Sunday, July 6, 2014


Today the holy Mass is that of the fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today, July 6, is also the feast day of St. Maria Goretti. Because the Mass of the Lord's Day takes precedence over most Saints' days, we do not commemorate St. Maria today. However, it is worthwhile to reflect on her virtue of chastity. 

Maria was born in Corinaldo, Italy, the daughter of a farmer who moved the family to Ferriere di Conca, near Anzio. There Alexander Serenelli, a youth who lived in the same house, tried to seduce the young Maria. She refused him, telling him that it was a mortal sin. Alexander stabbed her repeatedly. On her way to the hospital before she died, Maria prayed for and forgave her attacker. Arrested for the murder, he was imprisoned and experienced a vision of Maria. Thereupon, he converted and amended his life. Her cause was opened because she was credited with some forty miracles after her death. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950, as a model of purity. Alexander attended her canonization.

Chastity is a form of the virtue of temperance, which controls according to right reason the desire for and use of those things which afford the greatest sensual pleasures. As a supernatural virtue, it gives us the divine strength to view other people with respect. To see them as persons, daughters and sons of God, and not as objects of pleasure. It enables us to reserve sexual intimacy to marriage between a man and a woman. This virtue is operative within marriage as well, because each spouse respects the other with a permanent, exclusive love.

God does not impose chastity upon us. He gives it, but we have to want it and to accept it. In a world in which we are bombarded with sexual images, we cannot take chastity for granted. We should pray for this treasure with sincerity each day. We also need to avoid the occasions of sins against chastity. We do this by staying away assiduously from programs, web sites, reading materials and conversations whose contents are impure.

We know that some people are making tons of money off using others as sexual objects. We need to pray for them as well as for ourselves. Let's pray for God's help through the intercessions of Our Lady, our Guardian Angels and St. Maria Goretti.

Father Stanley

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