Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Love and Purity...

February 14, this coming Saturday, is known as Valentine's Day. Now, the Church commemorates Saints Cyril and Methodius on the 14th. Before it was the day to honor St. Valentine of Rome who was martyred in the third century. Centuries ago many in the pagan world considered mid February as the time for young men and women to pair off as the birds were observed to do. The Church assigned the observance of St. Valentine's memorial to February 14 in order to lead Christians to a deeper love for God and His Gospel. St. Valentine preferred death to compromising his faith. Catholics were to accept all of Christ's teachings including those on purity and the proscriptions against premarital and extramarital affairs.

The opposite of purity is licentiousness which destroys a person's dignity, weakens one's will, and impedes one's desire to know and love God. An impure heart cannot really see Christ. Moreover, selfishness, laziness, anger, and even violence are highly correlated with impurity.

In order to have and to live the virtue of purity, a person must know its value and that it is necessary to be in union with Our Lord. One must see himself or herself as God sees: namely, that each person's body and soul has true worth. None of us is a thing, each of us is a person whom God loves dearly.

The prescription to achieving holy purity is, first of all, good Confessions so that we can begin without any encumbrances. Out of decency we need self-imposed restraints against letting our desires and preferences run wild. Discipline is essential for everyone. This means controlling one's sight and imagination. The efforts that we exert are worth it. Purity comes from the greatest of virtues, love.

The entertainment world of the media would be thrilled with the pagan practices of impurity, that is, giving license to the desires of the flesh. This makes a great deal of money for them. However, we, who try to be true disciples of Christ, want to truly love everyone. We want the good for each and every person and to see them as God's children.

Fr. Stanley