Esto Vir! We are called to be the best version of ourselves; to be the man or woman God has called us to be!!!

Purity

‘We must be pure. I do not speak merely of the purity of the senses. We must observe great purity in our will, in our intentions, in all our actions.’
–St. Peter Julian Eymard

God desires from you the least degree of purity of conscience more than all the works you can perform.
–St. John of the Cross

Those whose hearts are pure are the temples of the Holy Spirit.
–St. Lucy

God demands great purity of certain souls, and so He gives them a deeper knowledge of their own misery. Illuminated by light from on high, the soul can better know what pleases God and what does not. (112)
–St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul

“Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.”
–Pope John Paul II

“Holy Purity is granted by God when it is asked for with humility.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“Chastity is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.”
–Pope John Paul II

“In the realm of evil thoughts none induces to sin as much as do thoughts that concern the pleasure of the flesh.”
–St. Thomas Aquinas

“In temptations against chastity, the spiritual masters advise us, not so much to contend with the bad thought, as to turn the mind to some spiritual, or, at least, indifferent object. It is useful to combat other bad thoughts face to face, but not thoughts of impurity.”
–St. Alphonsus Liguori

“Deep within yourself, listen to your conscience which calls you to be pure . . . a home is not warmed by the fire of pleasure which burns quickly like a pile of withered grass. Passing encounters are only a caricature of love; they injure hearts and mock God’s plan.”
–Pope John Paul II

“[God] has assigned as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman.”
–Pope John Paul II

“To be pure, to remain pure, can only come at a price, the price of knowing God and loving him enough to do his will. He will always give us the strength we need to keep purity as something as beautiful for him.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa

“‘Purity?’ they ask. And they smile. They are the ones who go on to marriage with worn-out bodies and disillusioned souls.”
– St. Josemaria Escriva

‘Blessed the one who loves holiness like the light and has not defiled his body with dark deeds of the Evil One in the sight of the Lord.’
–St. Ephrem of Syria

“Lust indulged became habit, and habit unresisted became necessity.”
– St. Augustine

“There is need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“Many live like angels in the middle of the world. You, … why not you?”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“When you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“When you have sought the company of a sensual satisfaction, what loneliness afterward!”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“To defend his purity, Saint Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, Saint Benedict threw himself into a thornbush, Saint Bernard plunged into an icy pond . . . You . . . what have you done?”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“Don’t say, ‘That’s the way I am—its my character.’ It’s your lack of character. Esto vir!—Be a man!”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“Purity is the fruit of prayer.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa

“Purity prepares the soul for love, and love confirms the soul in purity.”
–John Henry Cardinal Newman

“Holy Purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue, is a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like the angels of God in heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh.”
–St. John Bosco

“As soon as you willfully allow a dialogue with temptation to begin, the soul is robbed of peace, just as consent to impurity destroys grace.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“Temptation is necessary to make us realize that we are nothing in ourselves.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
–Our Lady of Fatima

“Filthy talk makes us feel comfortable with filthy action. But the one who knows how to control the tongue is prepared to resist the attacks of lust.”
–St. Clement of Alexandria

“Never talk of impure things or events, not even to deplore them. Look, it’s a subject that sticks more than tar. Change the conversation, or if that’s not possible, continue, but speaking of the need and beauty of holy purity–a virtue of the men who know what their souls are worth.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

The man of impure speech is a “person whose lips are but an opening and a supply pipe which hell uses to vomit its impurities upon the earth.”
–St. John Vianney

“That conversation . . . was as dirty as a sewer! It is not enough for you to take no part in it. You must show your repugnance to it strongly!”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“I have never talked about impurity. . . . But I have spoken many times, as I have to do, about chastity, purity, and the joyful affirmation of love.”
–St. Josemaria Escriva

“Either we must speak as we dress, or dress as we speak. Why do we profess one thing and display another? The tongue talks of chastity, but the whole body reveals impurity.”
–St. Jerome

We take vows of chastity to love Christ with undivided love;
–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“A clean heart is a free heart. A free heart can love Christ with an undivided love in chastity, convinced that nothing and nobody will separate it from his love. Purity, chastity, and virginity created a special beauty in Mary that attracted God’s attention. He showed his great love for the world by giving Jesus to her.”
–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

