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.
We often pray, at Mass, for an increase of vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. At the same time, we should pray for the grace of discernment for those called to Holy Matrimony.
We need priests. We need them to offer Holy Mass and to hear our Confessions. We need Religious Sisters and Brothers, and the many works of the Apostolate they carry out: teaching, health care, catechesis and evangelization.
We need married couples. They bring life into the world in accord with God’s plan to, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gn 1:28)
Thanksgiving is a secular holiday that nonetheless reminds us of the important Christian virtue of gratitude. The Greek word for giving thanks to God is the same word we use for the ‘Eucharist.’ For Catholics, the Holy Sacrifice of Christ is offered at Holy Mass as a thank-offering to God. Gratitude to God for our life, our faith, for all His gifts and blessings, can be an antidote against selfishness, envy, and giving in to sadness.
I am grateful for acceptance; personal acceptance. Acceptance is the act by which someone receives a thing with approbation or approval. Acceptance is the essence of a gift. The gift is given and accepted. Acceptance links the giver and the one who receives and accepts.
After 40 days of Lent, the Church celebrates 50 days of Easter, concluding the liturgical Season of Christ’s triumph at Pentecost. We hear the Alleluias freely and joyfully sung. Easter provisions often include lilies and other colorful flowers; the Paschal or Easter Candle which was solemnly brought into the darkened church at Easter Vigil, stands lit, most appropriately near the lectern where the Gospel is proclaimed.
The readings of this season are frequently drawn from the Acts of the Apostles, and provide us vignettes of the early Church; the exuberance of the followers of Christ who now have seen Him alive. The work of the Holy Spirit, manifest at Pentecost, is the dynamic power of the work of evangelization which spreads from Jerusalem and into all the known world. The Gospel readings recount the appearances of the Risen Jesus. He comes in the flesh. He is not a Ghost. (Lk 24:39) His wounds remain - reminders of the price of His love for us. The Apostle Thomas will touch them, (Jn 20:27-28), examine them, for the help of our own faith.
The sign of Christian Hope is the Resurrection of Jesus. It is His victory over sin and death. It is the pledge and promise that, if we follow Him faithfully in carrying the Cross, we can also rise with Him to new life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love Him and do His will.” (CCC. no. 1821) Hope is that Theological Virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises…” (CCC. no. 1817)