Conflict with the world, promised to us in the gospel by the Lord.
As we discussed a little bit yesterday, controversies have arisen on a number of legal and political fronts, to the point where it gets confusing, even overwhelming—certainly dispiriting.
But can’t we boil all the conflict down to one essential core? Namely, the virtue of chastity.
If we focus our eyes on Christ the man, the beautiful light of virtue that shines out of Him comes from His perfect, chaste love.
The word ‘chastity’ suggests restraint, mortification of the flesh; chastity requires a struggle for power between your mind and your body. The word suggests a hard battle because chastity does, in fact, involve a hard battle, the battle of a lifetime, the struggle for genuine human maturity, honesty, integrity.
But Jesus Christ—and His young Mother—have shown us why the battle is worth fighting. We do not struggle with ourselves because human love and desire are evil. We fight the battle so that we can love and desire as the beautiful man Jesus Christ loved and desired, and as the beautiful woman Mary of Nazareth loved and desired. It’s not that our bodies are evil, or that the opposite sex is evil. Our bodies—the body of a man and the body of a woman—our bodies are so lovely as the temples of our souls—and of the Holy Spirit of God Himself—the human animal possesses such dignity, such genuine spiritual luminosity, such intellectual potential—the whole package is so thoroughly awesome that we have to rule our bodies with our minds in order to be true to how amazingly attractive we really are.
Now, of course we freely and humbly acknowledge that chastity entails a monumental struggle for everyone. The epitome of all manliness made love to His Bride by dying on the cross for our sins. Without the shedding of His Precious Blood to cleanse us, would there be a chaste Church? Certainly not. We make no pretense of being anything other than the worst of the worst—were it not for the Gift we have received from above.
But can we hesitate to proclaim that Christ offered Himself on the cross to free everyone from the chains of confusion, dishonesty, and pain that inchastity always lays around the bodies of its victims? Did Christ not win for Himself a Bride without spot or wrinkle, who takes Her place before Him in Her various ranks and states of life, united by the common virtue of chastity—the virtue of never betraying the truth by a selfish sexual act?
If we have conflict with others because we act impatiently, or make rash judgments, or close our minds with stubbornness, then may God forgive us.
But if we have conflict because we love and serve Jesus Christ, the chaste Savior of mankind—then to Him be the glory.