No Peace Without Chastity

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A Holy Abbess

The Benedictine–Cistercian calendar commemorates today Saint Franca of Piacenza, virgin (1173–1218). Franca was an intrepid monastic reformer. After enduring sufferings and persecutions as abbess of the Benedictines of San Siro, she became abbess of the Cistercian monastery of Plectoli, ruling her monastic family with maternal love. Franca was accustomed to spending entire nights in prayer to God in the oratory of the monastery. She died on the feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist, 25 April 1218.

The Collect of the Day

Only recently did I discover the beauty of the Collect given for the feast of Saint Franca. I don't how it escaped my notice until now.

Tua nos, omnipotens Deus, protectione custodi,
et castimoniae pacem mentibus nostris atque corporibus,
intercedente beata Francha virgine tua, propitiatus indulge,
ut veniente sponso Filio tuo Unigenito,
accensis lampadibus, eius digne praestolemur occursum.

Here is my translation:

Keep us safe, almighty God, by thy protection
and through the intercession of Saint Franca, virgin,
grant to our minds and to our bodies
the peace of a life that is chaste
,
so that at the advent of the Bridegroom,
thine only–begotten Son,
we may hasten forth to meet Him
with lighted lamps.

Chastity Produces Serenity

The Collect makes us ask, "for mind and body the peace of a life that is chaste." One might also translate the phrase as "for mind and body the peace that comes from living chastely." Serenity, or peace of mind and body, is one of the benefits of chastity.

That Terrible Itch

Those who have lived in unchastity — I am thinking, in particular, of Saint Augustine these days, but one might also allude to Mary of Egypt, to Charles de Foucauld, and to Julien Green — know the "itch" of restlessness that torments the mind and body. If you would know peace of mind and body, be chaste.

The Chaste Person: An Instrument of Peace

Rarely in our culture is chastity presented as a positive virtue. It is almost always mocked or disdained as the appanage of the inhibited personality when, in fact, the chaste person is wonderfully free and, therefore, at peace in mind and in body. Serenity is a fruit of chastity. The chaste person becomes an instrument of peace at home, in the Church, and in society. The unchaste person sows trouble wherever he goes.

How many readers of Vultus Christi have seen those bumperstickers in the U.S. that read, No peace without justice? Wouldn't it be splendidly subversive to have them read No peace without chastity?

7 Comments

I'm not American and haven't seen those bumper stickers, but I really needed this post this morning.

Thank you and God bless.

Chastity is, like other true virtues, a rightly-ordered desire, rather than a negation of desire. The secular culture can't tell the difference between destruction of our humanity (such as by living a life of lust, and fornication) and the destruction of the human desire (such as by buddhist/hindu absence of desire).

Chastity orders and controls, restrains, and purifies our humanity. For a single person, or for a consecrated religious person or a priest, it is a source of Grace when it is offered to God. For a married person, chastity is still a required virtue. The right order within marriage includes both periods of marital intimacy and periods of abstaining from it.

That orderliness of desire leads to greater fulfillment is obvious in other areas of life. For example, if you received $5 a week in an allowance, as a kid, you could buy a $5 toy the minute the money was in your hot little hands, or you could save up and buy something big. My first paper route gave me the money to buy my first computer. I still remember how hard it was not to spend the $10 a week I earned on something little.

Chastity is deciding not to fritter your sexual energy, indeed your entire life, away on something little, when you can save up that energy and use it in creative and orderly manner to fuel your whole being. Properly said, a chaste Catholic man or woman, is more fully alive, and more fully male or female, and thus more sexual, than the profligate person who lives in constant dissipation of their own vital energies. I realize that this view is old-fashioned, but it was never properly discredited, and was thrown away without having been properly discussed. I think it bears some re-evaluation.

+W+

Excellent post Don Marco.

Dear Don Marco: You may add to your list Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Margaret of Cortona and the Servant of God Dorothy Day.

I am interested to know more about Saint Franca being "an intrepid monastic reformer" and her enduring sufferings and persecutions as abbess.

Happy Feast of Saint Mark, Father!!

Happy feast day Father!
TN

Great post. I can definitely relate to the serenity of mind and body once chastity is embraced and lived. Go Courage!

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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