Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sexual Purity?

The article I wrote for this weekend's bulletin:

What comes to mind when we hear that words ‘sexual purity’? Is it something that we don’t need to worry about? Something only priests and religious do? Something outdated that we need to cut ties with? I hope that you didn’t say ‘yes’ to those questions because in reality sexual purity is a beautiful gift that God desires each of us to live, whether married, single, or a religious. It is a way of life that all people are called to live – a life of chaste relationships, modesty, and a true respect for others.

There are many in our culture that think that sexual purity is a thing of days long past, something that inhibits our ability to be ‘free’ and do what we want. These people will tell us that the restrictions are unnecessary and that if something makes us feel good or brings us happiness for a moment, there is nothing wrong with it and we ought to be able to enjoy it. And we often take this in without realizing it. If we were to realize what they were telling us, we might be able to make a clearer choice for the good; but it is often disguised. This reminds me of something that happened at my house recently. A stray cat made our back porch his new home. Seeing that he was sick, my mom took him to the vet and she was given some pills for the cat to take to get better. She covered them in peanut butter and the cat ate them up like they were treats. One time, though, she tried to simply put it in the cat’s food. Going outside later, she noticed that all the food was gone and on the plate there sat the little pill. She went and got the peanut butter and pretty soon the cat was enjoying another of those delicious little ‘treats’.

A similar thing happens to us with our use of the media. Our TV shows, movies, magazines, and internet websites are so ‘tasty’ that we often fail to realize what it is that we are really taking in. Mixed in with those good things are little ‘pills’ that are actually harmful to us. It can come in those brief commercials on TV, the unnecessarily racy scenes in movies, or those little ads in magazines and internet sites, and we are so used to it that we just act as if it is normal, part of daily life. And as they become part of daily life in what we see, they can easily become daily life in what we do and how we live. The question is what do we do about it? Do we stop watching TV, seeing movies, reading magazines, and using the internet? That’s one option. But most would think that a drastic step. So what other options are there?

As Fr. Miles mentioned in his bulletin article last month, it is good to exercise ‘custody of the eyes,’ modesty in dress, and pre-marital abstinence. In addition to that – PRAY! As Americans, we often think that we have to do things and forget that spending a few minutes in prayer can be more effective than a whole day of work. The grace to do all things comes from God, so to be in contact with Him is vital. It is with that thought in mind that we have begun the rosary for sexual purity, prayed each Tuesday after the Mass and Benediction. In recent weeks we have consistently drawn 60+ people of all ages to this powerful prayer. We pray for ourselves first and secondly for our society, taking the words of St. Francis as our model: Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society. So why not come join us and help us as we pray to change the world one person at a time by being little beacons of the light of Christ in a world with so much darkness?