“It is Impossible to Tell the Number” of sins against chastity each person has committed.
This, according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, the Doctor of the Catholic Church on Moral Theology.
As this wonderful saint will explain, a person ensnared in sins against chastity offends God multiple times a day. Not only by his acts—such as masturbation or fornication—but also by his thoughts—of lustful desires.
How many evils does one, thus, commit in a day, let alone a lifetime? Only God knows.
What follows is an excerpt from the Second Sunday During Lent, in a collection of his writings, called “Meditations and Readings for Every Day of the Year.” Any emphasis below is my own.
“Moreover, sins against chastity, on account of their great number, are an immense evil. A blasphemer does not always blaspheme, but only when he is drunk or provoked to anger. The assassin, whose very trade is to murder, does not commit more than eight or ten homicides.
“But the unchaste are guilty of an unceasing torrent of sins, by thoughts, by words, by looks, by complacencies, and by touches. So that when they go to Confession, they find it impossible to tell the number of sins they have committed against purity.
“Even in their sleep the devil represents to them obscene objects, that, on awakening, they may take delight in them. And because they are made the slaves of the enemy, they obey and consent to his suggestions; for it is easy to contract a habit of this sin.
“To other sins, such as blasphemy, detraction, and murder, men are not prone; but to this vice nature itself inclines them.
“Hence St. Thomas says that there is no sinner so ready to offend God as is the votary of lust, on every occasion that occurs to him. The sin of impurity brings in its train the sins of defamation, of theft, hatred, and of boasting of its own filthy abominations.
“Besides, it ordinarily involves the malice of scandal. Other sins, such as blasphemy, perjury, and murder, excite horror in those who witness them. But this sin excites and draws others, who are flesh, to commit it, or, at least, to commit it with less horror.
“St. Cyprian says that the devil through impurity triumphs over the whole of man. By lust the devil triumphs over the entire man, over his body and over his soul. [And] over his memory, filling it with the remembrance of unchaste delights, in order to make him take complacency in them. [And] over his intellect, to make him desire occasions of committing sin. [And] over the will, by making it love its impurities as his last end, and as if there were no God.”
Just how many sins against chastity has each person committed? You can better see now how truly impossible that question remains to answer.
Think of how much we all have to answer for upon our death at our judgment.
“I have seen your abominations, your adulteries and neighings, your lewd harlotries, on the hills in the field. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will it be before you are made clean?” (Jeremiah 13:27).
What do you make of St. Alphonsus’ observation as to the unfeasibility in numbering all the sins against chastity committed against God?
Please leave your thoughts below.