In our present day and age, impurity runs freely through our streets with no bridle to hold it in check. Knowing how this makes it hard for even devout people to remain innocent and pure; I would like to quote some of Father Lasance’s words concerning how we ought to act and protect ourselves from this vice. The following passages are taken from his book, The Catholic Girl’s Guide:
“CHAPTER LII - THE ENEMY IN HUMAN SHAPE
Pure and innocent would’st thou remain,
And keep thyself free from iniquitous stain,
Men’s society then must thou flee
And find pleasure alone with thy God to be.
1. “To shun the society of men.” This is a hard saying for beings created with social instincts; it is especially hard for those who are young, and who are enjoying life. Moreover, did not God Himself say in paradise: “It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a help like unto himself.” Most certainly it is not good for people in general, and especially for young girls, altogether to shun the society of their fellow creatures. Nor is this required of them, but only often or sometimes to shun the society of men. It therefore rests with you to know whose society you ought to shun, and under what circumstances this should be done. You must always take to flight when the enemy of your innocence, such a one as would steal your lily of purity, appears in human shape, or, to speak quite plainly, as soon as your chastity may possibly be endangered. I will mention only a few of the more important circumstances in which this may be necessary.
2. The most ordinary aspect in which the enemy of chastity appears in human shape is that of undesirable acquaintances. I shall take a future opportunity of speaking more at length upon this subject of “keeping company”.
If you are able to spend many of the bright years of your youth under your parents’ roof, give thanks to God for this great blessing. But even there you are not quite safe from the enemy in human shape. Workmen, lodgers, boarders, tradesmen’s assistants, may present themselves and prove dangerous to your innocence. Young men of this class, attracted by your pleasant, obliging manner, begin to flatter you, to joke with you, at first in a way which is perfectly harmless; having gained your confidence, they try to see you alone, they take liberties with you, and if the enemy in your own heart is awake and active, if you do not avoid and fly from such dangerous companions, alas! Alas! How soon in your innocence lost!
3. In cities and large towns girls are sometimes obliged to go to shops. In this case also be on your guard against the enemy in human shape. A clerk, or perhaps the proprietor of the shop may look at you with lustful eyes. He will do everything he can to allure you; sometimes by offering goods at a price below their value, sometimes by attempting to give you presents, etc. etc. Never repeat your visit to a shop like this, never remain there longer than you can help; since before you are aware of it your innocence may be undermined.
4. Perhaps later on you may be obliged to take a situation at a distance from home. It is possible that you employer may prove an enemy in human shape, and you may be exposed to undue familiarity on his part. Do not remain a moment in such a house; fly from it as you would do if it were on fire, even though you have to forfeit your wages. It is a thousand times better to lose your money than to part with your innocence.
5. The enemy in human shape most frequently attacks waitresses at hotels or restaurants, and attendants in drinking-places. There are young women, who, in spite of manifold temptations, dangerous occasions, and inducements to sin, remain pure both in body and soul, and who, by their grave and prudent demeanor, prevent much evil from being carried on. They deserve the greatest respect. In it none the less true that situations of this nature are fraught with great peril for the soul.
6. In rare instances, poor unfortunate girls are threatened with the greatest danger to their innocence at the hands of relatives: I mean an uncle or a cousin. I knew a girl who, having lost both parents, was adopted when she was eighteen years old by a rich uncle. Before long he made proposals to her which threatened her innocence; she sought to avoid him, but he pursued her relentlessly, and promised if she would only yield to his wishes he would make her sole heiress of his large fortune. On the other hand, he threatened if she refused, to turn her out of the house forthwith. Her answer was worthy of Joseph in Egypt, or of the chaste Susanna: “My innocence,” she replied, “is dearer to me than all the treasures of the world! Condemn me, if you will, to misery and poverty, but leave me my innocence, for then I shall still have God, and He is enough for me!” She quitted the house at once. God grant that you may never be exposed to similar temptations; if you should be, imitate the conduct of this courageous girl.
7. If you go out alone, be on your guard against the enemy who may approach you in the shape of a stranger, of someone with whom you are totally unacquainted. The more harmless he may appear, the more attractive his exterior, the sweeter his flatteries may sound in your ear, so much the less ought you to trust him. If he attempts to persuade you to accompany him to any particular spot, do not trust him, do not believe him, however plausible and apparently harmless may be the reason he alleges. Under circumstances like these, many girls have, through mere thoughtlessness and good nature, been ruined both for time and for eternity.
The enemy of virginal purity is met with notably at popular amusements, where no restraint is exercised, and license reigns unchecked-such as fairs, dances, village sports, etc., or in places where soldiers are quartered, and seaports, where sailors come and go. A well-bred Christian girl, whose conscience is delicate and who is concerned for the preservation of her innocence, will, if possible hold aloof from such amusements altogether or attend them only accompanied by her parents. Many well-principled persons are, no doubt, present at the amusements, but unprincipled men of doubtful character are also to be met with, and things are heard and seen which are objectionable.
8. Beware of the man who flatters you. Flatterers are always false friends; they are never to be trusted.
Do not imagine that I have said all this with any intention of many you unsociable. I have spoken thus only to make you prudent and cautious in your conduct towards persons of the other gender. Christian politeness and sociability are not incompatible with a prudent reserve.”
In order to safeguard our innocence, we ought to avoid all near occasions of sin which are connected with impurity. In all the books which I have read, the saints have always made a great emphasis on the importance of constantly praying for the grace to grow in this virtue in order to remain untarnished. The saints also say that we must learn to mortify our senses in little things that are not obligatory so that when temptations come, we will have more strength to fight against them. Finally, Father Lasance indicated later, in this same book, that we ought to try our best to imitate the Blessed Mother in all her virtues so that she will watch over and guide us in this particularly favorite virtue of hers.
May all the saints and angels help us to be pure and chaste in all of our thoughts, words and actions until the end of our days!