Thursday, April 18, 2013

Love

“Don’t say that you have a chaste mind if you have unchaste eyes, because an unchaste eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart.”
- Saint Augustine

It's springtime, and that means the body's hormones spike with the temperature, which means that the clothes start to become more immodest and revealing. It's also time for teachers to finish up human anatomy and physiology, which invariably ends with the reproductive system. That means that it's time for baseball games  us to get our game on, and really help each other master the virtue of purity. 

St. Augustine knew what he was talking about. After living with a mistress, and having a son, he apparently asked God for chastity and continence, but not yet. Clearly, he was attached to his sin, as he said he wanted to give it up, but deep down in his soul, he held onto it and refused to give it up. By the grace of God, through-the authentic request and desire for something freely given by the Lord (Prayer!), he did, and after serving as a Bishop and living a holy life, he became a saint and Doctor of the Church. 

The Scholastic to which I have the deepest devotion, St. Thomas Aquinas, was known as the Angelic Doctor for two reasons: one, his writings seemed to be from the angels, for he was a mystic, and two, his mastery of purity came from angels (Citation HERE). One of my favorite stories about St. Thomas is that he had an early desire for the sacred priesthood, and so he practiced virtue-which is not merely action, but a habit we become accustomed to, throughout his life in order to become not just a priest, but a saint. Of course, for all of us this includes custody of the eyes, mind, body, and heart (emotions can grow legs), but for him as he grew older, this included the rigors of the mendicant life, which had only been around for thirty or so years when he entered. 

Now, his family was furious, as they wanted him to become the rather-wealthy abbot of Monte Cassino, and when this wasn't going to work out, the brothers sent a prostitute in to seduce him. He chased her out with a fire poker! (Insert this VIDEO!) And, the mastery of purity gives Thomas a beautiful and proper appreciation of human sexuality. To return to the quote, you can't properly say you appreciate chastity if you watch pornography or are actively having sex with someone not your spouse and have no intention of stopping. 

St. Alphonsus Liguori, the great Doctor of the 18th century and the founder of the Redemptorists, he was known never to look at any woman, even his own mother, out of a respect for chastity. 


Just the trailer is a powerful meditation on love
That being said, our measures should be appropriate for what we can handle, especially according to our state in life. However, we should consider what saints have done, if only to realize that we are called to something higher.

Also, we need not fear that we are incapable! God provides the grace of faith through our initial cooperation with Him, and through the Sacraments we receive sanctifying grace that is infused into the soul in order that we may participate in the divine life and participate in His spiritual adoption. Actual grace is divine assistance granted in view of the merits of Jesus Christ for particular actions. For instance, mortal sin means that one cannot have sanctifying grace, but God can give us the grace to desire and actually make it to the Sacrament of Penance. And I am so sick and tired of hearing about having the will to do something! The heresy that our desires our possible by willpower alone is Pelagianism, and it's a heresy! Pray: yes! I recommend the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. Stumble: you are going to. It is a sad, pathetic, and awfully frustrating reality of the modern world. But, in the times of deepest evil, the fount of mercy is greatest. Go to Confession! I need to get a prayer group together so I can make sure I pray the Confraternity prayers as well as five decades of the Most Holy Rosary. I'm a slacker...

I also think that while we must be on guard, sometimes we tend to then retreat so far as to be cold and confusing. Just...love. God will take care of the rest.

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