Spouse of Christ, Part II

I thought I would see if I could find a good quote or two in the Catechism to start this post about how my understanding of chastity has grown and developed since I learned about it as a religious vow almost ten years ago. So much has happened in all these years to form my understanding from further study, to teaching others about religious life, to prayer and reflection, to hearing of other’s stories, to my own unexpected journey in and out of religious vows. I didn’t know where to start writin. So when I opened the Catechism to Part 3 Life in Christ and began reading the Article on the Sixth Commandment that addresses the Church’s teachings on human sexuality, I was like wow! Everything so far from paragraph 2331 to 2350 about the equal dignity and complementarity of the sexes and the vocation we all have to chastity in one form or another is spot on with what I have been concluding and wanting to say. It is always comforting to find your ideas align with Church teaching, but I also realized as I read that ten years ago these paragraphs did not hold the same depth and meaning that they now have for me. At the moment, I can’t think of a better way to share some of these beautiful truths that I have been growing into than by selecting a few excerpts of what I began reading this morning in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the virtue and gift of chastity.

2331: “God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion...God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion”...

2338: The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him or her....

2339: Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom...2342:One can never consider it acquired once and for all....

2345:... The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.

2347: The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship!!!!


2349:...Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner...

2335:...The unity of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity...All human generations proceed from this union.

“There are three forms of the virtue of chastity...We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others...This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.” -St. Ambrose qtd in CCC2349

There is so much more I could include and a lot more to this Article about the different facets of chastity.

I am struck by how my concept of chastity has developed enormously. Initially, before religious life, I thought it meant merely keeping the moral law by maintaining continence outside of marriage. I was blown away by religious chastity in which one dedicates heart and body to God alone. But I found that the more I entered into this, the more I was able to love everyone else, that in fact I could not love others truly until I loved them in my undivided love for Christ. (Sometimes I might describe what I mean as loving Christ in others, loving others because Jesus loves them, or letting Christ who lives in me love them.) I began to understand that a deeper richer living of chastity was not limited to consecrated virgins and religious although it is exemplified by their radical way of life for the Church. Chastity truly is a call for all of us and touches all of our relationships, with God, with Spouse, with family, friends and all our fellow human beings.

I hope to conclude this reflection on being a Spouse of Christ in Part III, beginning where I left off in Part I with how various life changes since first vows in 2012 have altered my living out of the call to Christian chastity and pointed me where I seem to be to be going next in my adventure of trying to give my heart entirely to Jesus.

Be fruitful and multiply 😀

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