LATIN MASS-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost July 23rd, 2017
Jul 25, 2017
If I were to combine the Epistle with the Gospel today, I would be compelled to speak on the virtue of holy purity. For the Epistle stated, "just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slave to impurity and lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus Our Lord."
Then our Gospel reminded us that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. For not everyone that says to Me, "Lord, Lord" will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
Our of these Scriptures led me to discover a vision of hell that St. John Bosco had in 1868. In this vision, St. John Bosco described many traps that had inscriptions of Pride, Disobedience, Envy, Sloth, and Anger. Stepping back a bit to see which ones trapped the greatest numbers, he discovered that the most dangerous were those of impurity, disobedience, and pride. In fact, these three were linked together, and of these, many are dragged into these traps because of the snare of human respect. Looking even more closely, he spotted knives among the traps. A providential hand had put them there for cutting oneself free. The bigger ones, symbolizing meditative prayer, were for use against the trap of pride, others, not quite as big, symbolized spiritual reading done well. There were also two swords representing devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, especially, through frequent Holy Communion, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin. There was also a hammer symbolizing Confession and other knives signifying devotion to St. Joseph, to St. Aloysius, and to other saints. By these means, many were able to free themselves or evade capture.
Yet, why do so many today find themselves on the slippery slope of sin and impurity? If we look back to when TV was first introduced, there were a set of moral standards that everyone adhered to. Today, these norms are gone. It is almost anything goes. In the entertainment world, many have been lured into a deadly sleep that is difficult to rouse from. Constant bombardment of indecent material leads to blindness that causes a person to grossly underestimate the value of eternal things and grossly underestimate the moral depravity of certain actions. The end result is an attitude of permissiveness, and it gets worse the more these things are indulged in until a point is reached where virtue is actually considered abnormal or unattainable.
We see in the history of the world that the fall of great empires was always preceded by a collapse of morality within its boundaries. The internal moral rot would eventually weaken the fabric of even the strongest civilizations to the point that it could no longer resist the attacks of foreign invaders.
God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and brought about the Great Flood on account of these sins. Such was the cause of Babylonian captivity. It was Solomon's demise, that led King David to murder, and the wise Solomon to idolatry, lust started Martin Luther, Henry VII, and Napoleon onto their respective paths of apostasy, infidelity, murder, and ruin. But,on the contrary, look what happens when Christianity is practiced within a culture and allowed to flourish. It brings with it peace, order, and reform,even though the cost of its establishment can be a high one.
Still, because of widespread immodesty in our culture today, many have lost eh sense of what it means to be pure. Holy purity requires modesty of dress, words and actions for its cultivation and preservation at all times and in all places. Lust in all its forms effectively destroys this order, causing men and women to see each other as objects and not as God intended.
The challenge for the Catholic is to distance him or herself so as to be counter-cultural within their own souls, and within their own families and homes. We are in a world now of an insidious social acceptance of perversity and disgust at virtue. For centuries, the saints and wise spiritual authors have recommended that the best thing to draw one's attention to in the midst of this kind of temptation is the scourging of Our Lord. This I have done countless times as a priest in the confessional and I recommend it to anyone struggling to be pure. For left to our own strength, holy purity is a losing battle. Yet, we can be successful if we pray and avail ourselves to the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Confession, and by doing our best to stay away from the near occasions of sin.
We can pray, Dear Lord, grant me the grace to hate this sin of impurity and to conquer it so I can defend myself and my family from it. Mother most pure, pray for me and my family. May Holy Purity remain in my life and in my home and family. Amen.