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Sex and Holy Purity - Part Two

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By Barbara Kralis

©Barbara Kralis 2004
Catholic Online.org

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:

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"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.

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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 Catholic Family land place of retreat in Ohio practices. They have an excellent code of modesty for families swimming at their pool. Everyone wears long loose t-shirts over their swimming attire in and out of the water. God surely is pleased with this wholesome recreation.

Barbara Kralis

Here, below, is a popular Bishop Sheen vignette on this subject.



By Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

J.M.J.

What is the one thing in this free world, thanks to the press and television, that is the major interest to the young? It is sex. So, let's talk about it.

Let us now talk about the difference of love in a young man and love in a young woman. Now, I hope I can impress you young men and young women with this difference. I will say particularly you young women. There is a world of difference in which a man loves a woman and a woman loves a man - a world of difference.

A man can love a part of a woman; a woman can love only the whole man.

Now, that is why, my dear girls, that the boys will talk about your legs. They can love a part of you. They can love a dimple, but then they have to marry a woman.

Do you [girls] ever talk about boys' legs? Never. You never mention boys' legs. Why? Simply because you are not built that way and a boy is different. That is the reason why you've got to watch the young men. Don't think they love you simply because they love a part of you.

You girls are slow to love and the boys will say, "Oh, you're so cold."

You are not cold, you're wise, and that is what it is. You girls cannot love until you give yourself totally and completely. So, you wait.


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Therefore, do not rush into marriage; take your time. Wait and see whether the man is capable of sacrifice or not. Moreover, then the man, if he spoils you in any way, will not have the same love afterwards as before.

There is an interesting story in the scripture and that is always the place to go for wisdom in understanding human actions.

Amnon was in love with his half-sister, Tamar, the young daughter of King David. In addition, Amnon one day pretended he was sick and asked Tamar to bring him some cakes. Tamar brought the cakes, and then Amnon assaulted Tamar. Then he said to her, "Now, get out!" And he called the servants, locked the doors, and sent her away.

Moreover, scripture tells us the hate with which Amnon hated Tamar was greater than the love with which he had loved her. In other words, Amnon knew he was guilty, he had spoiled something, he had plucked a young blossom, and he projected the guilt to her as if she herself were guilty. [5]

A young girl told me once that a boy had ruined her and on the way back to her home, he gave her a lecture on how you've got to watch out for men, they're not good. They will pretend to love you. He was trying to escape his guilt.

So now we have learned that there is a world of difference between how a man loves and how a woman loves. And, wait until you're wise and you're mature. And, incidentally, we have a very long maturity in the United States.

Did you know, in the United States, we have the longest juvenility in the world? The Jews, for example, had about the age of thirteen. Today, you are considered a man. Yesterday, you were a boy, but now you are a grown young man. However, we have people going back and forth in juvenility to maturity, crossing, and recrossing the line. So, you wait until you mature in judgment.

In addition, finally, you'll often hear among yourselves, young men and women talking and saying, "I don't believe anymore I am an atheist. I just can't believe in God and the like."

Do not argue with them. I will give you a rule that will help you very much in life. Never pay very much attention to what people say, pay attention instead to why they say it. What are they covering up?

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I was instructing this stewardess of an international airline, I got up to the subject of Confession, and she said:.

"Now, I'll never go to Confession after hearing this instruction. I refuse to become a Catholic."

Well, I said, "Take one more lesson, and then at the end of that instruction you may discontinue."

Well, at the end of the next instruction, she was enraged. She shrieked, screaming, "Let me out of here! Now I'll never be a Catholic."

I said, "My dear girl, there's no proportion whatever between what you have heard and the way your acting. Have you had an abortion?"

She said, "Yes."

She finished instructions, I later witnessed the marriage and baptized a baby.

Do not pay attention to what people say. Why do they say what they say? Why was she attacking Confession? It was her way of escaping her inner guilt, blaming it on the Sacrament.

And, when you hear young people say, "I'm an Atheist," and so forth, do not argue about their faith. Look into their morals, how are they living? That is the important thing.

And, as our Blessed Lord said, " Blessed are the clean of heart, the pure of heart, for they shall see God."

Purity gives us vision. If the window was dirty, the light can not come in. If our morals are bad, then the faith and the light of God cannot come into us. So, keep yourselves clean.

Now, you wonderful young people, I trust that the Holy Spirit will inspire you to recall some of the things that I have talked to you about today. I have been very frank and I assume your goodness and that you'll always be good.

In addition, for you girls, may I say that there is such a thing as the 'apostolate of beauty.'?

The 'apostolate of beauty.' Do not be ashamed to think of that. You are young, attractive, but the mere fact that you are young, you are vivacious, do you realize that when beauty is virtuous, it is far more appealing than anything else. You recognize that I have power the good Lord has given me, the power of word, but he has given to you this other power. And it's more powerful really because as a wise old Greek said, "Everyone loves beauty."

So, practice the 'apostolate of beauty.' And as for you young men, life is hard, it's a struggle, but the Lord will not be failing in His goodness to you.

Thank you, and God love you.[6]

©Barbara Kralis 2004, all rights reserved.
https://www.catholic.org/

Endnotes:

[1] St. Josemaría Escrivá, "Christ is passing by," n. 164.

[2] In the Beatific Vision, the souls of the blessed see God directly, face to face, as he is in Himself. In this vision, the blessed equally enjoy God. This Vision is supernatural only to the blessed. The blessed will see and know all the mysteries believed on earth, and have the sight, recognition and enjoyment of those they loved on earth, and knowledge of the prayers and veneration addressed to them by those still on earth.

[3] Pope John Paul II, "Blessed are the Pure of Heart," §2, October 8, 1980 audience, published by Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Paul Ave, Boston, MA 02130, l983.

[4] "Key West, Suddenly Shy, Puts Pasties on Its Party," by Nick Madigan, 10/20/04, New York Times Newspaper: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/20/national/20keys.html?oref=login

[5] Cf. 2 Sam 13:1-19.

[6] Source: "Young and Sex" video, produced by Sheen Productions, Inc., 23 E. Main St., Victor, N.Y., with permission.

Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications. She is a regular columnist at Catholic Online , RenewAmerica.us , Life Issues , The Wanderer newspaper , New Oxford Review Magazine, Washington Dispatch , Catholic Citizens , Illinois Leader , NewsBull , MichNews , Intellectual Conservative, Phil Brennan's WOW , ChronWatch and others. Her first journalism position was with Boston Herald Traveler, l964. Barbara published and edited 'Semper Fidelis' Catholic print newsletter. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great State of Texas, and co-direct the Jesus Through Mary Catholic Foundation. She can be reached at: Avemaria@earthlink.net

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Keywords

Archbishop Sheen Today; Chastity; purity

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