BATTLE FOR PURITY: THE VIRTUE OF THE HEROES OF GOD!!!!
Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure of heart; they will see God." (Mt. 5:8) To see God in this life-- through true prayer-- and to contemplate the face of God in eternity, we must strive for a greater purity of person: in eyes, mind, body, heart, soul, in our whole being! Our Lady of Fatima spoke about purity in 3 different ways. First, many marriages are not pleasing to God. Second, many immodest fashions will enter the world that will be displeasing to God. Finally, she said with deep sadness of heart that most souls are lost for all eternity due to the sins against purity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts that we must strive for self-control constantly. Thew devil knows his time is short; therefore, he is launching all of the artillery in his army to capture souls, especially through purity. Soldiers of Christ that we are, what must be our strategy, the fight the good fight, run the good race and save our immortal soul. Some practical points!
1. PRAYER. Purity is a supernatural virtue that can only be attained by God's grace and of course an efficacious channel of grace is prayer. Beg the Lord for the grace of purity. He desires to grant you this grace more than you want to receive it. "Ask and you will receive...
2. PENANCE. Jesus declared, "Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting." Penance is a means we use to fortify our will in the determination of living the demanding virtue of purity. At Fatima, Our Lady asked for prayer but also for sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. She said that many souls are lost because nobody prayers for them nor offers sacrifices for them. To fly, a bird needs both wings. To soar in the spiritual life, we need prayer and penance.
3 EYE-CONTROL! Another necessary means to attain purity is the custody of the senses, especially the eyes. "The eyes are the mirror of the soul. " Eyes, mind, heart, life--- that is the dynamic. We end up carrying out what has been seen, conceived in our hearts. A good saying to remember is, "Out of sight, out of mind." If we do not see a bad image, it will not be engraved on our minds! Remember the fall of David! It started by a lack of control of the eyes!
4. AVOID OCCASIONS OF SIN. "He who plays with fire, will get burnt." Also, "He who plays in danger will perish in it...' Finally, "He who walks on a slippery slope will slip and fall." We must make a determined effort to avoid any person, place or thing that could be an occasion for us to fall into impurity.
5. AVOID LAZINESS! "Laziness is the workshop of the devil." If you do not have anything to do, then the devil will give you plenty to do. St Bonaventure asserts that when we are busy then one devil can tempt us, but if we have nothing to do, then an army of devils can attack us." Let us not give free play to this army of devils of impurity. Have a schedule and keep busy in the vineyard of the Lord."
6. DESOLATION! When we are in a state of desolation, meaning--- sadness, lack of faith, hope, love, weariness, sluggishness, lack of the desire to live, feeling unloved and unwanted--- this is a prime time that the devil launches bombs at us, especially temptations against purity. Ignatius teaches us that we have to intensify our spiritual life in this time so as to conquer the enemy!
7. TALK IT OUT TO A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR. The saints teach us that a temptation revealed is a temptation conquered. (St Philip Neri). St. Ignatius in rule 13 encourages us to open up to our spiritual director in moments of trial, desolation and temptation. The devil works in secrecy--- he says: "Do not tell anyone!!!!!"
8. CONFESSION! Having recourse to the Sacrament of Confession is a powerful arm to disarm Satan. The Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, serves as a shield to protect us against the fiery darts of the devil. (Ephesians 6). Wounded soldiers need healing. Jesus is the wounded healer!
9.JOY! Cultivate an attitude of joy in your life. Many temptations against purity come when we are sad. St Francis de Sales says that the worse thing in the world after sin is sadness. Beg Mary, "Cause of our joy" to attain this wonderful fruit of the Holy Spirit." Put into practice the words of St. Paul: "Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again rejoice in the Lord!"
10. GOOD FRIENDS. Good friends keep us away from dangerous circumstances. Also remember that you have heavenly friends: the saints, the angels and of course Jesus, Mary and Saint Joseph.
11. THE BREAD OF THE ANGELS AND VIRGINS AND SAINTS; HOLY COMMUNION. The most powerful remedy for attaining purity ina all respects is the frequent, fervent, and faith-filled reception of Holy Communion. Why? The reason is clear. Your body receives the Body of Christ and His Precious Blood will be circulating through your very veins. This Precious Blood purifies of disordered affections and extinguishes the fire of passions. May you hunger and thirst for the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ!
12. PHYSICAL EXERCISE. On a human level, hard and demanding physical exercise can serve to expend excessive energy, thereby diminishing temptations and sins against the virtue of purity!
13. SELF-KNOWLEDGE. The desert Fathers have coined a famous axiom: KNOW THYSELF! Daily Examen and rewind the clock of your life and seeing past falls in the area of purity can be a great help for "Preventive Medicine". All to frequently we fall into sins because of ignorance of our past and our major weak point, as well as our "Weak moments".
14. ST JOSEPH. Of all the saints, good St Joseph is the most powerful. St Teresa of Avila has said that he is the patron of all intentions. However, St Joseph was the chaste guardian of the chaste Virgin Mary and he is always ready to come to our aid in moments of temptation. One of his titles is "Terror of demons". He is often depicted with Lily in hand, symbolizing his spotless innocence and purity.
15. Finally, LOVE FOR THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. Experience through the ages has proven that those who are particularly devoted to Mary, have been able to live the virtue of purity with greater facility. Many have been saved from falling into serious sins against purity by invoking the Holy Name of Mary. "Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection was left unaided. In moments of temptation, we should cry out to Mary: "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
In conclusion, let us beg for the grace to live more fully a life of purity. St John Berchmans, a great lover of Mary said, "I wish to keep my eyes pure in this life so as to contemplate the beauty of the face of Mary in heaven." May we live this Beatitude and receive the promise: "Blessed are the of heart, for they will see God."