Daily Reflection May 9 2008: Friday the Seventh Week of Easter

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Collect of the Day:

Father in glorifying Christ and sending us your Spirit, you open the way to eternal life. May our sharing in this gift increase our love and make our faith grow stronger.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Act of the Apostles: 25:13-21: Jesus was dead, whom Paul claimed to be alive.

The Gospel: John: 21:15-19: Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Cardinal Virtues Part Four: LUST.

Lust is any intense desire or craving for self gratification and excitement. While usually this conjures in our minds sins of a sexual nature, the sin of lust is much more far reaching. Of course as we have just stated we can lust for sexual pleasure, but we can also lust for power, lust for position, lust for blood, lust for possessions and lust for food. In fact the Early Church Fathers considered control in our eating habits crucial to the control of lust in all areas of our lives. St. John Cassian tells us:

“He has no lasting purity and chastity who is not contented always to keep to a well balanced and temperate diet.”

” He then will never be able to check the motions of a burning lust who cannot restrain the desires of the appetite.”

St. Augustine of Hippo describes lust as an appetite of the mind by which temporal goods are preferred to eternal goods. People can become so despondent with life and the need for stimuli that they begin to look to possessions, other people, drugs and liquor to fill the void in their lives that can be only filled by a living relationship with God. Dorothy L Sayers (1893-1957) described the society in which she lived as a place where:

“Men and Women may turn to lust in sheer boredom and discontent, trying to find more stimulus which is not provided by the drab discomfort of their mental and physical surroundings………… We have reached one of those of spiritual depressions, where people go to bed because they have nothing better to do.” (Dorothy L Sayers, The Other Six Deadly Sins Methuen, 1943, pp. 4-5.)

I wonder how she would rate the Twenty First Century? So what is the cure for this spiritual malady? I think St. Augustine gives us a clue in his statement above when he tells us that lust occurs when the temporal is preferred to the eternal. A prescription to remedy this problem can be found in the teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola in his ‘Spiritual Exercises’:

“Humanity was created for a certain end. This end is to praise, to reverence, and to serve the Lord your God, and by this means to arrive at eternal salvation.

All other beings and objects which surround us on the earth were created for the benefit of humanity, and to be useful to them, as a means to their final end; hence their obligation to use, or abstain from the use of, these creatures, according as they bring them nearer to that end, or tend to separate them from it.”

This is an example of how to live in tune with the concept of perfect Chastity. Many confuse the concept of chastity with total abstinence, which is not correct. Chastity consists of using objects as they ought to be used, no more and no less. It is also a concept to be practiced by both Clergy and Laity, Married or Single, Consecrated or otherwise, and provides the greatest remedy for the lusts that tempt us all.

Msgr. Ian+

Prayer for Purity:

Jesus, help me to love as you do. Make me pure of body, pure of mind, and pure of heart that I might see God and enjoy his plan for me. Make me clean, and heal me from the wounds of sin. Strengthen me each day to live the love to which you call me. By myself, I am weak and my heart is not pure, but in you I can be strong and holy.

Mary, I want to be pure like you are.

St. Joseph, I want to have your courage to guard the purity of others and myself. Please help me in my walk with Jesus, so that I can glorify God in my body, and join you all in heaven one day.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
St. Maria Goretti, pray for us.

Amen.

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