”A pure soul is like a fine pearl. As long as it is hidden in the shell, at the bottom of the sea, no one thinks of admiring it. But if you bring it into the sunshine, this pearl will shine and attract all eyes. Thus the pure soul, which is hidden from the eyes of the world, will one day shine before the Angels in the sunshine of eternity.”
–Saint John Marie Vianney

”The pure soul is a beautiful rose, and the Three Divine Persons descend from Heaven to inhale its fragrance.”
–Saint John Marie Vianney

”Like a beautiful white dove rising from the midst of the waters, and coming to shake her wings over the earth, the Holy Spirit issues from the infinite ocean of the Divine perfections, and hovers over pure souls, to pour into them the balm of love. The Holy Spirit reposes in a pure soul as in a bed of roses. There comes forth from a soul in which the Holy Spirit resides a sweet odor, like that of the vine when it is in flower.”
–Saint John Marie Vianney

”Chastity is the lily of virtues, and makes men almost equal to Angels. Everything is beautiful in accordance with its purity. Now the purity of man is chastity, which is called honesty, and the observance of it, honor and also integrity; and its contrary is called corruption; in short, it has this peculiar excellence above the other virtues, that it preserves both soul and body fair and unspotted.”
–Saint Francis of Sales, Doctor of the Church

”What is more comely than chastity, which makes one generated from impure seed pure; an enemy, a friend; and a man, an Angel? There is a difference, indeed, between a chaste man and an Angel, but in happiness, not in virtue; the Angel’s chastity is more happy; but man’s is more proved.”
–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Chastity, or cleanness of heart, holds a glorious and distinguished place among the virtues, because she, alone, enables man to see God; hence Truth itself said, ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.’”
–Saint Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church

”There is no remedy so powerful against the heat of concupiscence as the remembrance of our Savior’s Passion. In all my difficulties I never found anything so efficacious as the wounds of Christ: In them I sleep secure; from them I derive new life.”
–Saint Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church

”If you desire to be chaste, be retired, be modest, be mortified.”
–Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

”Humility is the safeguard of chastity. In the matter of purity, there is no greater danger than not fearing the danger. For my part, when I find a man secure of himself and without fear, I give him up for lost I am less alarmed for one who is tempted and who resists by avoiding the occasions, than for one who is not tempted and is not careful to avoid occasions. When a person puts himself in an occasion, saying, I shall not fall, it is an almost infallible sign that he will fall, and with great injury to his soul.”
–Saint Philip Neri

”I tremble when I think of so many great men, who after their virtues had placed them among the stars, and almost fixed their habitation in Heaven, have miserably fallen into most grievous sins and died impenitent. We have seen, Lord, the great lights of Thy Church fall from Heaven, being pulled from thence by the infernal dragon; and, on the contrary, some that lay, as it were groveling on the ground, have been wonderfully elevated all at once by Thy almighty hand.”
–Saint Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Your good resolutions must not make you proud, but humble and diffident; you carry a large sum of gold about you, take care not to meet any highwaymen. In this life there is nothing certain: we are in a continual warfare, and, therefore, ought to be on our guard day and night. We sail in a tempestuous sea that threatens us on every side, and in a poor leaky vessel: the devil, who aims at nothing less than our destruction, never ceases to increase the storm, to overwhelm us thereby, if he can; hence it was that the Apostle gave this precaution, even to the virtuous: ‘Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall’ (1 Cor. x.12)”
–Saint Jerome, Father and Doctor of the Church, Epistle to Saint Eustochium.

