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A place to learn, mingle, and share

This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
Learn More: Saint Augustine

Purity

Mar 26th 2013 new

Any thoughts? Comments?


PURITY is the lily among virtues — by it men approach to the Angels. There is no beauty without purity, and human purity is chastity. We speak of the chaste as honest, and of the loss of purity as dishonour; purity is an intact thing, its converse is corruption. In a word, its special glory is in the spotless whiteness of soul and body.

No unlawful pleasures are compatible with chastity; the pure heart is like the mother of pearl which admits no drop of water save that which comes from Heaven, — it is closed to every attraction save such as are sanctified by holy matrimony. Close your heart to every questionable tenderness or delight, guard against all that is unprofitable though it may be lawful, and strive to avoid unduly fixing your heart even on that which in itself is right and good.

Every one has great need of this virtue: those living in widowhood need a brave chastity not only to forego present and future delights, but to resist the memories of the past, with which a happy married life naturally fills the imagination, softening and weakening the will. Saint Augustine lauds the purity of his beloved Alipius, who had altogether forgotten and despised the carnal pleasures in which his youth was passed. While fruits are whole, you may store them up securely, some in straw, some in sand or amid their own foliage, but once bruised there is no means of preserving them save with sugar or honey. Even so the purity which has never been tampered with may well be preserved to the end, but when once that has ceased to exist nothing can ensure its existence but the genuine devotion, which, as I have often said, is the very honey and sugar of the mind.

The unmarried need a very simple sensitive purity, which will drive away all over-curious thoughts, and teach them to despise all merely sensual satisfactions. The young are apt to imagine that of which they are ignorant to be wondrous sweet, and as the foolish moth hovers around a light, and, persisting in coming too near, perishes in its inquisitive folly, so they perish through their unwise approach to forbidden pleasures. And married people need a watchful purity whereby to keep God ever before them, and to seek all earthly happiness and delight through Him Alone, ever remembering that He has sanctified the state of holy matrimony by making it the type of His own union with the Church.

The Apostle says, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" [Heb. 12, 14] by which holiness he means purity. Of a truth, my daughter, without purity no one can ever see God; [Matt. 5,8] nor can any hope to dwell in His tabernacle except he lead an uncorrupt life; [Psalm. 15, 1,2] and our Blessed Lord Himself has promised the special blessing of beholding Him to those that are pure in heart.



How to Maintain Purity

BE exceedingly quick in turning aside from the slightest thing leading to impurity, for it is an evil which approaches stealthily, and in which the very smallest beginnings are apt to grow rapidly. It is always easier to fly from such evils than to cure them.

Human bodies are like glasses, which cannot come into collision without risk of breaking; or to fruits, which, however fresh and ripe, are damaged by pressure. Never permit any one to take any manner of foolish liberty with you, since, although there may be no evil intention, the perfectness of purity is injured thereby.

Purity has its source in the heart, but it is in the body that its material results take shape, and therefore it may be forfeited both by the exterior senses and by the thoughts and desires of the heart. All lack of modesty in seeing, hearing, speaking, smelling, or touching, is impurity, especially when the heart takes pleasure therein. S. Paul says without any hesitation that impurity and uncleanness, or foolish and unseemly talking, are not to be "so much as named" among Christians. The bee not only shuns all carrion, but abhors and flies far from the faintest smell proceeding therefrom. The Bride of the Canticles is represented with "hands dropping with myrrh." a preservative against all corruption; her "lips are like a thread of scarlet," the type of modest words; her eyes are "dove's eyes," clear and soft; her "nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh towards Damascus" an incorruptible wood; her ears are hung with earrings of pure gold; and even so the devout soul should be pure, honest and transparent in hand, lip, eye, ear, and the whole body.

Remember that there are things which blemish perfect purity, without being in themselves downright acts of impurity. Anything which tends to lessen its intense sensitiveness, or to cast the slightest shadow over it, is of this nature; and all evil thoughts or foolish acts of levity or heedlessness are as steps towards the most direct breaches of the law of chastity. Avoid the society of persons who are wanting in purity, especially if they are bold, as indeed impure people always are. If a foul animal licks the sweet almond tree its fruit becomes bitter; and so a corrupt pestilential man can scarcely hold communication with others, whether men or women, without damaging their perfect purity — their very glance is venomous, and their breath blighting like the basilisk. On the other hand, seek out good and pure men, read and ponder holy things; for the Word of God is pure, and it will make those pure who study it: wherefore David likens it to gold and precious stones. Always abide close to Jesus Christ Crucified, both spiritually in meditation and actually in Holy Communion; for as all those who sleep upon the plant called Agnus castus become pure and chaste, so, if you rest your heart upon Our Dear Lord, the Very Lamb, Pure and Immaculate, you will find that soon both heart and soul will be purified of all spot or stain.

Excerpts taken from:
Introduction to the Devout Life : Chapters XII and XIII
Francis of Sales, St. (1567-1622)

 

 

Mar 26th 2013 new

Truer words were never spoken!!! I do think his point about curiosity espeically poignant, because it is certainly through such a sentiment that many a good hearted Catholic has fallen into the clutches of the evil one. It is a struggle, and has always been for Christians from the earliest times. Dear GK observed in an essay entitled The Patriotic Idea (which can be found in his Collected Works from Ignatius Press)

