- Sr. Therese
Precautions for Preserving Chastity
Hello dear ones, may God bless you.
A certain day ago, I had a video chat with a friend. In my attempt to not offend him with a quick “see-you-later” chat, I tried to prolong the conversation by inquiring of him, “Well now that you have seen my face and all the Franciscan veil and habit, what do you think?” This question turned into a mistake because he at one turn praised in a certain way a part of my face, which flattered me, honestly. The next morning I notice a slight annoying temptation of Lust around me—the curiosity of the eyes to look at some pictures and at the same time noticing a temptation of stirring of the senses. I would close my eyes to visualize holy things—trying to visualize holy things and people, and the image is instantly twisted into something perverted.
I had an open door.
During my Confession the following day, my confessor advises me not to speak with this friend through video chats anymore, but only through emails or messages, if that is the case. Having been called and told by the Lord that there is a spouse that he has for me in my future days – my confessor advises me to keep myself chaste in heart and body for that man that the Lord chose for me. But in the meantime, to keep myself chaste for the Lord.
That same morning, I had taken three different readings from the Mother Mary book, “The Imitation of Mary”. One of the readings brought up Chastity, which in turn made me realize, telling this to Momma Mary, “That chat was it. Wasn’t it?” — thinking about the cause of that open door to the Lust temptation.
So, the chapter that Mother gave me about chastity was …
Chapter 10: Precautions for Preserving Chastity, from The Imitation of Mary book.
And I want to read only the words that stood out to me...
The chapter begins;
“… A soul that makes purity its treasure, like a delicate flower, it fears the least breeze. A glance, even a single glance, and it is on guard.
“A virgin who is well aware of the value of this virtue fears the more remote occasions that can lead to some offense against it. Flattery, engaging manners, innocent-sounding conversations: all these are suspect to such a soul and cause it to double its watchfulness and attention.
“How many people fall through idleness and easy life, through dangerous reading, and through conversations that are too free!
“Many Christian virgins converse frequently, and without any fear, with persons who are far from being angels. They say they are watchful with regard to their virginity, but they fail to recognize that the devil is also on the lookout to destroy them. A virgin who loves praise will not long remain indifferent to the person who bestows the praise. When purity is concerned there is every reason to fear, precisely because we never fear enough. We try not to see the danger in things we love. The proof that we love the danger is the effort we make to keep it hidden.
“We are all formed of the same dust. Like so many others we too may learn through sad experiences our own weaknesses. We can trust greatly in the help of grace, but this does not allow us to expose ourselves to danger. That help is guaranteed only to those who find themselves tempted without having sought temptation out.
“You may have overcome the enemy of purity for many years, but do not think that you are therefore invincible. Continue to be distrustful of all things, even of yourself. Be faithful in avoiding the daily occasions that lurk on every side; the devil is always ready to multiply them. Then God will give you the gift of fortitude in facing the occasions you could not foresee in which great virtue is needed if you are to overcome.”
Then at the end of the chapter is a prayer also. The prayer says;
“Virgin Mother of God, win for me the grace to distrust myself, to be prudent in action, and to mortify my senses; for all these are needed if I am to continue to be chaste.
“I cannot flatter myself that I belong (as I indeed wish to belong) among those who love you, if I do not love in a special way this virtue that was the source of all your greatness. ‘Mother pure and chaste, Queen of virgins’ (Liturgy), win for me the grace of a delicate purity. Then you will always find in me the mark that distinguishes your dearest children.”
That was the end of the chapter. And this is the end of the counsel Mother Mary gave me and all of us, about precautions to preserve chastity.
May God bless you with such watchfulness.