In spite of a fall and three stitches on his forehead and a bout with flu, the Pope kept going on! His marathon visit to Poland is a story on its own. A story of faith and enthusiasm. This man believes in what he preaches!
Saturday June 12th was his eight day in Poland. That day he celebrated Mass for over half a million people in Sandomierz, one of the oldest cities in Poland, in the south of the country.
In front of the many youth present, the Pope decided to speak of purity! A timely subject but which is hardly ever spoken about any more. One of the papers was quick to snap in this headline : Pope makes purity fashionable!
Do it, Everyone Else Does It
God created sex. He made it. And so it is beautiful and holy! It expresses an all-out love and a promise between a man and a woman. It is a sign of a total and long lasting commitment.
Sex is also powerful. So is electricity. Electric power can be dangerous, if it does not run in the correct channels, and if safety procedures are not used. Sex is the same.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is beautiful. It states vigorously ‘Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.’
It also gives us very clear practical means to maintain a healthy approach towards sexuality. ‘Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. ” You can accomplish more in one hour with God than one lifetime without Him.
The Bible contains lots of teaching on sex and relationships. One simple advice comes from Saint Paul in his letter to Timothy. “Treat younger men as you would your own brother, and treat older women as you would your own mother. Show the same respect to younger women that you would to your sister.”
One can laugh at this recommendation. One can follow it.
Unfortunately many have low self-esteem – they feel worthless, they believe they have nothing of value in them. So they find themselves in a sexual relationship simply because they think it will bring them love and acceptance, and make them feel better about themselves. It doesn’t!
Sex is meant to be enjoyed in a secure and loving relationship. No relationship is secure outside the public commitment of marriage. Obviously, being married is more than having a piece of paper, it is two people giving themselves to each other for life. The marriage certificate just proves that we are serious about it. It guards us against each other’s quick change of mind and gives security for both partners and for any children that come.
Is It Just Harmless Fun?
Another common trap is pornography. Films, video, internet, magazines. Pornography is a billion dollar industry. It exploits those who buy it – usually men. It exploits those who are in it – usually women and girls.
The thing about it is that it is all a lie. Many photographic tricks are used. Trick lighting, trick angles, make up, airbrushing of photos are used to enhance the image. Real girls are not like that.
Pornography harms deeply those who are addicted to it. It shows women as sex objects. The effect of this can be really crushing because it makes real relationships with any woman very difficult. Instead of drawing men to women, pornography actually takes them away from women.
Besides, our minds operate like a computer hard disk. Everything we load into our minds stays there. Pornography is very addictive. It slowly changes our character. It takes over our thinking. It controls us.
The test is simple. Can YOU stop watching or surfing in search of more kicks? If your answer is no, this means you have been hooked in.
But there is always hope. God understands. And forgives. Always. The Desert Fathers used to repeat : ‘The greatest thing a man can do is to throw his faults before the Lord and expect temptation to his last breath.’
A Word Of Wisdom
“Contemporary man,’ the Pope emphasized, ‘must constantly make the effort to oppose the forces of evil, which exert pressure from the outside and affect his interior, in order to separate him from God. In man’s heart, there is an incessant struggle for truth and happiness. In order to obtain victory in this struggle, man must go to Christ.”
Addressing the youth directly, the Holy Father exclaimed in a loud voice: “Do not be afraid to live in a way contrary to trendy opinions and ways of life in conflict with God’s law. Do not let yourselves be seduced by illusions of happiness for which you will have to pay a price that is too high, the price of often incurable wounds or even of a life destroyed! Only a pure heart can bring to fulfillment that great commitment of love which is marriage. Only a pure heart can fully serve others. Do not allow your future to be destroyed.”
Make me a saint, Lord – and spare me not in the making!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.