In 1917 Our Lady of Fatima appeared six times to three Shepherd children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia.  She spoke to them and revealed to them important truths that are today relevant more than ever.

PURITY.  Our Lady of Fatima, the most pure Virgin-Mother of God, spoke about purity several times.  She said that most souls  are lost  due to the sins of the flesh, or if you like, sins against the virtue of purity.

MARRIAGES AND FASHIONS.  Also, Our Lady stated that many marriages are not good; they are not pleasing to God.  Finally, The Blessed Mother stated that many fashions in the world are not pleasing to God.

These words of wisdom from the Mother of God were expressed close to 100 years ago—Our Lady appeared in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal during the course of the Second World War.   She also stated that wars come due to the lack of prayer and the proliferation of sin.

In this short article we would like to set up a spiritual strategy for all of us to attain the very demanding but necessary virtue of purity. May we live out the Beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8)

1.    DETERMINATION.  Once the sister of Saint Thomas Aquinas asked him how she could become a saint.  The Angelic Doctor, known for his concise and to the point style, responded with two words: “Will it!” In Psychology there is an all important principle, the principle of motivation. This means the following: nobody will ever achieve or attain any noble or worthy pursuit unless he has a proper and strong motivation. Successful athletes, superb musicians, first-class writers, and great saints all have one thing in common: MOTIVATION FOR A CAUSE!  In sum, we should all have an earnest desire in the depths of our hearts to attain the virtue of purity.

2.    PRAYER.   Of course attaining virtue, and especially the virtue of purity, can never be acquired by mere willing it.  The reason being is that purity, like humility, and mercy are not natural virtues but supernatural virtues. This means that they transcend the flesh and the mere-natural man. Determination is indispensable, but the grace of God is even more necessary.  Jesus invites us:  “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  (Mt. 7:7)  Saint Augustine, who battled into his early thirties, to attain purity stated that we are all  beggars  before God.  Why not beg for purity of heart?  The Lord Jesus wants to give this virtue to you even more than you want to receive it!

3.    CAREFUL: THE MODERN ELECRONICS MEDIA!!!!   All that God created is good, as we read in the first Book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. We are called to use creation for the honor and glory of God and to avoid “abusing” creation for our own sensual pleasure.  T.V., Radio, movies, the written word, and especially the Computer and access to the Internet can all be used for the honor and glory of God and for our eternal salvation. However, the electronics media is in the words of the Apostle Saint Paul, “A two-edged sword”.  Sad to say, the most sought after websites, by far, are pornographic. Therefore, to attain the virtue of purity, one has to strive for a strict vigilance over oneself, especially the sense of sight, in the use of the Internet.  The Proverb rings so true:  “The eyes are the mirror or window to the soul.” Parents must be vigilant over their own personal lives, but even more so over their children who have only known the electronic media age and culture!
4.    MODESTY.   As stated earlier, Our Lady of Fatima stated that many immodest fashions will be introduced that will highly offend God.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts that modesty is the guardian of chastity.  All of us, but especially women, must be exceedingly demanding on cultivating the virtue of modesty. Saint Paul teaches us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Also, he states that we are “Ambassadors for Christ.”   St. Leo the Great, in his Christmas homily, reminds us:  “Christians remember your dignity.”  A poorly dressed ambassador puts to shame the country that he represents. Through Baptism we become members of the Mystical Body of Christ. As ambassadors we do not represent an earthly King, but Jesus, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.   For women who have been confused due to contact with the modern way of seeing things should contemplate Our Lady.  Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Perpetual Help--- all of these Marian images reflect a remarkable beauty, but at the same time a modesty beyond compare.

5.    CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.  On one occasion, while still young Saint Anthony Mary Claret, lay sick in bed. All of a sudden, like a violent storm, he was assaulted with a strong temptation against the virtue of purity. Being a young man of prayer and discipline, almost instinctively he called out to Mary in humble prayer to resist the almost over-powering temptation. Instead of disappearing the temptation seemed to increase. But the saint called out all the more to Mary for purity. Then something happened!  Mary appeared to him, to console him and dissipate the temptation.  At the same time, the future saint saw an army of angry devils fleeing from his room.   The saint attributed the victory, not to his own strength, but to the powerful intercession of Mary.   Saint Anthony made this observation. All too often beautiful and provocative women would cause bad and impure thoughts. However, Mary, being the most beautiful woman in God’s creation, would by contemplating her beauty would actually take away bad thoughts and inspire the most noble and pure of thoughts.  St. Anthony, later on in his life, would found the Claretians, honoring in a special way the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

CONCLUSION.   We have outlined five basic steps to take to strive for the virtue of purity.   The reward for living out purity is great: HEAVEN!  Jesus promises us: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8) St. John Berchmans, S.J. encourages us with these words:  “I want to keep my eyes pure in this life so as to contemplate with the utmost clarity the beauty of Mary in heaven.”