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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Ashes for Beauty: Five Reasons to Pray for Chastity this Lent

‘We don’t merely want to see beauty…we want to become beautiful.’ CS Lewis

Join us during Lent; each week we will consider a different facet of chastity and how God’s mercy frees us to realize its beauty. Perhaps this Ash Wednesday would be a good time to consider: do I know what chastity is? Have I realized it? What must I do to become chaste? Let’s explore this together for the next 47 days. Consider:

1. Chastity is Beautiful: I love chastity! I discovered its meaning in the Catholic Catechism—‘the successful integration of sexuality’ (#2337) within us, which occurs as faith guides and liberates our bodily longing for connection with others. What could be better than the power of our sexuality under the kind kingship of Jesus? Could it be that His generous self-giving might become ours in the realm of our bodily desires? Beautiful!

2. Chastity is honorable: People we love most are honored when we aspire to chastity. It means we are making decisions for another’s best interests. Chastity creates a ‘highway to holiness’ in the unseen realm of our thoughts and affections. In that way, chastity frees us to honor God ‘in our inmost parts’ (PS 51) and to prepare a way for generations-to-come to discover chastity and its benefits.

3. Chastity is Hard: Our world is crammed with values and symbols that disintegrate our sexuality. When we worship the creature and its demands, we split off from our Creator and become agitated and selfish. It takes effort and training to discover the One who composes us amid the moral storm and grants us peace. Inspired chastity frees us to say: ‘When I am in the storm, the storm is not in me.’ (Matt Redman)

4. Chastity requires Help: Chastity is at once a gift from God and a hard-won goal. Toward that end, we can humble ourselves and welcome the help of brothers and sisters. As sins against chastity love the darkness, we can come into the light of sweet fellowship and partner with fellow sinners equally committed to sainthood. The unchaste provoke relational brokenness; those committed to chastity create wholeness in community, beginning with the honest expression that ‘I am not where I want to be…’

5. Chastity requires Prayer: Jesus always hears ‘the cry for mercy.’ When we are bound to sins against chastity, we know deeply the shame and pain of our brokenness. We can know deeper still the cry for mercy which invites Jesus Himself to lift us from the mire and to help us discover the sure ground of chastity. Let us do so together this Lent.

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