Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
WEDNESDAY, May 5th Jn. 15:1-8 “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
- Jesus also says in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” To remain in Jesus and Jesus in us—“I am the vine, you are the branches” —we must strive with the help of God’s grace, for purity of heart, mind, body and soul on a daily basis!
10 MEDITATIONS TO HELP YOU ATTAIN PURITY OF HEART by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Saint Paul exhorts us: “Glorify God in your bodies… your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Saint Peter builds on this all-important concept by expressing the value of our person and our eternal salvation with these words: “You were redeemed (bought back) not by silver or gold, nor by the blood of animals, but by the precious Blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:18-19)
With the words of Saint Paul and those of Saint Peter, we come to a keen and penetrating awareness of the dignity of the human person, as well as our eternal destiny—to be with God forever in heaven.
Therefore, let us delve into this all-important topic of purity, the virtue of chastity, and offer the means by which we can acquire this virtue so that we will be able to contemplate the beauty of the Face of God in time and for all eternity! In a real sense we are soldiers of Jesus and Mary and must compose a concrete strategy or plan so as to win, to conquer, the virtue of purity, keenly aware of the words of Jesus Himself who declared: “Nothing is impossible with God!” (Mt. 29:26)
1. Beggars Before God
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the great Saint Augustine is quoted: “We are all beggars before God.” This being the case, first and foremost we must beg God with humility and persistence for the virtue of purity.
Jesus Himself encourages us with these words: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened. For whoever asks receives; whoever seeks finds; and whoever knocks, the door will be opened.” (Mt. 7:7-8)
2. Fervent Prayer
Saint Teresa of Avila teaches us that prayer can attain all. Most specifically, if we beg the Lord in prayer for the virtue of purity, He will grant it to us. We must imitate the example of the insistent widow who prayed and begged, day and night, with persistence and perseverance until she gained her end. (Lk. 18:1-8) All graces and gifts come to us through humble, patient, persistent, and persevering prayer.
3. Curative and Preventive Medicine
As the Mystical Body of Christ, we are blessed and endowed with extraordinary graces and one of these is the Sacrament of Confession. Regarding the virtue of purity, Sacramental Confession or Reconciliation serves as a means to heal us if we have fallen into any sin, but for the purpose of this article, sins against purity.
Never forget, Confession also serves as a means to prevent sins, including sins against purity. If you will, it is like preventive medicine. Why get a flu-shot? Why take Vitamin C? Why take one or two tablets of Airborne? The response: as preventive medicine so as to prevent the flu, the cold, these sicknesses!
4. Custody of the Senses, Especially the Eyes
How true the saying: “The eyes are the mirror of the soul.” The dynamic and sequence is the following: What goes into our eyes reaches our mind, then from our mind it influences our emotions, and from our emotions it goes to our heart. From our heart, the seat of willing and decision-making, comes actions; actions transform into habits—good habits are called virtues, while bad habits are called vices. Finally, these habits, good or bad, form our personality and ultimately our eternal destiny.
Allowing bad images can wreak havoc in our total being; contrariwise, a strict vigilance over our senses, most especially our eyes, can safeguard the virtue of purity and help us to live pure, holy, and noble lives.
Never forget the sin of David! It started with David’s lack of custody over his eyes, allowing his eyes to wander over the beautiful Bathsheba, which ended in adultery and the killing of an innocent man. This was very displeasing to God! (2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12). Let us learn from this powerful Biblical lesson!
5. Avoid Laziness
Often one sin easily opens up the door to another. Not only for children and teens, but even for adults. We must not allow ourselves to be dominated by laziness. How true the saying: “Idleness is the mother of all sins.” If we do not have anything to do, the devil will give us plenty to do, often related to temptations and opportunities to fall into sins of impurity. An idle mind and a lazy body are an invitation to enter into the vice of impurity. May our days be replete with wholesome and constructive activities!
6. Desolation and Sadness
There is a universal principle in the spiritual life, so very well explained by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises and Rules for Discernment of Spirits, and it is the reality of the State of Desolation. What is desolation? It is a state that we all go through and experience at times in our spiritual life.
Feelings of sadness, discouragement, loneliness, hopelessness, lack of faith, hope, and charity—all of these can be signs of desolation. While in this state, the devil lifts his fiery arrows, especially the arrow of impurity, and shoots for the kill.
As valiant soldiers of Jesus and Mary, let us be aware of this state of soul. May we all pass through it and ward off the many temptations, often against purity, that the devil levels against us.
7. Practice of Prayer and Penance
It is in the Holy Season of Lent that we contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ in the desert.
While there for forty days and forty nights, Jesus practiced the vigorous discipline of fasting—going this long period of time without eating and drinking. Most likely we cannot go forty days without food and drink. However, all of us can and must get into the habit of frequent self-denial, penance, the ascetical life of discipline.
Point blank Jesus stated: “Some devils can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” (Mt 17:21) Among these devils are those of impurity! By saying NO to smaller things, we build up our spirit and will-power to resist the imperious and constant demands of the flesh. Saint Paul reminds us: “The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.” (Gal 5:17)
Either we conquer the flesh by God’s grace and our collaboration with His grace, or we become slaves of the flesh and our imperious passions. It is up to us; it is our choice!
8. The Holy Eucharist: Body and Blood of Christ
All of our human efforts cannot be compared with the infinite graces that flow from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Therefore, in our pursuit of the angelic virtue of purity, the faithful, frequent, and fervent reception of Holy Communion—the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, is without a doubt the most efficacious pathway and means to holiness and the virtue of purity!
In all truth, the Precious Blood of Jesus surges through your veins and arteries, into your heart, then it permeates and imbues the entirety of your body and all of your senses. So that you can say with Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
For the young, who at times are dominated by the passions and desires of the flesh, Saint John Bosco encouraged frequent Confession and frequent reception of Holy Communion, uncommon at the time, but so necessary to help them win the battle for purity.
9. A Well-Ordered Physical Life
God created the human person as a composite being—both body and soul. Up to this point, we have focused on the most important aspect in attaining purity—a deep relationship with Jesus through a fervent Sacramental life and an authentic prayer life. Jesus reminds us: “Without me you can do nothing… I am the Vine and you are the branches.” (Jn. 15:5)
However, of great importance is a well-ordered life with respect to the maintenance and proper use of our body in general. By this is meant that we should all strive for adequate rest every night. Also, we should have a proper and constant diet. Finally, physical exercise for our body has an important role to play.
When our body is run down in one, two, or all three of these areas, then temptations in many areas, including temptations against the virtue of purity, can skyrocket. Any Doctor or Medical Personnel will insist on rest, proper eating, and established periods of physical exercise. In the Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius of Loyola insists on ordering the disorder in our lives, so as to be able to seek and carry out the will of God in our lives.
10. A Filial and Dynamic Devotion to Mary
The saints in heaven, who were able to attain sanctity through heroic virtue, are unanimous in their love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint Faustina Kowalska encountered Jesus who placed a sash around her waist, granting her the gift of perfect chastity. Faustina confided that she had been begging for this grace of perfect chastity from the Blessed Virgin Mary for a long time.
So must we follow and walk in the footsteps of the saints, loving the Blessed Virgin Mary and begging her for this great gift, so that she in turn will bless and grace us with chastity, the virtue of purity, so that one day after having lived out the Beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8), we will contemplate the Face of God in Heaven for all eternity. May Our Lady be always at our side, in our mind, and in our heart!
In sum, we hope that through prayer, meditation, and the study of these short ten suggestions, we will compose our own spiritual strategy so that we can fight the good fight, run the good race, and so merit the crown of the glory that God gives to all His valiant and faithful soldiers!