"There is, moreover, another broad distinction, which inclines us to side with those who support the abstract idea of patriotism against those who oppose it. There are two methods by which intelligent men may approach the problem of that temperance which is the object of morality in all matters—in wine, in war, in sex, in patriotism; that temperance which desires, if possible, to have wine without drunkenness, war without massacre, love without profligacy, and patriotism without Sir Alfred Harmsworth. One method, advocated by many earnest people from the beginning of history, is what may roughly be called the teetotal method; that is, that it is better, because of their obvious danger, to do without these great and historic passions altogether. The upholders of the other method (of whom I am one) maintain, on the contrary, that the only ultimate and victorious method of getting rid of the danger is thoroughly to understand and experience the passions. We maintain that with every one of the great emotions of life there goes a certain terror, which, when taken with imaginative reality, is the strongest possible opponent of excess; we maintain, that is to say, that the way to be afraid of war is to know something about war; that the way to be afraid of love is to know something about it; that the way to avoid excess in wine is to feel it as a perilous benefit, and that patriotism goes along with these. The other party maintains that the best guarantee of temperance is to wear a blue ribbon; we maintain that the best guarantee is to be born in a wine-growing country. They maintain that the best guarantee of purity is to take a celibate vow; we maintain that the best guarantee of purity is to fall in love. They maintain that the best guarantee of avoiding a reckless pugnacity is to forswear fighting; we maintain that the best guarantee is to have once experienced it. They maintain that we should care for our country too little to resent trifling impertinences; we maintain that we should care too much about our country to do so. It is like the Mohammedan and Christian sentiment of temperance. Mohammedanism makes wine a poison; Christianity makes it a sacrament."

To fall in love with God is to be totally consumed in love, and if one is totally consumed in Love, which we know to be a person, then one loves truly every one of those God places in his path. Consider St. Francis and his love of nature and of the animals, of his brothers, and of St. Clare: he love Our Blessed Lord with everything he had, and he loved each of these unconditionally. If I truly loved ever person in this world, I would never objectify them by impurity. I do not think there is any evil in temptation, for even Christ was tempted by the devil (having not Original Sin, he did not have concupiscence and was not tempted by the flesh as we are). The greatness comes in conquering temptations.

The best defences against impurity, on a pratical note, are to say three Hail Marys daily for purity, and to pray to St. Mary of Egypt. Look her up! She's fantastic!!!

Mar 26th 2013 new
Great advice from a Saint!!
Mar 26th 2013 new

Beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for posting!

Mar 26th 2013 new

Interesting on many points, Naomi, but I'm not sure how patriotism has become a part of this topic of purity.

Do you think something about me that you have heard or read makes you sense that I am not patriotic? Is it wrong for me to place God first? Patriotism is NOT placing country above God; love of country is not an end to itself, but of just one of the natural goods/gifts of the Giver. We ought to protect these gifts because they come from God, but not as an end to themselves, justifying irreverence, lying/deception, false witness, disordered anger, etc. , and much less, it does not warrant impure thoughts, words, actions, etc.

It was also interesting that you mentioned St. Mary of Egypt.


Mar 26th 2013 new

(Quote) Lynea-297530 said: Interesting on many points, Naomi, but I'm not sure how patriotism has become a part of this ...
(Quote) Lynea-297530 said:

Interesting on many points, Naomi, but I'm not sure how patriotism has become a part of this topic of purity.

Do you think something about me that you have heard or read makes you sense that I am not patriotic? Is it wrong for me to place God first? Patriotism is NOT placing country above God; love of country is not an end to itself, but of just one of the natural goods/gifts of the Giver. We ought to protect these gifts because they come from God, but not as an end to themselves, justifying irreverence, lying/deception, false witness, disordered anger, etc. , and much less, it does not warrant impure thoughts, words, actions, etc.

It was also interesting that you mentioned St. Mary of Egypt.

--hide--

No No, sorry, I meant to highlight his points about purity in that essay and that is the reason I quoted it, and I thought I mentioned that in my concluding paragraph. I do not for one moment, I do not think GK did either, think that impurity is ever justified, not for patriotism or any other honorable sentiment. I merely quoted that paragraph because I could not think how to extract the parts on purity (those bolded) without dumbing down some of the principles. Hence the reason that I spoke of Love for God and man, not love of country in my conclusion. I know I often express myself poorly and think that others will be able to see my thought pattern when I have not really explained it well enough. I'm workin on it!

I mention St. Mary of Egypt precisely because she was active as a prostitute to satisfy her lustfulness, not for any need for money or any other reason that could have partially absolved her from her guilt. It was done completely for her pleasure and for no other reason and she even went on a pilgirmage with the express purpose of leading the young men there astray. Her life of reparation, constantly tempted and tortured by remembrances of her transgressions, is a wonderful encouragement to those who have been in impure relationships, have had impure adictions, or who have been sorely tempted to the loss of their innocence.

Mar 26th 2013 new

Yes, then there is remorse just for having kept company with someone who didn't always intend to keep chaste in their thoughts.

Mar 26th 2013 new

She is an interesting saint from the sounds of it. I didn't remember that she was a prostitute, but I admittedly didn't know much about her.

What I think that post is about though isn't just extreme sins, but even the ones that are conventionally thought of as not just ok, but a good and common thing.

Mar 26th 2013 new

This is a beautiful thread, Lynea. Thank you for sharing and for posting. It looks like someone has gotten this page away from the Italics. I think it helps to make it easier to read. Thanks for the inspiring thread.

Mar 26th 2013 new

Very true! The dear saint points out in your original post that one ought to be careful not to arouse these things or to let curiosity latch on to even a minor detail for fear of sin. I am tempted to permit "little" tresspasses and venial sins under the idea that they really don't amount to anything...whereas in reality I know that they weaken me a hundred fold. Impurity is a veritable trojan horse...it seems so okay and easily acceptable until it lets out it's army in full rainment.

I wonder, then, if St. Francis would approve of many of the movies out, both modern and older. I doubt it.

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