The Key to Purity
The important component of purity is Reverence.
The pure man always lives in an attitude of reverence for God and His creation and therefore respects sex as God Sacred gift to man, which has a profound, divinely ordained meaning. Indeed, a pure man understands that sex belongs in a special manner to God and that he may only make such use of it as God has sanctioned it. Only with God’s express permission may he eat of the fruit of this tree. Nothing reveals more clearly the presence of a mystery than this need of a special sanction from God to enter the sexual domain. In contrast to the innocuous sphere of eating and drinking or that of intellectual activity, the domain of sex belongs in a unique fashion to God.
Man must regard himself as God’s steward, not as his own master.
Moreover, this mystery which is attached to sex, even as an objective reality, results from its quality as revealed. Man must feel for sex an awe which no other sphere demands — an awe which permits his access only if God in a special fashion should give him leave, as He gives it in the sacrament of matrimony.
For the truly pure man the bond with wedded love and the intention of a common life to last till death are not sufﬁcient; he requires further the speciﬁc consciousness of God’s express sanction, the knowledge that it is only by divine permission that he lifts the veil from this mystery, an attitude which can be paralleled elsewhere in the religious sphere. And even when he may lift the veil, he will never abandon himself without restraint to the pleasure of sex.
A pure man is always modest. He walks with God, and he never departs from the Divine Presence. He does not hide from God, like Adam after the Fall. He will never consent to anything incompatible in its quality with the light of holiness which shines upon us from the countenance of Jesus.
Within his soul an indeﬁnable “something” always abides in unclouded light; his spirit is neither corroded by the intoxicating poison of sex as its own end nor infected by the oppressive sultriness which distinguishes the zone of evil lust. His soul is steeped in a peculiar light, radiant and clear; there is in him no twilight or dusk; he is surrounded by no atmosphere heavy with poisonous perfume and in which it is impossible to breathe freely. No cloud darkens his spirit as it “shines” before God.
He remains a vessel in which the light which ﬂows forth from God can unfold without obscuration; his soul shines before God because it reﬂects His glory.
Moreover, a peculiar peace has possession of his entire being; not inwardly alone, but outwardly to the world, his soul reflects something of His peace who is called “our peace and our reconciliation.” But only the soul that is ﬁlled with love can be pure in this positive sense; the cold and proud spirit can never possess this unclouded light.
Purity is further characterized by a humble sincerity. The pure man sees himself as a sinner, but for the help of God’s grace, of being submerged at any moment by the ﬂesh. He recognizes the fact that he is human and never forgets that “the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” He does not imagine himself made of other material than ﬂesh and blood and inaccessible to the weakness of the ﬂesh.
Therefore, simplicity, sincerity, and humility are almost as essential to true purity.