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Year of Faith Series 10

Posted on : 08-09-2013 | By : TAG | In : Faith Series

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PURIFICATION OF THE HEART

(Ref. CCC Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Articles 6 & 9)

 heart

The Sixth Commandment: YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.

The sixth commandment forbids all actions which are opposed to the virtue of chastity. This virtue governs man’s love for God and his neighbor in all matters relating to the generative powers. Like the other virtues, it is highly positive by its very nature; it helps a person love in a human manner, even as a child of God. Although it is not the highest virtue (charity is the highest virtue), it is of great practical importance and is esteemed by men who know what their souls are worth.

Among married persons this virtue requires matrimonial faithfulness. This means that the reproductive power may only be used with one’s own spouse. The violation of this is the sin of adultery and it also violates the virtue of justice. It also requires that artificial means not be employed to impede the natural purpose of this power, namely, procreation.

Among those who are not married, this virtue excludes all use of the reproductive power. It excludes sexual intercourse between an unmarried man and unmarried woman (fornication); even if they have the intention of entering into marriage (pre-marital intercourse); it also excludes the unnatural sexual relationship between persons of the same sex (homosexual activity) and the stimulation of this power by oneself (masturbation).

Such actions do not cease to be sins, even if they are or have become widespread. Some people mistakenly replace objective and permanent moral law with the conclusions of sociological surveys. When some behavior which is contrary to moral law happens to be widespread, it does not become ‘normal’ in any moral sense of the term but merely ‘common’. The moral law is not in need of change; it is, as it has always been since Adam and Eve, man’s conduct which is in need of being changed.

 

The Ninth Commandment: YOU SHALL NOT COVET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S WIFE.

The ninth commandment forbids all voluntary thoughts and desires in relation to the actions forbidden by the sixth commandment. Jesus Christ Himself stressed that purity has to be internal and not merely external. “You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that anyone who so much looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5: 28). Chastity is a necessary precondition for the intimacy of our relationship with God, to be able to ‘see’ God both in heaven and through faith while still in this life. “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God”. (Matt.5: 8).

 

Education in Purity

Often young people are subjected to many kinds of propaganda which encourages unlimited sexual gratification. Sometimes it is presented as a manifestation of ‘freedom’, as a deliverance from ‘inhibitions’ and ‘taboos’, as a requirement of ‘human maturity’ or the ‘emotional fulfillment of the person’. In fact the virtue of purity, which certainly requires great self-mastery is one of the attributes of the finest and noblest men and women. In contrast, those who lack this virtue are, more often than not, timid, selfish, treacherous and cruel, characteristics which are not very manly.

So-called sex education in the schools is often part of this propaganda disguised as an effort to spare children from the evil which result from ignorance in sexual matters. Instead of fostering true admiration for the procreative capacity and the importance of using it rightly, they tend to foster an obsessive concern which easily occasions a deformed conscience. They are more in the nature of sexual perversion than sexual education.

The Church teaches that children and adolescents should receive prudent education in matters of sexuality in keeping with their age in a manner conducive to the virtue of purity. The family rather than the school is the appropriate place for such education. In the family, they receive personal attention and no one is better suited to provide personal education than their own parents, aided by the grace of God and supported by the mutual friendship which should prevail between them and the children.

To live this virtue of purity consistently requires the use of certain practical means. God, of course, will not allow anyone to be tempted beyond his strength but provides the aid of His grace. No one could ever truly claim to have sinned because he was unable to resist. Hidden behind such claims is negligence in using the practical means to live the virtue and in putting oneself in the occasion of sin.

The necessary means are: careful guarding of the senses and the heart; the courage to flee the occasions of sin (the courage to be a coward); mortification and corporal penance; the reception of the sacraments, in particular, Confession; complete sincerity in spiritual direction; and sorrow, contrition and reparation after falls – all accompanied by a tender devotion to Our Lady so that she obtain for us God’s grace for a clean and holy life

The virtue of modesty has an important subsidiary role to play. By living it, we refrain from actions, words, looks which might arouse sexual appetite in a disorderly manner or occasion this in others. Such occasions of sin includes: excessive familiarity between persons of the opposite sex; manner of dressing; pursuing certain magazines or novels; watching certain movies or television programs and browsing the internet.

In the field of entertainment, sex has always provided a lucrative basis for business. In our own day, this seems to have acquired vast proportions through the cinema, television and the internet. These means of social communication and entertainment have been greatly abused to undermine human values and Christian standards. Those who promote this evil and encourage it often offer the excuse of being ‘up-to-date’. They think they can find an excuse…by saying that those who struggle to lead good lives, following the law of God are ‘out-of-date’. They forget that the most antiquated event is the fall of Adam and Eve.

Like the first Christians, we too may have to do without such means of entertainment because of the threat to our souls. Christianity has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and He asks for the same faithfulness and fortitude in our case as asked His early disciples. In our day, we too must swim against the current.

In addition, we should do what we can to contribute to the betterment of this detrimental situation. “There is need for crusade for manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. We should certainly use the supernatural means of prayer, the sacraments and devotion to Our Lady. But we must also make genuine demands on our own personal conduct so that, with God’s grace, we do not permit ourselves any false concessions and we set a good example to others.

 

 

September 08,2013,  birthday of our Blessed Virgin Mary

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