18 year old college babe ... committed to chastity

Monday, December 08, 2003

From an email to a friend in August:

"A commitment to chastity has to be whole and entire, and permanent. It shouldn't and oughtn't and will not, if properly formed, dissolve once it has "served its purpose", if you will (in avoiding temptation within a dating relationship). I think this is the attitude of too many, and can be easily adopted without realizing it. Chastity is for the married, the unmarried, the celibate, the discerning. So if we are properly formed in chastity as one dates, one will, if one maintains it, be properly formed in it in a married vocation, even if the way of living it is different.

This is not to put the focus on chastity and only chastity as the only virtue ever -- this is, in fact, impossible (explained in a moment); however it is extremely relevant to our current respective statuses in life. Keeping chaste will have an effect not only on our minds and hearts but also to our actions outside of situations which specifically call for chastity itself. I.e., self-mastery is undoubtedly a good part of chastity, and also a large part of both prudence and temperance (and Aquinas*, would say, justice). Thus, in practicing a part of chastity, we also learn the cardinal virtue of temperance and also prudence (and also justice). And if we get a foot in the door of learning these virtues and be open to the graces of the Holy Spirit, it is no great step to learn various other virtues which descend from the cardinal virtues.

Also Aquinas says somewhere about chastity (and by extension true love, about which Charles Williams also writes) that (roughly) a chaste body contributes to an unhindered studiousness and intellect. Aquinas places special emphasis on this, I think, but in actuality any sin hinders the intellect (as understood as a wholly spiritual -- and thus incorruptible (though darkened because of the fall) -- power). If the intellect, being a wholly spiritual power, is not led entirely by the graces of God, it cannot function rightly, and by extension neither can the will. Thus in essence, sin makes one stupid. It is, frankly, stupid to sin, contrary to reason.

Personally I find anti-rationalism compelling enough to mentally not want to sin. Of course, who really thinks about sinning, in the sense of wanting to sin as an end in itself? No one, really (Augustine would disagree, but I think Aquinas is more right here).

Let's see if I can tie these jumbled thoughts together, I kind of got off on a tangent, and these thoughts aren't quite as clear as they first seemed, possibly because I haven't had a whole lot of time to really think about them, and possibly because it's three in the morning.

Well I think it all, again, harkens back to the right order of things-- if desires and wants and actions are all rightly ordered, one will be rightly ordered in ways one would have never thought of. I wouldn't have ever, on my own, made the connection between chastity and the intellect. But again, if one is not blinded by sin to seek after apparent goods in the place of actual goods, the intellect will have less (capacity? opportunity?) to be deceived.

Hmmm... that's kind of redundant.

Anyway. Those are my random jumbled thoughts on chastity.



* in a quick perusal of the Secunda Secundae Partis, q. 151 on chastity most specifically in its relation to purity, I don't think Aquinas is 100% correct. Of course he is approaching this from a medieval standpoint, when the whole view of the human body (this being before the Renaissance) is a bit off. He's still, I think, working from the same mindset as Augustine when he spoke of the marriage act in a disparaging tone as a necessary evil for the continuation for the human race and the abating of the lusts of man. Or something like that.

I'm smarter than Aquinas.

*gets hit by lighting*

Of course, there is the possibility I'm reading him wrong, but the whole understanding of the question seemed to be steeped in the aforementioned medieval flaw. I'll have to check on it when I'm more mentally sharp. "

Happy feast of the Immaculate Conception!

From the Akathistos hymn, "the most famous Byzantine hymn to the Virgin Mary":

(favorite titles italicized)

