char·i·ty /ˈCHaritē/: a divinely infused habit, inclining the human will to cherish God for his own sake above all things, and man for the sake of God.
It is perhaps love, the virtue of charity, that is, that SSA seeks to destroy above all else. Even a person of good will, can mistake the feelings and longings that accompany SSA as love, and in turn can believe that any self-control which suffocates those feelings in longings is a destruction of love. However, it is those feelings and longings themselves which destroy love, love for God, and love for man.
Love for God
In the pursuit of chastity, there is both a duty of justice, giving God his due in respect to our sexuality, but also a sense of self-sacrifice, of conforming my free will to his will by accepting his gifts. It is to enjoy his presence within our soul, not for any benefit we might receive, but simply because he is who is. In fact, by committing to self-sacrifice and accepting his gift, we are not likely to experience material benefit. We are going to suffer, going to experience pangs of loneliness, endure physical tension, receive mocking and scorn from those who don’t understand, but we do it because we cherish God.
SSA seeks to destroy all of this. The whisper of the wood of this cross is that God is not worth it. God is not enough. God cannot fulfill you the way a sexual relationship can. It is constantly attempting to distort the identity of God, diminish his divinity, and trivialize communion with him. And when this is successful to some degree, we, to some degree, fail to love God.
Love for Man
Equally destructive is SSAs rejection of love for man. In my experience, SSA is primarily about lust. It really isn’t about some kind of pseudo-marital relationship. It primarily works at transforming my view of others into objects. It comes down to how can I use this person for my own gain, how can I derive personal pleasure from this person’s existence? If I can, that person is useful and if I cannot, that person is not useful. It doesn’t matter what that person’s needs or wants are, it becomes all about me. Step by step, I fail to love others simply for being. I fail to give of myself to fulfill their needs and to help them come to closer to God. Instead of dying to self and putting that energy into shining Christ’s light, I make them die to eternal life.
SSA blinds one to the dignity that each person has by virtue of being a creature of God. It rejects the purposes for which God created these magnificent works of art. It takes the Mona Lisa out of the Louvre and leaving it behind a dumpster in a dingy alley, where the painting is unable to inspire others to beauty and hides the work of the artist from fame and glory.
Love for Self
In sullying love for God and love for man, SSA reverses the direction of one’s “energy” from flowing out towards God and others to flowing in towards self. When one does not exhale love to others, there is no way inhale love into self, no way to receive love from another person. Slowly our energy becomes stagnant, for there is no replenishment because we are too busy holding on to what we have to deal with what others might give. In doing so, what love we have begins to suffocate and die, just as if I stopped breathing because I cared more about selfishly keeping all of my CO2 than accepting O2 from others. If we can’t learn to love others we can’t learn to let others love us, and we ourselves will fail to love even ourselves. That is we fail to do what is truly best for ourselves. We may still “feel good” about ourselves, and we may still enjoy life, enjoy the things that we do and the people we do them with, but this is not the same as loving ourselves, caring for our soul and our dignity.
And this is where this week ends and it also where this week begins, because if I have not love, no other virtues matter. All becomes worthless, pointless monotony without the gift of love and the giving of self.