Chastity tempers, regulates and moderates our sexual desires, thoughts and actions.1
According to God, Adam and Eve were instructed to “be fertile and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Jesus affirmed this instruction by stating, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matt 19:6). Jesus teaches that through the covenantal oath of marriage and through the sexual union that ensues, the husband and wife become one. As a married couple, they are free to engage in sexual relations with each other; to bring forth new life, thusly fulfilling God’s command to be fertile and multiply.
Scripture dictates that sexual relations are reserved for married spouses only. Sex outside of marriage is deemed sinful, whether it be masturbation (Gen 38:9-10), bestiality (Ex. 22:18), fornication (1 Cor. 6:9-10), adultery (Ex 20:14, Mt 5:28; Mt 19:18) or sodomy (Gen 17:1-29, 1 Cor. 6:9-10). God commanded through Sacred Scripture that these forms of sexual acts are sinful. Bottom line – if you are single, you refrain from engaging in sexual activity. To do so is to live a chaste life, embracing the virtue of Chastity. If you are married, then you may engage in sexual activity with your spouse, thereby expressing your love for each other and openness to new life. This expression of love between husband and wife also embodies the virtue of Chastity.
Chastity assists us in our chosen vocation as a single, married, or religious person. Chastity calls upon the virtue of self-control to enable us to refrain from sexual activity outside of marriage.
How do we survive the cultural tsunami of sexual acceptance of sinful activity in the 21st century? We’ll address the answer to that question in our next reflection. Don’t miss it!
1 Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia Revised Ed. Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ed. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, p. 224, 1998, Print.