Hail, O you, through whom Joy will shine forth!
Hail, O you, through whom the curse will disappear!
Hail, O Restoration of the Fallen Adam!
Hail, O Redemption of the Tears of Eve!
Hail, O Peak above the reach of human thought!
Hail, O Depth even beyond the sight of angels!
Hail, O you who have become a Kingly Throne!
Hail, O you who carry Him Who Carries All!
Hail, O Star who manifest the Sun!
Hail, O Womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Hail, O you through whom creation is renewed!
Hail, O you through whom the Creator becomes a Babe!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O hidden Sense of the Ineffable Plan!
Hail, O Belief in Silence That Must Be!
Hail, O Forecast of the Marvels of Christ!
Hail, O Fountainhead of truths concerning Him!
Hail, Celestial Ladder, by whom God came down!
Hail, O Bridge leading earthly ones to heaven!
Hail, O Wonder, ever-thrilling to the angels!
Hail, O Wound, ever-hurting to the demons!
Hail, O you who gave birth to Light ineffably!
Hail, O you who told no one how it was done!
Hail, O you who surpass the wisdom of the wise!
Hail, O you who enlighten faithful minds!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Tendril whose Bud shall not wilt!
Hail, O Soil whose Fruit shall not perish!
Hail, O Tender of mankind's loving Tender!
Hail, O Gardener of the Gardener of Life!
Hail, O Earth who yielded abundant mercies!
Hail, O Table full-laden with appeasement!
Hail, for you have greened anew the pastures of delight!
Hail, for you have prepared a haven for the souls!
Hail, acceptable Incense of Prayer!
Hail, Expiation of the whole universe!
Hail, O you Favor of God to mortal men!
Hail, O you Trust of mortals before God!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Mother of Lamb and Shepherd!
Hail, O Fold of rational sheep!
Hail, O Protection against unseen foes!

Hail, O Key to the Doors of Paradise!
Hail, for the heavenly rejoice with the earth!
Hail, for the earthly meet the heavens in song!
Hail, the Unsilenced Voice of the Apostles!
Hail, the Undaunted Might of Martyrs!

Hail, O Steadfast Foundation of Faith!
Hail, O Shining Emblem of Grace!
Hail, O you through whom death was despoiled!
Hail, O you through whom we were clothed with glory!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Mother of the Star Without Setting!
Hail, O Radiance of the Mystical Day!
Hail, O you who quenched the flame of error!
Hail, O Light of those who search the Trinity!
Hail, O you who unthroned the Enemy of Men!
Hail, O you who showed forth Christ the Lord, Lover of Mankind!
Hail, O you who cleansed us from the stain of pagan worship!
Hail, O you who saved us from the mire of evil deeds!
Hail, O you who made cease the cult of fire!
Hail, O you who guide the faithful toward wisdom!
Hail, O you, Delight of all the Nations!

Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Resurrection of mankind!
Hail, O Downfall of the Demons!
Hail, O you who crushed the error of deceit!
Hail, O you who exposed the fraud of idols!
Hail, O Sea who drowned the symbolic Pharaon!
Hail, O Rock who quenched those who thirst for Life!
Hail, O Pillar of Fire who guided those in darkness!
Hail, O Shelter of the World, wider than the clouds!
Hail, O Food who took the place of Manna!

Hail, O Handmaid of holy delight!
Hail, O Land of the promised good!
Hail, O you who flow with milk and honey!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Blossom of Incorruption!
Hail, O Crown of Self-mastery!

Hail, O you who shone forth as a Sign of Resurrection!
Hail, O you who displayed the Life of Angels!
Hail, Fruitful Tree from whom believers feed!
Hail, Shady Glen where many are sheltered!
Hail, O you who have born the Guide of the Lost!
Hail, Source of Life to the captives' Release!
Hail, O you who unsettled even the Just Judge!
Hail, Indulgence of many who have fallen!
Hail, O Stole for those who lack freedom to speak!
Hail, O Tenderness who exceed all desire!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Space of the Spaceless God!
Hail, O Gate of the Sublime Mystery!
Hail, O Message unsure to men without faith!
Hail, O Glory most certain to those who believe!
Hail, O Sacred Chariot of the One above the Cherubim!
Hail, Perfect Dwelling of the One above the Seraphim!
Hail, O you who reconciled opposites!
Hail, O you who combined maidenhood and motherhood!

Hail, O you through whom Paradise was opened!
Hail, O Key to the Kingdom of Christ!
Hail, O Hope for the Ages of Bliss!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Container of God's Wisdom!
Hail, O Treasury of His Providence!
Hail, O Reproof of foolish philosophers!
Hail, O Confusion of speechless wise men!
Hail, for you perplexed the inquisitive minds!
Hail, for you dried up the inventors of myths!
Hail, for you ripped the Athenians' meshes!
Hail, for you filled the Fishermen's nets!
Hail, O Retriever from the Abyss of Ignorance!
Hail, O Lamplight of Knowledge to many!
Hail, O Ship for those who seek Salvation!
Hail, O Harbor for the Sailors of Life!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
Hail, O Pillar of Virginity!
Hail, O Gateway of Salvation!
Hail, O Principle of the New Creation!
Hail, O Dispenser of God's bounties!
Hail, for you restored those born in shame!
Hail, for you gave sense to those who had lost it!
Hail, O you who stopped the corruptor of minds!
Hail, O you who bore the Sower of Chastity!
Hail, Holy Chamber of virginal wedlock!
Hail, O you who join the faithful with God!
Hail, O gracious Foster-Mother of virgins!
Hail, O Bridesmaid of holy souls!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

