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Sex and Holy Purity – Part Two

By Barbara Kralis

©Barbara Kralis 2004

It’s impossible to discuss Holy Purity without visiting The Sermon on the Mount.

When Jesus taught the multitudes the twelve Beatitudes, He was speaking to all men of all ages on correct moral conduct.

In number eight of the Beatitudes, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," Christ was teaching of the cleanness of the whole person, not just his heart. The heart represents one’s thought, words and deeds. Remember Sister Christine Joseph’s morning prayer?

"A man is worth what his heart is worth."[1] Purity of heart is a gift of God and we are to be constant in our vigilance to acquire and keep this purity – whose reward will be the Beatific Vision.[2]

Holy purity is a virtue. Jesus placed such an emphasis on purity that He warned us to fight hard without making any concessions. And, if we fall from grace, we begin again. King David suffered the grave crime of adultery. God punished him, he repented his sin and went on to lead a life of holy purity.

Jesus warned us to protect the purity of our whole being, especially the ‘lust of the eyes’ and ‘adultery in the heart.’ To understand this important teaching, let us look at scripture, Mt. 5: 27-28:

"You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (RSV)

Sinful ‘lust of the eyes’ and ‘adultery in the heart’ can take place even within the marriage. In other words, it is morally wrong for spouses to ‘use’ one another.

Pope John Paul II addressed this sorrowful reality during his general audience of October 8, l980:

"Adultery ‘in the heart’ is committed not only because man ‘looks’ in this way at a woman who is not his wife, but precisely because he looks at a woman in this way. Even if he looked in this way at the woman who is his wife, he could likewise commit adultery ‘in his heart.’"[3]

John Paul is saying that it is possible for a husband to treat his wife as ‘nothing but an object for his gratification.’

The sinful perversion of sodomy, man with man and woman with woman, is most grievous against ‘holy purity.’ It was recently reported by the New York Times that in Key West, Florida the densely populated year-round sodomite community celebrates a Fall Fantasy Fest each year. Same-sex rituals are performed in full public display with little or no outcry from local police or towns people. Key West has been referred as a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. [4]

"Decorum and modesty are younger brothers of purity," said St. Josemaría Escrivá.

When a woman, young or old, dresses immodestly, she not only tempts men to sin against purity, but she incurs the sin of temptress upon her own soul. An immodest woman who reveals her body while she is walking at a public venue (a shopping mall, a sports arena, a concert) could conceivably cause hundreds, perhaps thousands of men to commit the sins of ‘lust of the eyes’ and ‘adultery in the heart’ in one hour’s time.

An immodestly dressed cheerleader, for example, whom the ESPN television camera man captures numerous times for a hundred million male viewers, would certainly be a cause of tremendous spiritual harm for young and adult male viewers nationwide. In addition, the anger and contempt that wives and mothers hold in their hearts for such immodest women, who tempt their sons and husbands, is another sin against purity of heart.

Woe to immodest women who invite through the eyes many iniquities into the soul. For such women tempt the beast in men and cause loss of dignity and respect for the whole of womanhood.

A certain popular priest, well known to viewers of a Catholic television network, was a college champion swimmer and diver. After entering the priesthood, and as our culture decayed in decorum and modesty, he sadly could no longer frequent swimming pools and the seaside. It became an occasion of sin for him due to the immodestly dressed women in bathing suits designed to publicly expose their bodies.

If, today, you invite guests to your swimming pool, it would be well to have modest bathing suits, in all sizes, to maintain the purity of heart at your home. Or better yet, do as a popular ...

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