I remember going to Washington D.C. for the first time many years ago.
We traveled by bus to participate in the annual January March for Life. It was in the morning that we came into the Capitol vicinities and I could see the Washington Monument. During the next days we would see – at least at a distance - the White House, the Jefferson Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. I had seen pictures of these sites in books and on television, but it was striking to see them “in person” the first time.
In doing the work of God; in carrying out our responsibilities as sons and daughters of the heavenly Father, the secret ingredient is love: love for God, love for others. It is the “thing” that can make the difference: like a pinch of salt; like a spoon of sugar; like a small measure of yeast. Love softens and changes things that seem solidified and impenetrable – that don’t appear to be changeable. Love notices things that others may never see. Love sees something in the eyes; it hears something in the voice, and love doesn’t fail to respond in support and kindness.
St Paul tells us that “There abide these three: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love. (I Cor 13:13) St Thomas Aquinas teaches that charity is the formal cause of all the virtues. That is, charity must be the motivation and driving force behind all our virtuous efforts. So also the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by Charity. .. It is the form of the virtues.” (CCC no. 1826)
I was in Rome once at the time of the election of a new pope, I heard a story that went like this: When a new pope is elected, the sacristans at St. Peter’s Basilica polish all the candlesticks and altarware of brass, bronze, silver, and gold. They then do not polish them again throughout the Holy Father’s Pontificate. As the story goes, this is because when the man is elected as pope, he is radiant and new, shiny and bright. As he continues in his tenure as pope, they say, he will fade and grow dull. According to the story, like the altar candles, the zeal and holiness of the Holy Father is likely to tarnish and deteriorate.
In the Descent of God the Holy Spirit on Pentecost the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity is made manifest.
Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity was revealed in the mystery of the Incarnation. He is God made man; true God and true man. He is the Son who in the course of His earthly mission reveals God as the Eternal Father.
As Jesus prepares His apostles at the Last Supper for His departure; His Death and Resurrection, His glorious Ascension into Heaven, He promises that, together with the Father, He will send the Holy Spirit. (Jn 14:16; Jn 16:7)
Temptations and sins against purity can be an obstacle to living God’s call to holiness.
St Thomas Aquinas says that sins against purity are the most discouraging, because, by them, we find ourselves to be like the animals. As children of the heavenly Father, we are meant to live with a pure love that seeks the good of the other out of a motive of love for God. Jesus calls us to be “pure of heart.” (Mt 5:8)
Living holy purity is part of the Virtue called temperance. Temperance is that “cardinal” virtue in the Christian life that moderates the attractions and appetites, so that we use created things for their true and right purpose. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1809). The habit or virtue of enjoying food or drink in moderation helps us ‘temper’ that appetite. So also chastity is the proper use of our sexuality according to our station in life. Sexual intimacy is proper to husband and wife who have formally sealed their life-long and exclusive fidelity to each other in marriage.