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Chastity vs. Abstinence?

Are Chastity and Abstinence the same thing? NO

Is Chastity good and Abstinence bad? NOT REALLY

Let’s look at this comparison chart to see some of the differences between chastity and abstinence.

Chastity
Abstinence
Identity related – Who I am Chastity is becoming a virtuous person in every aspect of who I am. I reverence God’s gift of sexuality. Behavior related – What I do Abstinence is a conscious decision I make to abstain from sexual behavior / sexual intercourse.
When I practice chastity, I say “Yes” to channeling sexual desire into loving actions. When I abstain, I say “No” to sexual desire.
When I live chastity, I gain self–mastery When I practice abstinence I practice self-denial.
When I practice the virtue of chastity I receive a gift from God, a grace – the fruit of a spiritual effort. The practice of abstinence helps me learn to wait – to delay gratification.
Chastity helps me become more Christ-like. I imitate the purity of Jesus. Abstinence is an act of my will that avoids acting on sexual desire and passion.
Chastity is a virtue for my whole life whether I am single, married, or vowed religious. Abstinence can be a right choice for me at a particular time in my life.


So then, abstinence is a good behavior in its own right. Abstinence actually can be the restraint needed to better practice the virtue of chastity. But because chastity is a virtue it is so much more than abstinence.

Chastity is living with our sexual desires rightly directed. To love another sexually is to respect the dignity of the person, to reverence the gift of his body, and to restrain oneself in a manner that always puts the good of the other ahead of one’s own desire.

As Pope John Paul II said, “Chastity frees love from selfishness and aggression.” If Christ-like love is the purpose and meaning of our life as sexual persons then chastity is one of the virtues that enables us to fulfill our purpose.

What can help us grow in the virtue of chastity? What can help us grow in all the moral virtues related to chastity like, modesty, humility and purity of mind and heart?

First of all, it is important to grow in your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ through study: Religious Education classes, Youth Group, retreats, books, and good websites. Prayer and regular Mass attendance and receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist are essential for growing in virtue.

And as a reminder here are some Practical Tips for Chastity for Girls and Guys.

Practical Helps for Chastity for Guys
Practical Helps for Chastity for Girls
Choose friends who share your values.
Hang out with guys who will help you make good choices.
Be proud of practicing chastity and share it with your friends.
Choose friends who share your values.
Make friendships that will help you make good choices.
Be proud of practicing chastity and share it with your friends.
Don’t be a fool and depend on yourself alone.
Become a young man of prayer and stay near to Christ.
Receive Eucharist and Reconciliation often. God always forgives.
Have purity and modesty in your thoughts, words and actions
What you see & hear you will start to think; what you think will lead to how you act.
Choose books, music, & movies about pure friendship & romance. Fill your mind & heart with goodness.
Be modest and respectful in conversations, texting and on-line.
Show others the real YOU! SPICE (Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, Emotional)
Your SEX is who you are as a man, not something you do.
Develop each of the spokes on your SPICE wheel.
When your self-esteem “tire” is low remember the “rim” – your true worth.
Advertise your SPICE! Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, Emotional, YOU!!
Develop each of your SPICE petals; rejoice in and realize your uniqueness as an image of God.
Your SEX is who you are as a woman, not something you do. Present the total YOU to others.
What you look like may be what guys notice first, but how you act is what they remember most.
Keep your thoughts, words and actions clean and pure
Garbage in/Garbage out! Seeing & hearing Thinking Actions.
Use clean language and be respectful in your talk, texting and on-line.
Walk away from friends who talk disrespectfully about sex, women or the body.
Sacraments and daily prayer will give you strength to practice virtue.
Receive the Eucharist and Reconciliation often. God always forgives.
Tune out and turn off unchaste media.
Have the courage to leave a movie, change a channel, put down a magazine, get off-line, or delete a text message if it is not respectful and chaste.
Guard your hearts and minds.
Remember Jesus and Mary are with you always, wanting what’s best for you.
Tune out and turn off media messages that promote immoral, unchaste behavior.
Have the courage to leave a movie, change a channel, get offline, & delete a text message if it is not respectful.
Guard your heart and mind.
Remember Jesus and Mary are with you always wanting what is best for you.
Get used to saying “NO!”
Say “No” to temptation by getting involved. Get busy with athletics, projects, service or friendships.
Involve yourself in activities that use your talents and share your gifts with others.
Be involved, be helpful, and be busy. Chastity is about loving well by making a gift of yourself to others.
Treat girls with respect and reverence as images of God.
Remember that a girl’s body is God’s dwelling place. Treat her with respect.
Expect her to treat you with respect.
Treat boys with respect and reverence as images of God.
Remember that a boy’s body is God’s dwelling place. Treat him with respect.
Expect him to treat you with respect.
Your life is a gift from God; make a gift of yourself back to God and others by the way you love.
Love is more than a feeling. Love is a decision; a choice to treat everyone with respect, reverence and restraint.
Your life is a gift from God; make a gift of yourself back to God and others by the way you love.
Love is more than a feeling. Love is a decision; a choice to treat everyone with respect, reverence and restraint.


Also for a good explanation of chastity check out these videos!
Why Chastity: http://www.youtube.com/user/jasonevert#p/c/128EFC02351EB007/24/UOKlBs9Tdjc

What is Chastity?: http://www.youtube.com/user/jasonevert#p/c/128EFC02351EB007/25/BZajdR6Q-Lw


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