I posted a while back about the importance of emotional purity and little did I know that at the time “emotional purity” was being looked down upon for certain reasons - which is why I’m writing this post.
If we go back to my latest post and observe the definitions I think we could come to understand that the emotional purity that I’m talking about is not the same one everyone else is ranting about and if it is let’s look back to the definitions. Emotional purity is the freedom of contaminated thoughts and feelings considering selfishness, lust, jealousy, greed, envy etc. (not excluding to whom these thoughts are directed toward).
I have no idea the apparent traumas others have been through dealing with this topic and I’m heartily sorry. However, it’s not about ‘saving your heart’ rather it is more so practicing virtues internally through the emotions of the heart.
Give for example:
1. “It’s a False View of Love”
The point is made by how love cannot be divided but rather multiplied - and I agree, but to the extent in which way you are loving. The English language has a vague meaning of love since we only have one word for it. However, the Greeks distinguish love in these four ways:
Storage - a love as “affection” in modern day. It’s used to describe a parent to child relationship and even described as when one “puts up” with someone. Funny how that’s in the same definition as the parent to child relationship since it’s very often that my parent’s most definitely put up with me simply because they love me, and I to them.
Philia - a love as in “mental”. Describes friendship and loyalty to them, as well as family members, community and enjoyment of something. It’s described as “give and take; virtuous love; requires virtue, equality, and familiarity.”
Eros - a love as “physical”. Focuses on passions and the sensual; Romantic, pure emotion without logic. However it does not always start or need to be in the sexual nature. *Plato suggested that although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, and could even become appreciation of beauty itself. * Not including or excluding physicality.
Agape - a love as “spiritual”. Reaching that this type of love is not about the attraction and feelings as in eros but rather a deeper sense of what is meant by one that loves unconditionally. This love is selfless, sacrificial and spiritual. This is not a give and take sort of love like philia, rather it is give and then give some more. I have heard about the term agape through various retreats I’ve been on and it’s also described in the highest regard of the unconditional love God has.
Whenever emotional purity is attacked in a way of “it’s a false view of love” it’s important to ask the question “In what way are you viewing this love?”
Of course when the example of having multiple kids comes up this love should never be divided but only multiplied BECAUSE it is a giving of yourself fully and selflessly first to your spouse and then to your kids, which you have created out of LOVE.
What’s conflicting is you don’t see anyone encouraging (hopefully) their spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, son/daughter, and friend to go sleep around with the next person they are attracted to. So we must be careful in which ways we are talking about this “emotional purity” - for the mind, the heart, and the body work together.
You should never think of the opposite gender as bad, or dangerous or anything of the sort as some have stated from the outcome of emotional purity. Rather you should look at them as good, but in the different meanings of love, give thought to the greater in its due category.
2. “It Cultivates Self - Centeredness”
This can be true, however, determining for what reasons is it that you are practicing emotional purity. The point that people are missing is that it’s not about the comfort and the safety of it all but rather it’s about the virtue in which you are practicing. It’s not about how pure I am, it’s not about ME ME ME ME ME and let’s not forget about ME. Emotional purity is cultivating chastity within the mind for the greater purpose of leading your thoughts back to the goodness and beauty of God. * Back to Plato's comment *
Any type of virtue can very easily be considered “selfish” because what are we trying to attain when we practice virtue? Surely it is for the sanctity of self but we cannot forget the value we have as people who are cherished by their Creator and Lover. And also we cannot forget the we as in many. We must strive for holiness because not only is that our calling but it's also for the sanctity of others. The saints surely, while on earth and in heaven, inspired many saints and still do. This is also a multiplying love.
However, one seeking emotional purity surely cannot “condemn those who fall short” unless they are condemning themselves. We all fall short. That’s a given. But if you were in this boat for the sole reason of whatever selfishness then that’s a different story.
It really all boils down to for WHOM are you practicing this?
3. “It Forgets Jesus and Limits Love”
Emotional purity should not and will not be labeled as forgetting Jesus and limiting love - the person in whom I seek to accomplish this is JESUS and the outcome in which I seek is selfless thoughts, so that Jesus in me may produce selfless love to others.
The whole point of emotional purity is so that you’re thoughts (which can also lead to actions, right?) will not be about YOU but rather be about the other person’s good and for the glory of God.
It’s said “Thus, the love of Jesus working in us through the Holy Spirit is not finite either. As believers, we do not have a limited amount of love to give and once we run out, it’s over” which is so completely true. However our love is not perfect. The reason why first, we must let the Holy Spirit make his home in us. We must acknowledge that God does not intrude or invite him self in - He is knocking on a door that has no handles on the outside. It is our choice to open the door.
We can so easily say that this door could also be a representation of our hearts.
Emotional purity is not all about getting rid of selfish (and all of what I stated above) thoughts but first focusing your thoughts on Jesus so that He will give you the strength and the courage to overcome the vices of purity that can and will encompass the mind if we do not take heed and focus our thoughts on virtuous things.
This is not about “keeping your heart in one piece” it’s about virtue. It’s about prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice of the mind and of the heart. This isn’t about how you can’t have a crush. It’s about the modesty in which way you think about him/her. It’s not about guarding your heart for the sake of self. It’s about guarding your heart because it’s meant for someone else.
The attractions we have to people are good, but it’s in the way we can so easily emotionally invest in someone that could hurt us. Let’s face it - not everyone you are going to be attracted to you are going to marry or even date. Dating isn’t a sport for me. Dating is looking at the possibility of marriage.
The attractions and interactions we have with others is not at all bad - let me repeat - AT ALL. Of course, some interactions can definitely be off putting but on the topic of emotional purity simple interactions with the other sex is healthy. (I advise others to have healthy interactions with others of the opposite sex.) It’s important that one doesn’t get a screwed up idea of the other sex because of such “emotional purity”.
There is just so much to say and it’s already lengthy. . . but a great portion of where I’m coming from is Theology of the Body, so please look into that if you wish!
I can say that the only reason I’m writing about this again is for the clarification of what emotional purity means by going further down into it. By using what I’ve read by others to give (hopefully) a better meaning of emotional purity FOR others.
And let’s remember that these words are not infallible. I am not a Theologian nor am I a Philosopher. I am a young woman who is going through the same battles, the same temptations that the majority of young people my age are dealing with.
I only hope to shed light on this topic.
“Freedom consists not in doing what we like,
but in having
the right to do what we ought.”
- Saint Pope John Paul II
Let us all strive for the freedom of our hearts, our bodies, our minds and our souls.
Also let us keep our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in our prayers and strive to offer up our daily sufferings, complaints and persecutions for them.
God bless and Mary protect.
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.”
There is no comfort in the shade
of shadows thrown.