on chastity

by Andrea Elizabeth

The cure for lust is explained in Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet’s Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses as chastity. I was specifically looking for the place of pleasure in marital relations. Indeed it is more nuanced than the explanations about food. Marital relations are not to be despised as Paul explains in I Cor. 7. But the priorities are laid out as loving and obeying God first for the proper context, and receiving the spouse in Christ before physical pleasure. It is acknowledged that to be purely chaste and not ruled first by pleasure in marital relations is very challenging.

I understand that a monastic seeks to prioritize pleasure in God instead of the physical pleasures of marriage and food, and that there is compensation that a monastic can attain that makes him not miss natural pleasures. Also, that food and marriage can serve to teach us about the delight that can eventually be found in him when our world of necessity is overcome.