It takes courage.
Chastity is difficult when our affections are dissipated, inordinate, all over the place.
You can be celibate and remain unchaste. So celibacy is not the goal.
Chastity frees us, open us, expands all our faculties to love God with our whole being, and our neighbor as our self.
Lust and attraction are not synonymous.
Pier Vittorio Tondelli came to understand chastity as a “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality.”
It seems to me that celibacy is more a condition of single life. All are called to chastity. In contemporary understanding, chaste single life pretty much equals celibacy. Religious life does too - yet ordinarily, religious do not make a vow to be celibate, but to be chaste. To love God with their entire being, otherwise celibacy is a burden.
Just like love, chastity is misunderstood and 'not loved' in our culture. It's not a curse. Tondelli suggests it is chosen - on some level that is true - we can eat of the tree of forbidden fruit, or not. We have free will. More deeply, it is a grace, a gift, a valuable pearl, that one needs to sell everything to obtain. Like love, it requires sacrifice.
"Love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labor. For we must love not occasionally, for a moment, but forever." - Dostoevsky, Fr. ZosimaWe have to desire chastity - to love chastity - the Church, the ascetic and mystical life of the Church supports us, fostering our total gift of self to God. Chaste love - it is the crown of all the saints, it is the life of the Trinity. The cross is our misery crucified with Christ. Chaste love unites us and lifts us up, our life hidden with Christ in God.
We fail, fall short, but the sacraments are there to reconcile and sustain us. Prayer and recollection in the cell of self knowledge anchors us and stabilizes the passions and inordinate affections. Self love is an even greater suffering than the loneliness we imagine is our lot, convincing ourselves we are condemned to be forever celibate. Self love is in opposition to the love of God and neighbor. It is what keeps us from loving chastity. The desire to be chaste may start out weak - or even just a prayer we hardly understand - but our desire grows as we pray.
When I was younger I thought it was impossible. It's not.
Prayer obtains all.