Are you planning on being a parent one day? Are you already a parent (pregnant or with small children) and looking to allow your children to live in the freedom that God allows? Then we can’t ignore a current crisis in every corner of society.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of another by seeing what it would take to overcome a great struggle. Let’s work extra to allow EACH human to have enough knowledge to choose the freedom of a clean heart.
I want to bring up a trending topic in the Catholic young adult world: purity. It seems to have no place in anyone’s life, but yet there are strong examples of purity both in single life and marriage, because both are called to live purely within each season of life or vocation (St. Gianna Molla, St. Maria Goretti, numerous sisters and nuns of religious vocations including St. Teresa of Avila, St. Faustina, St. Mother Teresa, etc.). I have been around very impure environments, such as a large U.S. public campus university, and I have had to leave because I was seeking what I could not find: a peace of heart. Now, after 5 years of learning how to successfully find this in my life (through many trials and many experiences full of more trust in God and learning), I have to admit one thing: habits created to guard a pure environment (internally and externally) can be inspired by God and kept as a strong, never-ending desire; it will always be a desire to be renewed daily and we must pray to maintain great conviction in this loving desire. In other words, you will always have to choose concerning personal purity (there is no ‘neutral space’, for to not explicitly act toward the highest good is to do less than you are called to do). You must renew the correct choice to desire God’s gift of purity in heart, mind, and soul all the time because it will be in danger more often than you’d like due to the low societal expectations of virtue today (or at least this has been my experience when I must live away from strong nets of life-giving, refreshing, awakening Christian communities tucked within the problematic U.S. society as a whole). However, there is no greater joy than living by how God gives this Catholic Church (meant for every single one of us, even including non-Catholics) to teach the world by maintaining a pure heart (mind, body, and by the soul, which must be often restored to life by Jesus through His mercy in Reconciliation, as the lovely Audrey Assad explained in the following video).
I am not asking you to read this JUST for the sake of your own knowledge, but instead for something much bigger than the individual. I seek society change and help amongst neighbors and friends. I am asking you to know the problem that we must overcome as a society. I am asking you to realize that there are brothers and sisters among us who may need to learn from you but may not be willing to pick up this book. It’s not exactly a coffee table book, but it’s well worth reading for anyone who is involved with a family dynamic…so, everyone. Everyone knows someone who could benefit from this book, and I don’t even mean that it must address the specific problem areas that are mentioned most regularly. Just insert the grave concern of choice, and this book still functionally addresses it: dwelling on the negative actions of others/being just too intimate with partner/overeating and feeling too full are exactly the material that gives the Devil his space to thrive.
“Pleasure is one dimensional…on the plane of physical. The clean of heart are able to live intensely on all planes—with a full awareness of all the world, of the music, of the flowers, of the children, friends, and above all the supernatural. Those of unclean heart become increasingly blind to these other dimensions of love and beauty…” (Scott, 2006, p. 24).
“By removing the distortions of lust, a clean heart will help you to make peace with and appreciate your sexuality. You will ultimately begin to see it as a friend rather than an enemy, as a blessing, not a curse. Pray for the grace to appreciate the virtue of chastity, to want to be chaste according to your state in life, and to desire to do God’s will in this matter. Thank God for your sexuality and realize it is a blessing that God gives us to be used only in marriage. Ask Him daily to help you want to only use it according to His will” (Scott, 2006, p. 25).
Side note for any readers not familiar with Audrey Assad’s bold, brilliant artistic talent:
Let’s close in a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas:
“O holy, innocent Master, thou leader of the most pure of soul, I now begin to understand what gained for thee the title, ‘Angel of the Schools.’ The eye of an angel must indeed be able to contemplate that which constitutes an angel’s blessedness. Well didst thou understand that saying of the Holy Spirit: ‘Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sin.’ Thou hast told me that the heart that gives itself up to sensuality, must be weak, bad, and subject to low instincts. I believe thee, and I will follow thy counsels. Never will I have aught to do with what might endanger the lovely, the precious purity of my soul. When the tempter suddenly appears, may I like thee in the hour of thy fiery and memorable victory, seize the flaming brand of holy love with which to put my enemy to flight. I solemnly promise thee, my holy Leader, to flee from every shadow of danger, to be watchful in the choice of my books, my friends, my conversations, my recreations, yes, even in my food and drink as far as in me lies.
But do thou, O heavenly Protector, obtain for me the divine assistance in those encounters from which so few come forth victorious. I will conquer, I must conquer! Protect me from whatever could wound purity in the least degree and keep me in the love of this beautiful virtue till the end, that I may belong to those who in heaven thank thee for thy guard over them and contribute to thy glory, O thou triumphant Leader and renowned Hero of virginity! Amen.”