What a beautiful gift Purity is! It is worth fighting for and brings its own rewards….and with it, many blessings from God!
Christ in the Home by Father Raoul Plus, S.J., copyright 1951
ON ONE occasion when Maurice Retour was talking with some comrades about his ideals of marriage, he saw some of them smile sceptically. He who had written, “Love has always been sacred to me. In its name I desired to remain faithful to my fiancee even before knowing her,” was to discover that all his companions did not share his noble sentiments, his desire for a chaste marriage.
That did not cause him to lower his standards. He simply tried to lead his companions to a more Christian understanding of married life and if he could not do that, he at least showed his displeasure and withdrew from the discussion.
Writing to his future wife, he said, “I have heard some comments about our future, each one more offensive than the other. But I pity these unfortunate individuals who have never known how to love truly, who have never experienced real intimacy with their wife, and who have sought nothing more than appearance or the satisfaction of their caprice.
They can say what they wish, they can tell me that I am young or even a little simple but I shall never change my idea. They can never destroy my confidence–first of all, my confidence in you because of God who has certainly protected me in order to find you . . . secondly, my confidence in myself, because I know that I am different from certain individuals about me and I am not ashamed to say so even if it does sound like pride on my part.”
If that is pride, it is permissible pride! Rather is it an expression of perfect mastery! It is the magnificent dignity of the Christian who knows, of course, that he is weak but who refuses to justify in advance his failings and cowardices, and who counts not upon himself but upon God for strength to persevere.
“Pay no attention to those who tell you I shall change,” he wrote. “Do not listen to those who say that men who marry young will become unfaithful later. No, I do not want anyone to believe such a monstrous thing of me.”
Who was to give him the strength to resist temptations which were always possible?
“The sacrament of our marriage will impart to us the graces necessary to keep our good resolutions. How few understand this sacrament! How few prepare themselves for it and expect to receive from it the graces it can give to those who seek them worthily.”
Noble and irresistible pleading! It recalls the words of Lacordaire, “When a person has not taken the trouble to overcome his passions and when the revelation of chaste joys has not come to him, he consoles himself with vices, declaring them necessary, and clothes in the mantle of pseudo-science the testimony of a corrupted heart.”
Surely marriage is a sacrament, but it is not a miracle. He who has prepared for it only by youthful escapades will possibly fail to remain steadfast. But can not he who has prepared himself by the chastity of celibacy for the chastity of marriage be trusted to preserve with the help of God, a chaste marriage?
“Clothe yourself with cheerfulness, which always finds favor with God and is acceptable to Him.” – Shepherd of Hermas, 1st century
Very very good reading, thank you so much! 🙂
St. John Chrysostom wrote much the same thing 1500 or so years before in his 9th homily on First Timothy:
As for teachings boy about purity, I personally think that the father’s role is paramount here. [At the same time, that doesn’t mean what Fr. Lovasik is wrong- see below.]
For one, to resist sexual sin and temptation requires courage and strength, and while those are female traits too, it is a male courage and strength which is required here. Only a father can so impart in his sons the conviction necessary to say “No” to the lures of the world.
Second, the way that a boy’s father treats his mother will shape his interactions with women throughout his life. A father who cherishes his wife, and loves her unselfishly will impart those same traits in his son. Such teaching through example will make it much easier for a son to love and respect his mother, and thus be more open to what they teach.