Purity is the lily among virtues--by it men approach to the
Angels. There is no beauty without purity, and human purity is
chastity. We speak of the chaste as honest, and of the loss of
purity as dishonour; purity is an intact thing, its converse is
corruption. In a word, its special glory is in the spotless
whiteness of soul and body.
No unlawful pleasures are compatible with chastity; the pure
heart is like the mother of pearl which admits no drop of water
save that which comes from Heaven,--it is closed to every
attraction save such as are sanctified by holy matrimony. Close
your heart to every questionable tenderness or delight, guard
against all that is unprofitable though it may be lawful, and
strive to avoid unduly fixing your heart even on that which in
itself is right and good.
Every one has great need of this virtue: those living in
widowhood need a brave chastity not only to forego present and
future delights, but to resist the memories of the past, with
which a happy married life naturally fills the imagination,
softening and weakening the will. Saint
Augustine lauds the purity of his beloved Alipius, who had
altogether forgotten and despised the carnal pleasures in which
his youth was passed. While fruits are whole, you may store them
up securely, some in straw, some in sand or amid their own
foliage, but once bruised there is no means of preserving them
save with sugar or honey. Even so the purity which has never been
tampered with may well be preserved to the end, but when once that
has ceased to exist nothing can ensure its existence but the
genuine devotion, which, as I have often said, is the very honey
and sugar of the mind.
The unmarried need a very simple sensitive purity, which will
drive away all over-curious thoughts, and teach them to despise
all merely sensual satisfactions. The young are apt to imagine
that of which they are ignorant to be wondrous sweet, and as the
foolish moth hovers around a light, and, persisting in coming too
near, perishes in its inquisitive folly, so they perish through
their unwise approach to forbidden pleasures.
And married people need a watchful purity whereby to keep God
ever before them, and to seek all earthly happiness and delight
through Him Alone, ever remembering that He has sanctified the
state of holy matrimony by making it the type of His own union
with the Church.
The Apostle says, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord:" (1) by which holiness he
Of a truth, my daughter, without purity no one can ever see
God; (2) nor can any hope to dwell in His tabernacle except he
lead an uncorrupt life; (3) and our Blessed Lord Himself has
promised the special blessing of beholding Him to those that are
pure in heart.