It is fitting on this feast of Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr, to offer some random thoughts on chastity, the joyful virtue.
Chastity leads to hope and to joy;
unchastity leads to despair and sadness.
Chastity delights God;
unchastity delights the devil.
Chastity opens the soul to God;
unchastity opens the soul to the devil.
Therefore, as Saint Benedict says, Castitatem amare,
Chastity facilitates growth in all the other virtues;
unchastity stunts growth in all the virtues
and, if unchecked, will contaminate and destroy them.
Chastity opens the door to Divine intimacy;
unchastity closes the door to Divine intimacy,
attracts evil spirits,
and provides ground for familiarity with them.
Chastity confers spiritual authority
and causes the soul to radiate a supernatural peace.
Unchastity destroys spiritual authority
and causes the soul to emit a sense of disquiet, trouble, and sadness.
Chastity is its own reward
in that it disposes the soul for familiar and continuous communion with God.
Unchastity is its own punishment
in that it makes the soul heavy and insensible to spiritual joys.
Unchastity infects the will with weakness,
pollutes the memory,
and darkens the imagination.
Even the body is affected adversely by unchastity;
it gives rise to psychosomatic complaints, fatigue, and restlessness.
It weakens the body’s resistance to illness
by strengthening the soul’s collusion with sin.
Ultimately, unchastity foments unbelief, despair, and hatred of God.
To set out on the path of chastity
is to set out on the path of joy
that leads to the ineffable sweetness of union with God.
The soul is created for Truth.
The soul yearns for Truth
and recognizes Truth when she encounters it.
The soul that feeds upon Truth
grows strong in goodness
and radiates a supernatural beauty.
Unchastity blinds the soul to Truth.
The chaste soul holds fast to Our Lord’s words,
“The truth shall set you free.”
Unchastity produces, in the worst cases,
an aversion to the Truth
and a contempt for Truth that causes the soul to repulse it.
Chastity flourishes in the light
and turns to it like the sunflower to the sun.
Unchastity darkens the mind
and causes the soul to prefer the cover of darkness to the light of Truth.
This is why unchastity always goes hand-in-hand with the vice of lying.
Unchastity finds it necessary to spin a web of lies around itself;
it thrives in the climate provided by error, lying, and deceit.
Chastity goes hand-in-hand with love for Truth.
It delights in what is beautiful
and pursues what is good.
It generates a climate of joy
in which the other fruits of the Holy Ghost
thrive and abound.
If you would be happy, be chaste.