”Some complain that mankind will fail if so many are consecrated virgins. I desire to know who ever wanted a wife and could not find one? The killing of an adulterer, the pursuing or waging war against a ravisher, are the consequences of marriage. The number of people is greatest where virginity is most esteemed. Enquire how many virgins are consecrated every year at Alexandria, all over the East and in Africa, where there are more virgins than men in the country.”
–Saint Ambrose, Father and Doctor of the Church

The state of grace is nothing other than purity, and it gives heaven to those who clothe themselves in it. Holiness, therefore, is simply the state of grace purified, illuminated, beautified by the most perfect purity, exempt not only from mortal sin but also from the smallest faults; purity will make saints of you! Everything lies in this!
–St. Peter Eymard

God bestows more consideration on the purity of the intention with which our actions are performed than on the actions themselves.
–St. Augustine

Far be it from Christians that to do such deeds [as our done by pagan sinners] should enter their mind; for temperance dwells with them, self-restraint is practiced, monogamy is observed, chastity is guarded, injustice is exterminated, sin is rooted out, righteousness is exercised, law is ministered, reverence is preserved, God is acknowledged: truth controls, grace guards, peace protects, the holy word guides, wisdom teaches, life directs, God reigns.
–Saint Theophilus of Antioch

He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
–Saint Bede the Venerable

‘We must practise modesty, not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment, and particularly in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions.’
–St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

“You carry your snare everywhere and spread your nets in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not indeed, by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment. … When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? Tell me, whom does this world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion? You have prepared the abominable cup, you have given the death dealing drink, and you are more criminal than are those who poison the body; you murder not the body but the soul. And it is not to enemies you do this, nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity , nor provoked by injury , but out of foolish vanity and pride.”
–Saint John Chrysostom

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Power, Prayer, Purity in all things, what we watch, listen to, read and how we use and treat our bodies – St Thomas Aquinas has showed us the way…

Our Great Patron.

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the confraternity,

Happy Feast of our Patron, the Angelic Doctor,   St. Thomas Aquinas! We are blessed in the most outstanding way to have an advocate like St. Thomas praying for us before the throne of God. Why? Because St. Thomas is a saint that knows what it means to desire, and he can help us when our desires are not what they should be.

What do I mean when I say he is a saint that knows what it is to desire? I mean that the image of him as a brain is not the entire picture. It is true that he is known most of all for his intellectual prowess and clarity thought, but this ability did not arise from a placid heart unmoved by the trouble of the world. It is just the opposite. He was so moved by the needs of the world, so moved by an incredible longing to love God with all his heart, that he devoted his entire life to this pursuit. This longing is most evident in the Eucharistic hymns that he wrote for the feast of Corpus Christi. Knowing this, we can see that his great intellectual achievements have their source in a profound longing.

But why does this make him a great patron? This longing that filled his heart makes him a great patron for three reasons. The first is that he is a beautiful example. St. Thomas shows us that the life of purity is not a life starved of desire, nor is it a life dedicated to the practice of saying no. Instead, a pure life is one that is filled with desire, but desire rightly ordered. Impure desires seek after cheap satisfactions that enslave us. But rightly ordered desires free us, and they free us in such a way that we learn to desire more, not less, for when we come to desire God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, our hearts need to expand. And in expanding the heart learns to desire ever more strongly and this desire becomes the impetus that drives the soul away from unhealthy longings towards the fulfillment of all desire: God Himself. St. Thomas, therefore, shows us by his passionate search for the truth of God that the pure in heart are not those who lack desire, but who have a greater desire for greater things.

St. Thomas is also a great patron because he teaches us what a purity of heart will look like. In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas spills the most ink on the topic of the moral life. And he begins his treatment of the moral life with a treatise dedicated to the theme of happiness. The moral life, St. Thomas reminds us, is not about becoming an ascetic athlete or a pious porcelain picture. The moral life is about becoming happy. He shows us that the happy life does involve growing in virtue but that virtue is a way of strengthening the soul so that it can desire God above all things. He also shows us that the life of virtue also includes a healthy use of our passions. The virtuous person will be a properly passionate person, but one whose passions find their rest in God above all.

Finally he is a great patron because his prayers for our purity are powerful. In his own life his request for purity was answered in the most surprising way. We know that after driving away the prostitute his brothers sent to him in an attempt to tempt St. Thomas into breaking his vows, he knelt down and begged for purity of heart. And at that moment angels from heaven were sent to him and girded him with a cord of purity. Form that moment he never committed a sin against chastity again. If God will answer St. Thomas’s prayer in such an amazing way while he was walking among us on earth, will not God answer his prayers for us as St. Thomas kneels before the divine throne in heaven? Maybe we ourselves will not experience such a dramatic change, but we know that with the prayers of St. Thomas God will slowly purify our hearts so that we may see Him all the more clearly.

