Focus on What Truly Matters

A conversation on silence, chastity, and self-mastery.

A heart that seeks God turns us into pilgrims, journeying toward a complete revelation of the divine. The prophet Elijah epitomized this seeker’s spirit as he journeyed across the desert to Mount Sinai (or Horeb), the mountain of God. There, in a cave, he encountered the divine presence not through dramatic manifestations like fire, storm, or earthquake, but in the gentle whisper of a breeze—a “sound of sheer silence.”

This narrative highlights an essential truth about spiritual life: God often speaks in the quiet moments, in the stillness that allows us to hear His gentle whisper. In today’s fast-paced world, finding silence can be challenging, yet it is in silence that we most clearly hear God. Elijah’s experience teaches us the importance of creating spaces of quiet in our lives, where we can be attuned to the divine presence.

Silence is more than the absence of noise; it is a state of inner calm and receptivity. To achieve this, we must intentionally withdraw from the constant distractions of modern life. This can involve setting aside specific times for silent prayer, meditation, or reflection. Practices such as retreating to a quiet place, engaging in contemplative prayer, or simply sitting in stillness can help cultivate this inner silence. In these moments, we open ourselves to the subtle movements of the Spirit, allowing God’s presence to penetrate our hearts and minds.

The Call to Chastity

The Gospel’s teaching on chastity sets a high standard, especially in contrast to today’s culture of instant gratification. It not only calls couples to faithfulness but also warns against unchaste thoughts and desires. Also, it serves as a stern reminder of the dangers of rampant pornography.

A conversation on chastity and mastery over pornography

Chastity, as outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is more than abstinence; it is a positive virtue that involves the integration of sexuality within the person. It is an apprenticeship in self-mastery, enabling individuals to control their desires and direct them towards authentic love and respect for others. By overcoming our passions, we uphold our dignity and freely choose what is good (par. 2339). This mastery over oneself is a lifelong journey, requiring constant vigilance and grace.

Three main factors contribute to the spread of online pornography: anonymity, constant availability, and affordability. People may turn to pornography due to overwork, loneliness, or emotional immaturity. Often, this occurs as a form of self-medication for other addictive behaviors. This prevalence poses a significant threat to the virtue of chastity, undermining the ability to form healthy, respectful relationships.

Overcoming Pornography

Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach:

1. Education and Awareness: Teaching about the harms of pornography and the value of chastity can help individuals make informed choices. This includes understanding the impact of pornography on the brain, relationships, and society.

2. Support Systems: Providing resources and support for those struggling with pornography addiction is crucial. This can involve counseling, support groups, and accountability partnerships.

3. Spiritual Practices: Engaging in regular prayer, receiving the sacraments, and seeking spiritual direction can fortify individuals against temptations and help them grow in virtue.

The Catechism further emphasizes that the baptized must continually strive against the concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires (par. 2520). This struggle is part of the Christian journey, a path that leads to greater freedom and fulfillment in God’s love.


In seeking what truly matters, let us remember that our ultimate thirst is for God, and through silence and self-mastery, we draw closer to His presence. By embracing the pilgrim journey and the call to chastity, we align our lives with the divine will, finding true peace and fulfillment in His love.

[Readings: 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-16; Matthew 5:27-32]

Fr. Nnaemeka Paschal Ajuka

Fr. Nnaemeka Paschal Ajuka, PhD., BCC., ACPE Certified Educator Candidate, is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, Nigeria, and a Board-Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC). He is a retreat preacher who loves his faith. As a sociologist, he cherishes and operates from the vertical and horizontal relationships with God and neighbor. He takes Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer for peace “Lord make me an Instrument of Peace,” as his ministry mission statement. He is a care provider who meets human needs without discrimination. He has been actively involved in the pastoral ministry in parishes in Nigeria and in the US. Previously, he was an adjunct lecturer at Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary Umuahia and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria. Currently, he is a Certified Educator Candidate with the Department of Chaplaincy Services and Education, University of California Health, Davis, Sacramento.

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