November 2019 Print

Letter to a Young Man on Purity

By Fr. Vincent Gélineau

Dear Augustine,

Having just arrived at law school, you discover a moral void that distresses you. Your fellow-students in the lecture hall are much more interested in the famous Thursday night parties than by the subtleties of the Civil Code. You know very little about these parties, but what they say is enough to dissuade you: girls, alcohol, drugs, “music” that’s more than doubtful…this frivolity sickens your Catholic soul. You remember these terrible orders of the 19th Century Italian Free-Masons: “It has been decided in our councils that we don’t want any more Christians, let us not make martyrs, but let us popularize vice amongst the multitudes—that they breathe it through all five senses, that they drink it, that they are saturated by it. Make vicious hearts, and you will no longer have Catholics…In order to demolish Catholicism, it is necessary to begin by suppressing women. The word is true, but since we cannot eliminate the woman, let us corrupt her along with the Church.”

You feel it: this revolutionary propaganda, which aims at moral decadence, can be reduced to the promotion of the sin of impurity, this sin so attractive which drives so many souls to hell. You also, you fear to be carried away by this current, because the temptations are violent and you are lucid about your weakness.

In order to encourage you, remember those models who enthused your adolescent heart. Remember the freshness of the life of St. Dominic Savio, and at the same time his firmness on this subject. Remember Pier Giorgio Frassati, that young Italian student, radiant with joy, with piety and purity, who died suddenly at 24 years old, in 1925. How many young people, young women, were edified and consoled by the simple reading of his life.

The pure soul imposes respect, quite simply because it governs itself. It controls all its passions; it knows how to master itself. I know that you are well aware of the quality of education that your dear parents gave you. You do not wish to disappoint them. Like them, you are proud to be Catholic. You desire to be an example and a leader for classmates who have not received the same education. In speaking with them, you realize the damage of an education without God, where the practice of virtue is non-existent, and where egoism is king. Nothing in them sets a barrier to impure temptations. They do not even consider the thought of fighting against them because they do not understand their malice. Nothing like what you knew living with your family, where you practiced all sorts of virtues following the good examples of your parents. Without telling you, they have prepared you for these combats that you are undergoing. They have armed you for victoriously resisting temptations and not losing sight of this ideal of your younger years.

You do not yet know what you will do later in life, but remember well these energetic words of Luce Quenette: “Virginity prepares for everything, as well for marriage as for a religious vocation. It is essentially the same apprenticeship: to reserve oneself for one alone.” He who does not know how to preserve himself does not know how to give himself.

“A beautiful ideal,” you tell me, “but so easily forgotten at the hour of temptation.” Do not believe too easily that it will be impossible. The grace of God is all-powerful. It is for us to remain faithful to Him. Keep your good habits of piety: prayer, regular confession, and communion. Reject firmly dangerous occasions: these doubtful parties which your fellow students love, these unhealthy movies which nourish what remains of their imagination. Monitor your smartphone, which wishes to control everything; do not let it play nasty tricks on you.

And above all, do not regret having mortified the pleasures of the world and its spirit in order to keep your soul pure. The demon of impurity wishes to seduce us, by proposing to us easy pleasure. See further ahead. What do these lamentable pleasures give? There is of course an eternal hell, but already on this earth the consequences are dramatic: divorce, contraception, abortion…

Therefore, dear Augustine, do not be discouraged. Your purity will be the strength and the honor of your future family. Do not lose this treasure along the way. May the Most Pure Virgin protect you.