As we sat at the feet of Abba Chaeremon with Cassian and Germanus, we continued this most important conference on Chastity. We began by considering the presence or absence of the other passions, especially anger, as a barometer of the depth of a person's chastity. The Lord must destroy all inner wars between the flesh and the spirit and no one will enjoy this virtue enduringly in whose flesh there still rages these battles. When the Lord has freed the person from every seething emotion and impulse, he shall attain to the state of purity. However, there can be no peace while the struggle continues. We must not boast, then, at some small measure or period of chastity. In fact, until a person arrives at the state of perfect purity he has to be trained frequently by enduring patiently inner discrepancies and until he acknowledges fully the truth that God alone can lift a person out of the pit of wretchedness.
Chaeremon, then, went on to discuss the various degrees of chastity in detail and the deepening of freedom that comes with each stage. We cannot define the purity that God desires for us in accord with human standards or measures. Nor can we think that simply because something is tied to human nature and natural bodily movements that they are somehow beyond moral judgment or have no moral value.
Discussion then ensued about the cultural, educational and psychological implications of Cassian's teaching.
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