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We must avoid the near occasion of sin, especially chastity, when our duty before God allows it

2 min • Digitized on January 21, 2022

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 141
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley


Feeling at one time troubled and perplexed in mind as to the bearing of these two virtues upon one another, and as to the right manner of practising each, so that one should never run counter to the other, I carried my difficulties to our Blessed Father, who settled them at once in the following words:

We must in this matter draw a careful distinction between persons who occupy positions of dignity and authority, and have the care of others, and those private individuals who have no one to look after but themselves.

The former must deliver their chastity into the keeping of their charity; and if that charity is real and true it will not fail them, but will serve as a strong wall of defence, both without and within, to their chastity.

On the other hand, private individuals will do better to surrender the guardianship of their charity to their chastity, and to walk with the greatest circumspection and self-restraint. The reason of this is that those in authority are obliged by the very nature of their duties, to expose themselves to the dangers inseparable from occasions: in which, however, they are assisted by grace, seeing they are not tempting God by any rashness.

Contrariwise, those private individuals who expose themselves to danger without any legitimate excuse run great risk of tempting God and losing His grace; since it is written that he that loveth danger (still more he that seeketh it) shall perish in it. [Eccles iii. 27.]

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