I was recently having a conversation with my 75-year-old father whom I love dearly and do not get to see very often, due to geographical constraints. Our conversations are always in-depth, mostly regarding the moral issues that affect our lives. In this particular conversation, he mentioned to me that in virtually every mass he attends, his eyes are closed the entire time. He said he does this because there are some very attractive women in the church and he does not want his train of thought to be derailed by a woman’s beauty. “I know some people probably think I’m asleep, but I can’t worry about that. I’d rather concentrate on mass.” Yes, this from a great grandpa.
This is the same man that taught me and all 7 of my siblings while we were growing up to turn our heads when inappropriate commercials aired during the TV shows we watched. The same man that refused to let us come into the convenience stores with him because “girly” magazines were on display. The same man who, if he didn’t like the length of my shorts or skirts, mandated I could not wear them.
Some people might feel he is old-fashioned and far too stringent, but I assure you, friends, he did it all in the name of purity. Today, I pass these things down to my children. My 10-year-old regularly tells my 8-year-old daughter that she can’t watch a particular show or commercial and needs to turn her head.
There has never been a time of greater necessity for purity of mind and heart and guarding your eyes. Marriages end and families are ripped apart every day because of wandering eyes and impure thoughts. This was the cause of my own divorce years ago.
As single men and women in this day and age, especially if you are divorced, you are having a tough time. We live in a day and age when the visual aspect of life had taken over nearly everything. It’s certainly a voyeristic society. Even for those who make great efforts to guard their eyes, people are still bombarded by impurity, even when they’re not searching for it. Movies, television, billboards, radio commercials, conversations with friends and neighbors… it’s everywhere and it’s a grave danger to the life of your soul. But you are not alone in your struggle to guard your eyes. Many of the saints before us have won the fight to remain pure.
Today, December 13th, is the feast day of St. Lucy, patron of the blind. Lucy (although some aren’t sure that was her real name) had consecrated her virginity to Jesus and paid the ultimate price for it. Her desire to remain pure and her love for God eventually resulted in her martyrdom.
I am a firm believe in the fact that if you want something to change, you must begin with yourself. I’ve seen so many CatholicMatch members complain that people say they want a chaste dating relationship and end up doing the opposite when they’re on the date. So, if you want that to change, begin with yourself. Make sure that your desire to remain pure is well-known. Dress appropriately. Don’t tell or listen to off-color jokes. Don’t watch movies that compromise your values or lead you to impure thoughts. Even now, if I watch a movie that has no indicators of impure situations, I still turn my head, leave the room, or fast forward past any scene that will infect my thought process.
These things might seem trivial or over the top today, but believe me, when we stand before God, we will see the impact these things have on our eternity.