Chastity and Happiness

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 Happiness “a Hundred Times Over”

 If someone were to ask “Is celibacy easy?” the answer would have to be “For him with a Hero to follow, a Bride to love, a Battle to fight, a Mission to pursue, a Fatherhood to live, a Homeland to reach, and the Woman clothed in the sun to inspire him, it becomes easy by the mysterious alliance of intensely felt motives, constant self-conquest, prayer and grace.  For we can never forget for a moment that here we must deal with two worlds: the higher world of the supernatural and the fallen world of our psychology, society and the powers of darkness.  For sacred chastity to stand, both upright nature and the supernatural must stand on each side of her.Then sacred chastity becomes a source of powerful happiness just as He promised: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands -with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mk. 10:29-30)

“At-one-ment” with Jesus Christ: Fulfillment of Man’s Aspirations for Friendship

The journey of the soul of the man by which he gradually comes to an “at-one-ment” with Jesus Christ will be discovered by him to be the fulfillment of all that he ever desired to have in human friendship.

Every friendship brings a bonding between two people due to the discovery of common interests, aspirations, values.

Nevertheless any human friendship, including that of marriage,no matter how vibrant, is incapable of filling the aspirations of the human heart, male or female, for fulfillment. This is true because the human heart is infinite in its aspirations for happiness. It can only be filled by the Infinite, by Him who is its Creator and its Destiny. As St. Augustine expressed it: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee”.

In man’s relationship with Jesus Christ he is not dealing only with a human person but with a divine person, with him who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, with Him through whom the universe was created, with Him in whose mind since all eternity one has existed as an idea, as an object of love.“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God” (Benedict XVI)

It is Him, and through Him the Blessed Trinity for whom our hearts, in perennial quest of love, friendship, happiness, find their utter fulfillment. This has been the discovery of countless Christians, eloquently encapsulated within the memorable words of St. Augustine: “Too late have I known thee…”

“They are happy, whose strength is in you,

In whose hearts are the roads to Sion.

As they go through the Bitter Valley

They make it a place of springs

The autumn rain covers it with blessings.

They walk with ever growing strength….” ( Psalm 84)

                        How could you not be joyful in sacred chastity? You are giving your life to God who is Truth, Goodnes, Love, Energy, Omnipotence…and joy! All the joys of human existence, as splendid as they are, are merely echoes of divine joy:

 The faint, far-off results of these energies which God’s creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds  are what we now call physical pleasures; and even thus filtered, they are too much for our present management.  What would it be to taste at the fountain-head that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. [i][i]  (C.S. LEWIS, The Weight of Glory)

If you mature with the fire of the divine life (sanctifying grace) strong within you, the flame of sacred chastity will continue to burn brightly illuminating your whole being.  There will be no dried-up anemic lethargic spirit characteristic of both celibates and married men who have ceased to love but a vibrant, maturely enthusiastic spirit, radiating a deep joy that will never cease to both fascinate and infuriate a world that does not understand – or want to understand.  And you will discover with the passage of the years the truth that “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure” (Tennyson, Sir Galahad).

History gives proof of the truth of this fulfillment time and again.

This is the deep sentiment in the hearts of countless young men and women who have made the costly sacrifice for sacred chastity: yes, they deeply valued human love but they had come –in their own degree – to St. Augustine’s experience of Jesus Christ, to the love of the “Beauty ever ancient, ever new”. Such was the case with the young Karol Wojtyla: I will answer you briefly. In this domain I have received more graces than battles to fight. A day came when I knew for certain that my life would not be fulfilled in human love the beauty of which I have always felt deeply.”   

A priest about to be guillotined during the French Revolution said to his executioners – “My heart is too big for this world, and nothing here can satisfy it”.  He had experienced a love for which he had once made a “martirion” (“witness”) by sacrificing marriage and now for the same love he prepared for the “second martyrdom”.

Thus countless men echo the inspired words in the Psalms which reveal that the result of close following of God’s pathways is always a journey of joy:

“And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever”.(Psalm 73:25ff)

“As a deer longs for running streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and behold the face of God? (Psalm 42)

 

“How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.

My soul longs, yea faints for the courts of the Lord:

my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the Living God”. (Psalm 84)

Thus, any fear that a lifelong commitment to Christ and His Cause through sacred chastity will result unfulfilling is proved false. As Benedict XVI stated:

“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.”

And the fulfillment of the joy found in “at-one-ment” with the Lord Jesus Christ will be to see Him, the Hero whom we have accompanied through Middle-Earth, hearing blessed words of which echoes were heard in Frodo’s words to his loyal companion at the downfall of Sauron, “I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam”