“God who created man out of love, also calls him to love-the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1604).
Love. Jesus is love….Jesus is mercy. One of the most beautiful lines in the prophet Isaiah is: “Thus says the Lord, he who created you…he who formed you…Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine (Isaiah 43: 1). The love we are seeking is in God. The fulfillment and unity we are seeking is in God. We belong to God.
If we look around us, there is always signs of God’s love for us. As I was sorting through our holy cards, I found the above picture in our holy cards bin. I wondered what their story was. I learned that the above photo taken is of Kyrie and Brielle Jackson who are twins and were born on October 17th, 1995, a full 12 weeks ahead of their due date. Kyrie weighed about 2lbs 3 oz and was doing well, while her tiny sister Brielle had breathing and heart rate problems, little weight gain and her oxygen level was low. In order to reduce the risk of infection, the babies were placed in separate incubators. A nurse decided to try a new approach! She put Kyrie in the same incubator as Brielle! Kyrie put her left arm around her little sister which medical professionals call the “Rescue Hug” and within minutes Brielle’s condition improved drastically! Her blood oxygen levels improved, her heart rate stabilized, and her temperature rose to normal! What a miracle! I read the full article on the Life Institute website:
This true story reminds me that God is embracing us with His love. When we allow the Lord to embrace us and love us, we are healed!
There is also the embrace that occurs in the Sacrament of Matrimony. When man and woman come together in Marriage they “become on flesh” and the result of that loving embrace is a great gift… another human being with a soul, body and purpose. The result of the love is another human being, known and loved by God from all eternity! This is indeed a great gift, that man and woman when they cooperate with the grace of God in love are able to bring life into the world.
The life of chastity is a call to great intimacy and union. You may ask, how? When people hear the word “chastity” they think “no intimacy.” This mindset is not true. Chastity is intimacy to a very high degree, for it is an embrace that surpasses a physical relationship. A life of chastity is a life of universal love. It is a love like the love of Jesus which is warm, intense and universal. It is a love that embraces all people. A chaste person has such a big heart which needs to pour itself out in self-less love for God and for others. Please note that chastity is not a call of a few people…it is the call of all people proper to whatever vocation we are called to. Since we are temples of the Holy Spirit and God dwells within us, God desires us to have purity and innocence of life. St. Paul tells us: “Know that you are a temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.” (1 Cor 3:16, 17). So we are temples of God…and God’s Spirit dwells within us. We want our bodies and our souls to be beautiful for God to dwell in.
The world speaks the false lie that a life of chastity is a horrible life. The world says, “How can you live your life without having sex? That must be a horrible life!” As a woman who has made the vow of chastity, I know that this is indeed a sacrifice. What a beautiful gift it is to be married and have children! What a beautiful gift for a woman to have a life inside of her! In making this sacrifice, in choosing to live a life of chastity, it strengthens our love all the more. Love is not a feeling…it is not a physical pleasure…Love is more than words. Pope Benedict XVI says in His encyclical Deus Caritas Est: “Love becomes concern and care for the other…it seeks the good of the beloved.” Deus Caritas Est 6. What is the ultimate good that we want for the other? Heaven.
Adam and Eve were so pure in the beginning. Yet because of original sin, man and woman suffer temptations of all kinds. Jesus said, “The things that come forth from the heart…defile a man. From the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, and adulteries.” (Matthew 15, 18:19) Jesus further says, “The light of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness…”(Matthew 6:22-23). What is Jesus challenging us too? He is challenging us to be prudent and virtuous when it comes to the use of our senses so that we will be chaste in mind, heart, and body.
So basically…we are in a battle. Our senses are all over the place. Our passions are at times raging like a storm on the sea…but guess what…we are ALL in a battle! It is very hard sometimes to keep the senses pure. Due to fallen human nature, it is easy to fall into sin by looking at images, watching movies, or listening to music that leads soul far away from God! What do people need to do in order to be pure? A few things to keep in mind in order to live a chaste life no matter what vocation you are called too:
- Pray the Rosary everyday!
- Pray to St. Joseph, who is most chaste! He will protect you and shield you!
- Pray to your Guardian Angel to defend you when the temptations are strong!
- Be careful not to look at images that are impure. Ask yourself, “is this bringing me closer to God or further away?”
- Find relationships that are God-centered, pure and modest.
- Dress modestly! Cover up! Remember you are a temple of the Holy Spirit!
- Peacefully and patiently turn away from impure images in your mind. You cannot stop birds from flying over, but you can stop them from building a nest! Thoughts are just thoughts. If you fight them, they might get more intense and severe. Let them pass, even say a prayer calmly: “Jesus have mercy, Mary help!”
- Treat each other with respect and honor, for we are all images of God. Ladies, ask yourself, “How would the Blessed Virgin Mary treat this man?” Or if you are a man ask yourself, “How would St. Joseph treat this woman?” Keeping this in mind will help you make good decisions on how to act and what to say.
Now…we have been talking about the seven deadly sins and how they can appear in our spiritual life. We have talked about spiritual pride, and spiritual avarice so far…now we are going to take the very delicate topic of spiritual lust…next week…