Saintly purity

by | Nov 8, 2020 | Presence

Photo: Mary Ward “The Just Soul” vision, Slide 25 of the Painted Life, ©Mary Ward Spirituality Centre, Augsburg




The Chastity Vision

Servant of God Mary Ward


In another meditation Mary gives the account of the third of those graces, which she names in the list before quoted, as having received specially from our Lady and calls “A sight of chastity as a pure gift of God.” It is dated here, “October 12, 1619, in the Exercise.” This was apparently the second Sunday in October, and one of the feasts of our Blessed Lady.


“I saw suddenly and very clearly that the gift of chastity

{whether it were ingrafted in nature, or the contrary prevented

by grace and the knowledge of true goods, or vanquished

by victory and the conquest of many combats) was

always a peculiar gift of God, and not conjoined to the

nature of flesh and blood, though endued with reason, or in

the power of man (thus corrupted) either to bring forth or

conserve in himself.

I saw withal (more perfectly) in the Bosom of God the

wonderful love from whence and the which always accompanies

this Divine gift, into whatsoever soul it is infused.

Then I acknowledged what I had of this to be wholly His

gift. I thanked Him for it, and asked pardon for thinking

it in any part my own, or in my own ability to get or keep.

I thanked our Blessed Lady, whom I thought to be a

great cause of this favour, both by reason of the day, and in

that I had for many months before begged daily of her,

that she would obtain I might be preserved from all impurity.”


Mary concludes by a very remarkable acknowledgment, which seems to have slipped almost undesignedly from her pen : ” And I never fail of what I ask, or can ask her absolutely.” That Mary was a highly favoured servant of the Mother of God, we cannot doubt, as there will be good reason to note on many future occasions.[1]


November 21 is the feast of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Temple. (For those who pray a novena to dedicate themselves or a loved one to the spiritual temple of God, it would begin Monday 12th.) When Mary was 3, the age of being weaned, Joachim and Ann presented her to the temple in service of God. It was common to have temple virgins, young girls who lived at and served the temple in household ways until they became of marriageable age (menstruation), at which point they were returned to their families for betrothal and marriage.

Today, with Jesus the new covenant of God, we baptized Catholics (as His body) are each a spiritual temple (1Cor 3:16-17). Filled with His Spirit, “wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh” (Ez 47:9). In modern times, we use the word purity to refer to sexual purity. However, God calls us to a purification through which we gain purity of heart, complete purity.

It is written that when we call upon Mary for our defense, it is her immaculate purity that drives satan out of our life. This makes sense as she is full of Grace and brings this to our every need. God wants to give us this life of purity too, this lived experience of Grace by being brought into union with Him. This is why God became man. The creature cannot enter into its Creator. When you throw apples and oranges into a bowl for fruit salad, you still have apples and oranges. They just happen to be contained together in a bowl. This is the mistaken understanding many people have of the life of faith and Christian teaching. They error thinking that being members of Christ’s body is a metaphorical way of saying we are one group with common belief and purpose aiming our efforts towards God. 

Being a member of the body of Christ, however, isn’t a metaphor. It is a metaphysical reality. God lowered Himself to take on human habit which He then elevated to Divinity in His ascension into Heaven. This really is the bridge between creature and Creator. We first are adopted into this via our Baptism. Original sin is removed, healed, exorcised. But its effects—our weaknesses—remain leaving us with disposition to poor choices and even sin. It may be difficult to understand, then, that we are called to live “as is fitting among saints” (Eph 5:3). It is precisely in our day-to-day living that this sanctification takes place. “The classes and duties of life are many, but holiness is one—that sanctity which is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God” (Pope Paul VI[2]). 

He really does want to “make of us a kingdom for our God”. We are that special; that worthy. 😊

To that end, we continue to pray for Pope Francis, our clergy and religious who bring God to us in the sacraments and bring us to God in their prayer. 

Almighty Father, come into our hearts and so fill us with Thy love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace Thee our only good. Our hearts are before Thee; open our ears. Open our hearts so that Thou may enter in. Repair the ruined mansions that Thou may dwell therein. Amen. (St. Augustine)

 Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊





[1] Chambers, Mary Catherine. (1882) The life of Mary Ward, volume 1. London, England: Burns & Oates. pps. 472-473

[2] Pope Paul VI Lumen Gentium