15 Breathtakingly Beautiful Prayers for the Virtues of Purity and Chastity

by Fr Richard Heilman | August 8, 2016 9:28 PM

By Joan Carey:

On this Feast of St. Dominic, it’s fitting to share a cause close to my heart: a set of 15 breathtakingly beautiful prayers rooted in Scripture for the virtues of purity and chastity. The lack of those virtues in American culture are at the root of today’s pervasive assault on the human person.

These prayers are rooted in a centuries-old tradition of the Catholic Church arising from the persecution St. Thomas Aquinas suffered at the hands of his own family who opposed his desire to join the Dominicans. They imprisoned him in their own castle dungeon and sent a prostitute to tempt him to sexual sin. St. Thomas drove her from the room and then had a vision of two angels coming to his aid. To the Dominicans, he became a powerful symbol of the possibility of victory when striving to live the virtues of purity and chastity. (Art: Temptation of St. Thomas, Velazquez)

In the 1400’s some of the Dominicans banded together to begin a confraternity that they called “Angelic Warfare” in memory of the two angels who came to Thomas’ aid. They wore a cord around their waists with 15 knots corresponding to 15 prayers for purity. In 1727, Pope Benedict XII broadened the Confraternity to include the whole Church. Now, anyone may be enrolled. I have pasted in a current form of the 15 prayers below. They include 15 specific intentions, Scripture verses in which the intentions are rooted, followed by a Hail Mary as we call to mind the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that set our salvation in motion.

The 15 prayer intentions offer a vision of the human person freed from sexual wounds of the past and renewed to choose authentic love, not the reduction of love to self-serving sexual pleasure. Today, so many of our young people have had their imaginations poisoned by the cruel abuse of pornography, a horrifyingly ugly animalistic darkness bereft of love that is the very opposite of what God created sexuality to be. How many people today engage in the evil of contraception, which rips the unitive sexual act from the natural gift of procreation. How many abortions have come from this, as sexual acts separated from the fidelity of marriage and family bring new lives into being who are then poisoned or torn from limb to limb in the very safety of the womb. These evils spill over into every aspect of our being as men and women forget who God made them to be: defenders and bearers of the gift of life in relationships of love and absolute fidelity.

Opening Prayer
Dear Jesus, I know that every perfect gift, and especially that of chastity, depends on the power of Your providence. Without You a mere creature can do nothing. Therefore, I beg You to defend by Your grace the chastity and purity of my body and soul. And if I have ever imagined or sensed anything that could stain my chastity and purity, blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers, that I may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service, offering myself on the most pure altar of Your divinity all the days of my life. Amen.

1. Dear Jesus, bless our social and cultural climate. Grant that our society may be purified of everything contrary to chastity, and that we may have the strength to resist the pressures of prevailing distortions of human sexuality. “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:37). Hail Mary…

2. Dear Jesus, bless our relationships. Grant that they will be holy, healthy, and honorable at all times. “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart” (1 Pet 1:22). Hail Mary…

3. Dear Jesus, bless our efforts at modesty. Grant that how we dress and carry ourselves may veil what should be veiled, and give us the strength to resist evil fashions and the glamour of sin. “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Hail Mary…

4. Dear Jesus, bless our five senses. Grant that the things we see, the music and jokes we hear, our food and drink, and the encounters we have through touch may all be pure and holy. “Seek the things that are above” (Col 3:1). Hail Mary…

5. Dear Jesus, bless our sensuality. Grant that our impulses may not go after base pleasures, but will be freed by Your wisdom and inflamed for what is good. “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb 12:4). Hail Mary…

6. Dear Jesus, bless our imagination. Grant that we may be preserved from the fantasies and daydreams that defile us, that all impure images may vanish, and that we may be protected from all the assaults of demons. “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Eph 4:23). Hail Mary…

7. Dear Jesus, bless our memory. Grant that no dark memories from our past may haunt us, but let Your light shine within us to fill us with a healing hope in You. “And every one who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” (1 Jn 3:3). Hail Mary…

8. Dear Jesus, bless our power of estimation. Grant that we may quickly sense dangers to chastity, instinctively flee from them, and that we may never turn away from higher and more difficult goods for the sake of sinful self-indulgence. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:36). Hail Mary… [Note: estimation ~ ability to make judgments]

9. Dear Jesus, bless our affectivity. Grant that we may love chastity and rejoice in it, that all of our emotions may be in harmony with what is right, and that no sadness, discouragement, fear, insecurity, or loneliness may afflict us unto sexual sin. “For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age” (Titus 2:11-12). Hail Mary… [Note: affectivity ~ ability to experience feelings and react to them]

10. Dear Jesus, bless our intellect. Grant that it may be purged of all false beliefs and all misunderstandings of human sexuality, and that the good angels may flood our intellects with thoughts that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8). Hail Mary…

11. Dear Jesus, bless our will. Grant that it may never be opposed by our sensuality, that it may never be conflicted in the moment, but that it may hold fast to chastity no matter how difficult it may be. “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ…was not ‘yes’ and ‘no’; but in Him it is always ‘yes.’ For all the promises of God find their ‘yes’ in Him” (2 Cor 1:19-20). Hail Mary…

12. Dear Jesus, bless our conscience. Grant that it may be swift to judge what is chaste, swifter to execute it, and preserved completely from the suggestions of demons. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb 9:14). Hail Mary…

13. Dear Jesus, bless our hearts. Grant that the place where Christ abides in us with the Father and the Spirit may become the place where we live with the Holy Trinity in friendship. “Jesus answered him, ‘If a man loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him’” (Jn 14:23). Hail Mary…

14. Dear Jesus, grant us the grace of self-surrender. Grant that we may hand over to God nothing less than our whole lives. “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Lk 23:46). Hail Mary…

15. Dear Jesus, give us Your love. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). “But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Hail Mary…

Closing Prayer (asking for the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas)
Chosen lily of innocence, pure St. Thomas, who kept chaste the robe of baptism and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels, I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb, and to Mary, the Queen of Virgins. Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I, who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh, may also share your purity, and after imitating you on earth, may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.

For more information: [1]Angelic Warfare Confraternity[2]

Written by Joan Carey

Endnotes:
  1.  : http://www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org
  2. Angelic Warfare Confraternity: http://www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org

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