Adultery as Links in a Chain (St Gregory of Nazianzus)

Whenever the topic of modesty comes up, it is sometimes framed in terms of protecting men from lustful thoughts and desires. However, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 390) describes the danger for both sexes. Saint Gregory speaks to married women, but it applies to all:
“Your natural beauty will suffice your husband, but if it is exhibited to all, like a net spread before birds, what will be the end? You will be taken by whoever admires you, looks and glances will be exchanged, smiles and tender words, at first hesitatingly exchanged, but soon more boldly given and received. Far be it from me to describe the end, but this much I will say, nothing said or done by young men and women under such circumstances but is perilous. One act of levity leads to another, as the links in a chain.”
Whenever anyone commits adultery, it never “just happens.” It is the dead end along the pathway of small indiscretions. As St Gregory says: “links in a chain.”
If we are to renew our culture and our Church, we must be serious about the sacrament of Holy Matrimony and treat it with the dignity that it deserves.
Family is the bedrock of culture. And marriage is the bedrock of family.
PS: The passage above is quoted in St Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life.

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