By singing praise to your maternity, we all exalt you as a spiritual temple, Mother of God! For the One Who Dwelt Within Your Womb, the Lord Who Holds All Things in His Hands, sanctified you, glorified you, and taught all men to sing to you:

Hail, O Tabernacle of God the Word!
Hail, O Holy One, more holy than the saints!
Hail, O Ark that the Spirit has gilded!
Hail, Inexhaustible Treasure of Life!
Hail, Precious Crown of rightful authorities!
Hail, Sacred Glory of reverent priests!

Hail, Unshakable Tower of the Church!
Hail, Unbreachable Wall of the Kingdom!
Hail, O you through whom the trophies are raised!
Hail, O you through whome the enemies are routed!
Hail, O healing of my body!
Hail, O salvation of my soul!
Hail, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!

Gabriel was rapt in amazement as he beheld your virginity and the splendor of your purity, O Mother of God, and he cried out to you: "By what name shall I call you? I am bewildered; I am lost! I shall greet you as I was commanded to do: 'Hail, O Woman full of Grace!'"

Glory to you, O Christ, our God and our hope: glory be to you!

(full text found here.


Sunday, December 07, 2003

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely hind, a graceful doe. Let her affection fill you at all times with delight, be infatuated always with her love. Why should you be infatuated, my son, with a loose woman and ebrace the bosom of an adventuress?
Proverbs 5:18-20

Setting the Record Straight
by Mary Beth Bonacci

You know you’ve really arrived when you find strangers on the internet discussing your sex life.

I’m constantly amazed at how many people I meet who want to “be” me – or at least to do what I do. “It must be so fun and so glamorous, being famous and traveling and giving those big talks,” they say, their eyes glazing over slightly.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being me, and I love doing what I do. But there’s very little “glamour” in the coach section of the plane, or in the airports where I find myself stranded between connections. And I love the schools and rallies and parishes where I speak, but glamorous they ain’t.

As for being “famous”, that just makes me laugh. People sometimes introduce me to someone by saying “This is Mary Beth. She’s famous.”

See, to me that’s just proof I’m NOT famous. Famous, by definition, means never having to tell people you’re famous. They’re supposed to know.

I AM well known enough to have had a stalker. (Gee, what a lovely perk.) And, because I’m known for chastity, I’ve apparently been the topic of some pretty bizarre conversations among people who are complete strangers to me.

For instance, imagine surfing the internet and discovering a group of people you’ve never met, holding a rather spirited on-line discussion about, among other things, your own personal sex drive.

Still want to be me?

Yes, it really happened. In the midst of a search, I ran across a chastity discussion group. It consisted largely of people who were rationalizing their decision not to live chastity, and a few brave souls trying to preach the Good News to them.

Apparently, at some point in the discussion, my name came up. One of apparently-not-living-chastity people wrote that she had a theory about me. She said that I, and other people like me, “simply like being single, don't wish to marry, have a low sex drive -- and since they don't want to look weird in our Noah's Ark culture, they have to say ‘I'm waiting till marriage.’”

I honestly don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.

You can see it for yourself if you’d like. Just do a Google search on “Mary Beth Bonacci” and “low sex drive.” The quote will pop right up.

I actually thought about joining the group, just to chime in and freak them all out. I still may, but it looks like nobody has posted to the group since April, so I’d probably be talking to myself.

So I’m here instead, in a nationally syndicated column, to announce to the world that
a) yes, I live chastity;
b) while I believe that God wants me single right now, and there are aspects of my single life that I enjoy very much, I don’t “love” being single, and I would be highly in favor of becoming happily married at some point; and
c) I most definitely do not have a low sex drive.

So there you have it.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Basically, it’s that we live in a very strange society. I can’t tell you the number of talk shows I’ve been invited to appear on, where the focus wouldn’t be on chastity the virtue, but on me personally and my bizarre, no-sex lifestyle. (“Do you have a boyfriend? Can we get a shot of you two riding bikes together?” I could just picture it. “Here’s a virgin riding a bike. Here’s a virgin cooking dinner.” And I’m going to drag someone I’m dating into a freak show like that?) To me, there’s something a little weird about going on national television to discuss your sex life – even if you don’t have one.

