Notes of City of God Book One (2): Chastity

Chapter 18  The question of violence from others, and the lust of others suffered by an unwilling mind in a ravished body.

I do not know why St. Augustine spent a great piece in the Book One discussing about chastity, but it is a really interesting topic even for today.  His beautiful writing does make me feel that Catholic ladies are the happiest ladies in the world. ( Being super proud of being the children of God. If there are something I can boast, it is the very thing I want to boast about!) Some people misunderstood the church by thinking that Church oppresses women because we over-emphasize on the chastity.

It is this world misunderstood chastity as a physical decoration, which could be easily destroyed. This world also misunderstood that “chastity” as a property so women can have the right to give it to whoever they wish. St. Augustine in Chapter 18 said that: “Purity is  virtue of the mind”.

What sane man will suppose that he lost his purity if his body is seized or forced and used for the satisfaction of a lust that is not his own? For if purity is lost in this way, it follows that it is not a virtue of the mind, it is not then ranked with the qualities which make up the moral life, but is classed among physical qualities such as strength, beauty and health, the impairment of which does not in any way mean the impairment of the moral life. (P28)

Purity is a quality of heart, we get that and sustain that by the grace of God. This is the reason why Jesus loves so many women who made mistakes or wrong choices before.  As long as their hearts are pure, they are  beautiful and even more beautiful.

In the chapter 28, St Augustine also talks about the “pride” of being chastity. Sometimes, we are facing  temptations. The Lord allows this happen to us for good reasons. One of the reasons is to knocked down our pride. Thinking chastity as a physical quality will result in many problems, especially it harms women. For example women lose confidence in God and in themselves after making the wrong choices. It is kind of sad. Chasity as virtue is not “one-time “thing which after you lose it and will never get it back. Chasity as virtue is grace from God, is a way to show loyal and confident in Him. As long as we don’t first forsake that, it will always be with us till the end of day.

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Book One (1)  Book One (3)

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