The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Feast of Christ the King
Today we continue with our catechesis on the seven capital sins. Last week we considered the sin of Anger. Today we examine the capital sin of lust.
“The vice opposed to the virtue of chastity. Called luxuria in Latin and commonly referred to as impurity in English, lust always indicates an excessive, that is, irrational, attachment to venereal pleasure. Because of the wide variety of vicious acts and habits it causes, Christian tradition classifies it as one of the seven capital sins. The malice of lust is shown in the vices to which it leads: blindness of the mind, rashness, thoughtlessness, inconstancy, self-love, and excessive attachment to the material world. It destroys man’s humanity by subjecting sexual activity not to its proper ends recognized by reason, that is, the procreation of children and the promotion of the mutual love of spouses in marriage, but instead to mere bodily pleasure.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia)
Human sexuality / fertility is a good and powerful drive that God has given to human beings both for the continuation of the human race and the bonding of husband and wife. This gift is never to be exercised in a casual or unloving way. The gift of sexuality, as something which is good, can always be distorted and manipulated in ways clearly not intended by our Creator. Lust is the objectification of and treating / using another human being, not as an end who should be treated with love, but merely as a means for the satisfaction of one’s sexual desire. Typically, lust will be ultimately expressed in acts of fornication and adultery, yet Saint John Paul II shocked many when he said that, “Lust can happen even in marriage.” By this, he meant that even though husband and wife have a “right” to each others’ bodies in the sacrament of marriage, they still can run the risk of selfishly using the other. The following universal statement is a clear differentiation between lust and love; essential to keep in mind, whether outside marriage or within:
Lust takes. Love gives.
One of the worst social and spiritual plagues of our age; a singular exponent of the culture of death, is pornography. Though this “product” has existed in paint and sculpture for millennia, its scope was relatively small until the last half-century. In our modern age of home video and especially the internet, pornographic videos and images have become widely available. It is a $97 billion-a-year industry.
Pornography is NEVER acceptable for a Christian. It dehumanizes the models/actors and those involved in its production; yet it specifically dehumanizes and desensitizes the consumers of such material. It is very intoxicating / addictive, and many studies claim that there is a strong correlation between the (legal) availability and consumption of pornographic material and the rate of rape and other sex crimes. It is a very spiritual sin in the sense that it turns a human subject made in the image and likeness of God into an object. It literally distorts the brain and will warp the whole person who truly becomes a slave of the porn; needing more and more explicit material to stimulate… It kills the soul. (If someone you know has a problem in this area, urge them to get help. This topic will be revisited in the future, and I hope to soon provide helpful literature and websites to combat this vice that can get hold of any of us.)
We all need to monitor what we view and read as best as possible (many popular network television programs and magazines are borderline soft-porn), because once it enters us, it is very tough to get it out. It is the taking of something beautiful and intimate and perverting it. If “custody of the eyes” is not practiced, the entertaining of impure thoughts will follow, and will likely lead to increased impure desires, resulting in actions. It is a slippery slope, and we are fools if any of us believe we are exempt from its power
The antidote to lust is chastity, in mind and body. It is not prudery, but an attitude of sexual uprightness - a profound respect for one’s self and the “otherness” of the other; and the refusal to objectify another, whether within or outside marriage. The goal is purity, but not restricted to that which is proper to the state of virginity. Purity is for everyone. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that will bring freedom and peace to marriages and families. It helps us to truly love.
A Grace Filled Week At St. Paul’s
Last Thursday (the 25th) was our annual Gala/Casino Night. This annual event is always fun-filled and so enjoyable for our parishioners. It is also a major fund raiser for our parish. As I write this the Gala is still in the future, but I am sure it will be a great success. Next week I will write about it and acknowledge all those whose devotion and self-sacrifice brought us a beautiful evening.
Please remember that Thursday of this week is November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints and a Holyday of Obligation. The schedule of Masses is listed in this week’s bulletin. Friday, November 2nd is All Souls day. It is a day when we pray for our beloved deceased and visit the cemeteries. Mass will be in the Chapel at 8AM. Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 12 noon and conclude with a Holy Hour led by Deacon Ray at 7PM. The whole day will be brought to its conclusion with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament at 8PM on Friday.
On Saturday November 3rd at 9AM we will have our annual Mass for the Faithful Departed in the Church. Please make every effort to attend. At this mass we pray particularly for all those who have died during the past year.
St. Agnes Medal
Sincere congratulations to Mrs. Toni Poolin upon whom Bishop Barres conferred the Medal of St. Agnes on Sunday, October 28, 2018.
A Blessed All Saints Day and All Souls Day to all.
SAVE THE DATE: On Sunday, November 25th all our parish volunteers and founding members will be recognized and blessed at the 11.000 Mass with a reception to follow. Please be sure to attend that Mass and receive a blessing. It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda