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John Cassian: In the Pursuit of Perfect Chastity

Austin (Vincent) P. Cadiz OSB, Saint John's University

Abstract

This paper explores John Cassian's notion of perfect chastity. Cassian emphasizes that the monk's journey toward perfect chastity is rooted in the intention of attaining the goal of monastic life - Kingdom of God. For Cassian, fidelity to monastic journey and focusing on the monastic goal, are essential elements in the pursuit of perfect chastity. In reflecting Cassian's teaching on chastity, one will see a new perspective in looking at the value of being chaste in the contemporary monastic world. His realistic human approach to chastity and the struggle to overcome the vice of lust will inspire monk's in the modem world to a stronger and deeper commitment to one's vows. This paper also provides reflection from a Filipino monastic perspective on the implications of Cassian's teaching on chastity and ascetical struggle. Reflecting on Cassian's teaching on the ascetical struggle with lust and the value of chastity in a Filipino monastic community will surely open up new horizons for monastic growth. It will make the Filipino monks realize the important value of chastity explained in a concrete manner through openness in sharing and speaking about the struggle.