Thursday 12 July 2018

Living Fruitfully Chastity Learning from the Saints - Fr John McKeever

Living Fruitfully Chastity Learning from the Saints
Fr John McKeever
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784692001
eISBN 9781784694593

This is the fourth book in the Living Fruitfully series and 15th book from CTS that I have read in the last few months. These are great resources for personal, family and community use. This book, and the others in the Living Fruitful series are especially needed with all that is going on in the world today. The description of this book is:

"This latest title in the Living Fruitfully series addresses the provocative and often misunderstood subject of chastity. Too often considered an exclusively 'religious' option, the author makes the case for chastity, showing us that as a Christian virtue, we are all called to lead a chaste life in keeping with our particular state of life: whether married or single, ordained or lay, young or old.

The work draws heavily on the teaching and example of the saints, beginning with a retelling of the story of St Augustine and weaving gems from St Thomas Aquinas, St Philip Neri and many others. There is a specific chapter on tools and spiritual weapons for the fight against temptation, and a short selection of prayers to help readers striving for chastity."

And it is a fascinating little read. I have a religious studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought. I could have used this booklet as a resource during my university years. I would have drawn from it for several essays that I wrote. The chapters in this volume are:

A Moral Miracle
Life in the Spirit
The Beauty of Chastity
In Every Walk of Life
Weapons and Remedies
     Appendix 1: Examen
     Appendix 2: Prayers

This book opens with these words:

"Chastity is a term that is rarely heard nowadays. It may seem dated or even irrelevant in an era when sexual attitudes and behaviour are liberal and very much regarded as one's own business. The idea of having a set of rules or even a virtue to regulate sexual behaviour is unthinkable to many. Moreover, chastity is sometimes confused with celibacy, which is the choice not to marry and therefore to abstain permanently from sexual relations. Chastity does not mean simply not having sex. It means living sexuality in accordance with the truth of our human nature as it was created by God. This includes avoiding sex with anyone who is not one's spouse. But it also means knowing how best to love one's spouse, regulate one's fertility in a moral manner, and to live one's sexual identity as a man or woman in a way that respects one's own dignity and the dignity of everybody else. It is a way of loving that gives joy and life. As Pope St John Paul II said, "Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love"."

And it goes from there to explore what the church teaches about this fruit, chastity. It draws extensively from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, from YOUCat the youth Catechism. And also makes reference to the church documents; Humanae vitae, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio, and Deus Caritas Est

The final section of the book Weapons and Remedies begins with these words:

"In previous chapters we have already examined some ways of exercising chastity. Some ways, for example, prayer, are indispensable and are suitable for every person in every walk of life who wants to be chaste. Others might work for some but could be totally counterproductive for others. The main rule here is the rule of prudence, the mother of all virtues. St Augustine gives a very succinct definition of prudence as "love choosing wisely between the helpful and the harmful". It means applying our knowledge of moral principles to the individual situation at hand so that we can find the right means to achieve a good result."

What I love about this book is it is not a simple self-help book, do these 10 tings to be chaste. But it does provide a number of tools and tips and provides some guidance, so you can discern what methods work for you and encourages you to strive to live in that way.

Another amazing resource from CTS that I give my highest recommendation. A great book in an excellent series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley

No comments: