The close, almost cause-and-effect relationship between chastity and piety should be known, appreciated, and pursued as early as possible. It can be as early as at the childhood stage, since as we are told in a Wadsworth poem, “the child is the father of the man”—how a man is in his adult stage depends on how he was brought up as a child. In a sense, it is the child that begets the man that the child becomes.
We cannot deny that nowadays there is a huge, almost formidable crisis in this area of chastity all over the world. Cases of sexual addiction, infidelities, promiscuity, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, self-abuse and all sorts of sexual perversions are exploding like anything.
A number of factors can account for this sad development. Among others, we can point to the fact that there is now very easy accessibility to pornography via the Internet as well as a diminishing number of elements of deterrence to commit these disorders, since these sexual anomalies are fast being considered as normal. In fact, to talk about chastity is becoming a taboo these days.
Even the effort to launch sex education programs does not go deep enough as to get to the wellspring of chastity. Instead, people are simply taught some techniques on how to regulate the sexual urges, but without inculcating the proper spirit. With that state of affairs, these programs can only go so far in terms of effectiveness. And worse, they tend to arouse the opposite effect since they tend to elicit more immoral curiosities.
We need to remind ourselves that chastity, just like any other virtue, needs to be grounded on a life of authentic piety, of spirituality, of an intimate and abiding relationship with God from whom all good things come. Absent this grounding, chastity can only be at best a shell, a matter of appearance only, of some form of social or political correctness devoid of real substance. Such condition only leads to cases of hypocrisy.
Let’s never forget that man is both body and soul. And because of the spirituality of our soul, we are meant to unite ourselves to God, our creator who made us to be in his image and likeness. It is God who gives us the grace so that our natural disposition toward what is good that ultimately is God, is actualized. In other words, we are meant to live not just a natural life, but a supernatural life with God.
To be blunt about it, any virtue that we ought to have to develop our humanity to its fullness should have God as its cause and effect. It just cannot be the result of our human efforts alone. We need to ask and to correspond to God’s grace.
And the way to correspond to God’s grace has been shown to us and even given to us by Christ, the son of God who became man to redeem us, giving us “the way, the truth, and the life” that is proper to us.
A quick look at the life of Christ can tell us that we have to learn to pray, to offer sacrifices, to deny ourselves and carry the cross, to live a certain detachment from the things of the world, etc.
Of course, it is a formidable task to truly follow Christ’s example, and so we just have to do it as early as possible with the appropriate means and timing, considering the different conditions we all have.*