St. Ambrose On Chastity

Recently I was reading some of the letters of St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan who helped bring St. Augustine back into the church.

His writings are filled with pithy wisdom, like this short sentence on chastity:

Chastity is increased by its own sacrifices.

What more can be added to that? No matter where we are in our journey towards chastity, the little efforts that we are able to make build up the strength of that virtue like exercising builds the muscles of the body.

Sometimes all we can do is a little bit. But over time, those little bits add up to big bits. By the grace of God the virtue of chastity can be built up in us , one little sacrifice at a time.

The key is to keep trying. As so many of the saints have said before, God doesn’t put a premium on success. Any success we have in building any virtue is by his grace alone, but he wants us to at least want to grow in virtue, and to keep trying the rest of our lives, with a firm intention to try to overcome whatever weaknesses we have. Where we fall short, he delights in giving us the strength to overcome.

It’s good to remember that God is pleased with even the “widow’s mite.”

Maybe someone reading this is addicted to porn–even choosing not to turn on the computer for one evening is a sacrifice that leads to chastity. Perhaps someone reading this is caught up in the thrill of hooking up each weekend. Even one weekend of not hooking up is a sacrifice God is pleased with, and it is a sacrifice that leads to chastity, and to freedom and peace.

St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, who famously said, “give me chastity–but not yet, Lord!”, pray for us.



2 thoughts on “St. Ambrose On Chastity

  1. Dan, in gratitude for giving spiritual bread to those searching for the consolation of truth in relation to Chastity, I am confident this is your road to being a fruitful branch on the vine Jesus. I remember Mother Teresa telling the us not so much to come to Calcutta, but to see the Calcutta where you are planted and bloom where you are planted. The secular world of SSA is a spiritual Calcutta that goes deeper than the world can admit. ……thanks again for your support and encouragement for those in deepest need of the bread of truth you hand out in this webpage.

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