We concluded Bishop Barron’s 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Lively Virtues series on Sunday with the episode on Lust & Chastity. An act is considered lustful when it involves the sexual objectification of another person or when a person is used as a means to an end (sexual gratification/pleasure). 1 John 2:15-17 defines lust as love for things of the flesh and what we see in the world. It is an attachment to the pleasures of the flesh.
John Paul II warned that people can commit the sin of lust within marriage because ultimately lust is about objectifying an individual or thing for your self-pleasure. “The temptation to use people for own pleasure or purposes does not disappear just because you are married.” In that context, Bishop Barron went on to explain how you can only truly say you love someone when you don’t need them for any specific benefit/gratification and instead choose to love them for who they are and subsequently having sex with them as an expression of that love.
The virtue we are then encouraged to build up is chastity which even married people are called to because chastity is NOT celibacy. Chastity is a purity of mind, heart and soul. So you can be celibate but not chaste because of the kind of thoughts you have or acts you commit. The Catechism of the Catholic says chastity is “the integration of sexuality within the person.” In order to achieve this, one must undergo “an apprenticeship in self-mastery.”
Chastity is very important because if we do not learn to moderate our thoughts, they evolve into an avalanche of events that can result in negative consequences. A good example was how lust led David to commit adultery with Bathsheba and ended up ordering the murder of her husband. If we do not learn to be chaste now, we may struggle with fidelity in our marriages. In addition, we may be prone to the sin of adultery if we find ourselves in compromising situations because we have not developed this virtue.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20 encourages us to treat our bodies as “temples of the Holy Spirit.” We are not our own and we do not belong to our egos and their desire. Our salvation was paid for at a HIGH price so we are called to glorify God in our bodies.