Tuesday 12th December 2017

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A Leaven In The World… Chastity: Life Ring For Souls Morally Adrift

December 4, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

“For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known” (Luke 8:17). The moral danger of forgetting that the Lord is our intimate companion and knows us better than we know ourselves gives rise to temptations and sins that beset us with the consequence of rejecting His love and friendship.
Well-known and once-venerable personalities have fallen from their lofty perches following sexual harassment allegations. The very bankable and expensive face of NBC News himself, Matt Lauer, is gone overnight after what management determined were credible allegations. The American institution, author, storyteller, humorist, voice actor, and radio personality responsible for originating what are among the greatest classics of National Public Radio, such as the tales of Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keillor, is also banished after being accused of the same.
The flood of accusations and firings continues to come weekly and there may not be an end to it soon. As more senators, TV personalities, and others among the rich and famous are toppled from their thrones the world is changing. Will it be for the better?
Some pundits lay the blame for the rash of accusations at the feet of Bill Clinton for glorifying predatory sexual behavior. It is true that a fish rots from the head down. Perhaps his well-publicized erotic White House escapades with a young intern did encourage others to entertain thoughts of giving into temptations of fornication or adultery in the workplace or professional world.
Whatever the origins of the most recent revelations across the media, government, political, and business spectrums, temptation itself is not a new phenomenon. What is new is the near total eclipse of reasonable and commonsense deterrents against destructive behavior to which any of us could fall victim. Glorification of infidelity and fornication added to that make for a potentially combustible mix.
The bizarre reactions to Vice President Pence’s statement that he avoids going to some social gatherings without the company of his wife are an example of the extreme jettisoning of common sense and prudence regarding the unpredictable and powerful nature of sexual attraction.
It is a good thing that corporations and other organizations do not want to be associated in any way with sexually abusive behavior of any kind. Our society in this period, however, is ripe for another kind of abuse in reaction: a hysterical Salem-style witch-hunt. If the caution of prudence is thrown out the window in response to the torrent of accusation revelations, so that cases are not thoroughly and properly investigated, injustices can occur. Lives are at stake on both sides of the issue.
What is the answer, the way out of the moral swamp into which our society and even our Church to an extant have sunk? The answer is the moral “life ring” of chastity which can save those adrift in the moral relativism of our age.
Chastity is the answer as the Church has always taught officially. This remains true though, perhaps out of embarrassment, a sense of hypocrisy, or denial, many have refused to acknowledge it or to pass it on. Some parents (and priests) run to the Theology of the Body industry as a forum for talking about sexual issues with children. It’s not perfect but, whatever the weaknesses and strengths of the program, it may leave some teens scratching their heads wondering why their parents are avoiding saying the “c” (that is, chastity) word.
Children are to be raised in Eucharistic Faith and practice to learn and grow in the knowledge and belief that the Lord sees them in love and to make a return of that love. Learning to sense His paternal gaze upon us early in life provides great moral strength and growth in grace.
Anyone can easily fall victim to living a double life, outwardly conformist whether to religion or societal norms, while privately flouting the laws of God and man. Raised to pray and worship, however, with regular practice of such on the Lord’s Day, encourages a moral sense in the child as called to holiness. We must remain near the holiness of God all of our lives in order to hear His call and receive His help. This should begin as early as possible in the life of each and every child, so that they know what is right and reject what is wrong and also have the grace of God to follow through.
It is not a cultural Christianity, however, that will help us to avoid sexual temptation. Doing what others do because they do it in the end isn’t enough, because when those others do what is wrong we are likely to also lose our moral compass.
We must learn to do what is right and good because God commands it. The sixth imperative of the Decalogue, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is the source of much of our teaching on sexuality. That the marital act is reserved alone to those who are validly married, and that all others must dedicate themselves to celibacy or abstinence until marriage, flows from it. That God would command something and then leave us without the help to obey Him would be a cruel and false caricature of the true God who has fully revealed His infinite love flowing from the pierced heart of His Son on Calvary.
Of all the graces He gives, it is His Son sacrificed for us on Calvary and whose Presence and Sacrifice continue most perfectly in the Eucharist who provides the graces of chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within it.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Human beings need a reason to be good and other human beings are a very undependable reason for something as important as touching upon our eternal salvation. No, our moral life — of such supreme interest to the Lord — must be lived for Him and for His sake and then only after that for others, such as spouse, children, family, friends, coworkers, and others.
We do owe others a good example, and we should desire to appear to be good as much as to be good. As well, for love of Him who looks upon our every thought and movement with divine solicitude, and who is a jealous God, we love others and seek to be good.
The Lord looks into the heart and sees all we do, and it is His opinion that matters most. No, sex is not entertainment, even for consenting adults. It is a sacred gift for marriage alone. Leave it where God put it or you’ll get burned — as we see with so many victims. Only one man and one woman already committed within marriage can properly handle such a potentially explosive and powerful gift. God’s plan for marriage keeps the marital act holy, life-giving, and loving.
God is not indifferent to our use of His grace and we either grow in it or lose it altogether:
“Take heed therefore how you hear. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given: and whosoever hath not, that also which he thinketh he hath, shall be taken away” (Luke 8:18).
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. @MCITLFrAphorism

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