Sorry for not posting anything on Saturday. I was traveling without access to my computer. I had a great visit with most of my siblings and enjoyed the celebration of my brothers Jeff’s only son Jeffrey and Jeffrey’s marriage to his new bride Breanna. Pray for the young couple as they get ready to head to the Upper Peninsula as his begins his year of residency there.
Having missed Saturday, I wasn’t able to write to you about our last fruit of the Spirit – Chastity. It had been my understanding (for years) that this fruit is for the women of our world, but I’m here to tell you my understanding was WRONG because as a child of God and now a man of God, I am called to live a chaste life too. Here is a very basic definition of Chastity (from Wikipedia, of all sources)…
Chastity means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also means fidelity to husband or wife during marriage. In Catholic morality, chastity is placed opposite the deadly sin of lust, and is classified as one of seven virtues. The moderation of sexual desires is required to be virtuous.
As I continue to grow in my love of God and within that, my love of my wife, I know the true meaning of Chastity goes far beyond that definition. In order for me to love my wife completely, I cannot mistake the word love for sex. I cannot mistake the sacrament of marriage as an open invitation to have sex (and pardon my crassness here) anytime I damn well please. It took me a long – LONG – time to fully understand this and thank God my wife was willing to be patient with me as I came to this realization.
Marriage is a sacrament. Marriage is my – check that – OUR vocation to the Church. Marriage is a sacred covenant between a man, a woman and God to live their lives together as one; to live their lives praising God in all they do together. Although sex is an important component in any marriage, it is NOT the only thing that makes a marriage a loving one. Equally important in a marriage is sacrifice. The perfect example of love that God gave us was all about sacrifice. He sacrificed His only son to show how perfect is His love for us. We too are called to sacrifice and participate in that perfect love for our spouse, which why the fruit of Chastity is such an important part of one’s life – man, woman, child; single, married, religious. No matter who you are; no matter what vocation you’ve chosen for the Church; no matter if you’re still discerning your vocation for the Church – we are all called to live a chaste life.
I feel like I’m rambling on and I’m not sure if the point I’m trying to make is making sense. I went on-line and found a beautiful article written by Dawn Eden on the topic of chastity. Please take a few minutes to read this article.
To try and wrap things up, especially for the men who follow this blog, take up a devotion to St. Joseph. As I stated earlier, I struggled with the living “in this world” as apposed to merely being in this world but living for the next. It is hard to be chaste with all that surrounds us on a daily basis. There are so many media outlets that try to pull us away from being chaste and living as true men (women) of God. How I learned to combat those desires was to take up a strong relationship with St. Joseph. The more I contemplated on the complexities of the life of St. Joseph, I realized how holy, how strong and how St. Joseph truly understood what true love is…sacrifice. Too many of think that the saints are saints because they never sinned, they never had “unholy” desires. Truth be told, with the exception of St. Mary, every Saint carried the stain of original sin and every saint sinned. It was through that realization I came to understand that St. Joseph struggled with the same desires and wants that all men struggle with; the difference was/is, he was able to overcome those earthly desires and dedicate his life to the purpose God’s will. St. Joseph lived a life of chastity; St. Joseph lived a life true love where he sacrificed all of his wants in order to stay true to God’s wants. To make a long point just a bit longer, say a prayer to St. Joseph everyday to assist you in leading a blessed, holy and CHASTE life.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not Afraid.
Jesus, I trust in You.