

What do the experts say?

“Chastity is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.” –Blessed Pope John Paul II

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity” –1 Thessalonians 4:3

“But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” –Matthew 5:28

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” –Colossians 3:5

“Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.” –Blessed Pope John Paul II