Lust is a vice because it does not honor the fullness of sex, and it alienates people from each other just when they are supposed to be experiencing intimate union. (“Glittering Vices” p. 165)
Lust is the habit of trying to engineer my own happiness for myself, on my own terms. In lust, my own pleasure is the goal, and I decide where to get it, and when, and with whom. (“Glittering Vices” p.167)
Chastity is a “pro-love” lifestyle, and therefore a virtue one needs whether single, married, old or young….Chastity is a positive project, a project of becoming a person with an outlook that allows one to selflessly appreciate good and attractive things–most especially bodies and the pleasures they afford–by keeping those goods ordered to the good of the whole person and his or her vocation to love. (“Glittering Vices” p. 178)
Questions for Reflection
– What is my understanding of and attitude toward my body, my sexuality, healthy relationships and what it means to be fully human?
– Where did I learn this? How does my faith influence this?
– How do we express our sexual desires in ways that respect our full humanness?
– How do unruly sexual desires deform my character, my perception, my capacity to love?
– How do my patterns of pleasure-seeking enhance or corrupt my relationship with God?
– How do we substitute sensual and selfish pleasure-seeking for fully human love-giving?
– How can we cultivate our character, inwardly and outwardly, so that our own sexual desires are not the lens through which we see the world and grasp at it?
– How can my life – my thoughts, my choices, my emotional responses, my conversation, and my behavior – make me a person who is best prepared to give and receive love in relationship with others?
Practices to Resist Lust and Cultivate Chastity
Ground Yourself in Good News
– Psalm 139
– Song of Solomon 8:6-7
– 1 Corinthians 6:13b-20
– Philippians 4:4-9
Raise Your Awareness
– What sorts of images, desires, and expectations fill our minds and feed our hearts every day?
– Do we get them from soap operas, romance novels, Internet porn, magazine ads and catalogs, shop windows, R-rated films, late-night cable shows, or the music we download?
– Do these sources speak truth about human sexuality and its goodness, or do they feed our lustful fantasies?
– What image or perception do we present of ourselves and our children to other people?
– What clothes do we buy that may promote lust?
– What language do we normally use to talk about each other and the opposite sex in particular?
– Research the devastating consequences of pornography or human trafficking.
– Keep computers in public areas, use filters and software to limit exposure and access.
– Make conscious choices about the music we listen to, magazines we read, TV and movies we watch, websites we visit.
– Do they glorify lust or do they glorify God in how they portray human bodies and relationships?
Be in Community and Be a Good Friend
– Surround yourself with people who share God’s values of love, faithfulness and honoring our full humanity in relationship.
– Share your struggles and keep one another accountable.
– “Good friendships teach us how to respect one another, to offer appropriate physical affection, to appreciate and care for others without looking for something in return, to trust one another.” (p. 178)
To channel and control our sexual desires is to empower ourselves to love. (Glittering Vices p. 178)