In this strange society, the assumption is that nobody does anything that requires sacrifice or (God forbid) renouncing pleasure. If you’re in good shape, it’s because you’re “lucky.” (“Oh, you can have a piece of cake. You don’t have to worry, you’re thin.”) And if you advocate chastity, it’s obviously because you aren’t interested in sex.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. People who live chastity do so not because they’re repulsed by sex, but because they’re in awe of sex. They hold it in much higher esteem than anyone in the apparently-not-living-chastity crowd. They believe that it speaks the language of permanent self-donation. They believe that, no matter how good it would feel to speak that language outside the context of permanent commitment, to do so would cause damage. And so they chose not to.

It’s not an easy choice to make. It requires a lot of prayer. It requires a lot of pleasure-renouncing. But the rewards are worth it -- peace with God, healthier dating, better marriage decisions.

And, if they’re really lucky, they can read about theselves on the internet.

From Real Love Productions.

Hello, all.

I have decided to start up yet another blog, but this one with a more public aim and specific purpose -- that is, to focus on chastity and staying chaste in a changing world with a changing life. Feel free to email me at

Ciao, luv.

You know what, you know what, I've had just about enough of Abercrombie & Fitch.

Let me tell you a little story.

I used to work at B. Moss. B. Moss, in our mall, was directly across from Hallmark (a nice store), directly next to J. Crew (where I wish I would have worked, even though I can't afford their stuff, sigh), and diagonal-across from Abercrombie and Fitch. Whenever I would walk past this store on my way to work, or even before I used to work in the mall as a little cnytrling, merrilly shopping and shopping, I always ignored this store. There was always loud, thudding music like an artillery demonstration coming from their speakers. This alone was enough to deter me, not to mention the clothes in their windows always looked as if they had been worn and washe (or not) for several decades prior. Often ripped or shrunk, they repuled clean-cut prissy lil' me, who liked her hair in tight curls and her khakis and button-downs starched stiff.

I never really paid attention to the store.
Now I seem to get a reputation as the innocent, unspoilt one -- and this, to some people, calls for corruption. I say this not out of "oooh look how good I am", but I've found some people, once they find a person cares something about their image and their chastity, have occasionally unreasonable expectations of perfection, also "perfect" in a puritanical way (i.e. no good clean fun). Jokes cracked and phrases used that went completely over my head, and one of the girls would cover my ears and declare "oh, oops! virgin ears!" Granted, most of the girls at work were good girls and respected me, but especially towards the end when all the girls that knew each other would get together and talk, that would slip more and more.

There was always some talk about our divorcee manager having a little cush on one of the guys who works at Abercrombie, beause apparently he was quite good-looking (*shrugs*; since I've been dating Jon, there aren't many, if any, guys who can turn my head in the slightest). In fact, I was told, most or all of the guys who worked there are good-looking (with the expectant "aren't they?" tonality). As always, I would just shrug and declare I had never paid attention ("why not???").
One day -- and I forget how this actually came up -- my other manager and a co-worker Sydelle decided that we were going to take a little "field trip", and I was to be "educated" or something. I wrote this down somewhere and now I can't find it. But all I knew at the time was that I was to accompany Sydelle. I don't think I knew where we were going or why. Well, it turns out that we went into Abercrombie and Fitch across the way. Sydelle flirted with the cute guys there, while I kind of stood uncomfortable off in the distance. I *then* found out that our "mission" was to go to Abercrombie and get ahold of their book called "Sex Ed", which was, essentially, a published and publicly placed book of pornography. Sydelle also called my attention to the walls, on which there were ultra-huge pictures along a similar vein.

I was absolutely outraged, not only at my treatment there, but at the fact that Abercrombie and Fitch was an institution of such horrible ... ! I couldn't believe it. And the article above addresses this, and shows ways to boycott, or otherwise to put one's foot down and refuse to stand for it any longer. I haven't read it all the way through, but I think I shall do this, and I encourage you all to do the same.

For now, I've stayed up far too late, and I'm going to bed. Goodnight!

12 Steps to Freedom
Project Rachel
St. Blog's Parish
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12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003

Someone loves you.