And so dear brothers and sisters, happy feast day to you all. In St. Thomas we have a wonderful friend in the pursuit of purity, so let us not be neglectful of him for we know that he will not be neglectful of us.

May God bless all of you now and always. Know that I said mass for all of you today.

Yours in Christ and St. Thomas Aquinas,

Fr. Ambrose, OP

A Prayer for After Mass (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, most holy, Father almighty, eternal God, that Thou hast vouchsafed, for nomerit of mine own, but out of Thy pure mercy, to appease the hunger of my soul with the precious body and blood of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly I implore Thee, let not this holy communion be to me an increase of guilt unto my punishment, but an availing plea unto pardon and salvation. Let it be to me the armour of faith and the shield of good will. May it root out from my heart all vice; may it utterly subdue my evil passions and all my unruly desires. May it perfect me in charity and patience; in humilityand obedience; and in all other virtues. May it be my sure defence against the snares laid for me by my enemies, visible and invisible. May it restrain and quiet all my evil impulses, and make me ever cleave to Thee Who art the one true God. May I owe to it a happy ending of my life. And do Thou, O heavenly Father, vouchsafe one day to call me, a sinner, to that ineffable banquet, where Thou, together with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true and unfailing light, fullness of content, joy for evermore, gladness without alloy, consummate and everlasting happiness. Through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=2025

This piece was taken from Catholic Online. Click on link above to learn more.

A Prayer Before Mass (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

Almighty and everlasting God, behold I come to the Sacrament of Thine only-begotten Son, our LordJesus Christ: I come as one infirm to the physician of life, as one unclean to the fountain of mercy, as one blind to the light of everlasting brightness, as one poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore I implore the abundance of Thy measureless bounty that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to heal my infirmity, wash my uncleanness, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty and clothe my nakedness, that I may receive the Bread of Angels, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, with such reverence and humility, with such sorrow and devotion, with such purity and faith, with such purpose and intention as may be profitable to my soul’s salvation. Grant unto me, I pray, the grace of receiving not only the Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood, but also the grace and power of the Sacrament. O most gracious God, grant me so to receive the Body of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, which He took from the Virgin Mary, as to merit to be incorporated into His mystical Body, and to be numbered amongst His members. O most loving Father, give me grace to behold forever Thy beloved Son with His face at last unveiled, whom I now purpose to receive under the sacramental veil here below.
Amen.

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=2030

This piece was taken from Catholic Online. To learn more click on link above.

 

 

Cathechism Of The Catholic Church Teaching On The Integrity Of The Powers Of Life And Love

CCC 2338

So far we’ve covered the idea that man has the powers of life and love placed in him, and that (regarding sexuality especially) the powers must be integrated or the unity of the person is at risk.  Today’s reflection is on the next clause of that section.

Back to the Integrity of the Powers of Life and Love

We get to another pretty bold statement here.  It’s worth reciting the whole passage to date:

The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it.

When the catechism says integrity in this context it means the undivided nature of the two powers.  Body and soul are together as a single whole, united.  The person stands as a unique creation of God, in both the material and spiritual worlds.  This is that wonderful integrity we’re speaking of here.  Of course, chastity refers primarily to sexuality (the powers of life and love), but that integrity exists for the other virtues.

So what’s the bold statement?  “… it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it.”  The integrity of the powers of life and love is opposed to any behavior that would impair it.  This is speculative.  A commentary or source for this sentence would be nice, but since I don’t have one, I’m left to speculate on what it actually means.

Prevention of Vice

First, it could mean that the integrity is prophylactic in nature.  As long as the unity of these two powers is maintained, it should be more difficult to violate either of them.  When my bodily and spiritual sexuality are united, focused on the same end, and maintained pure and inviolate, it hardly seems possible that I will take actions that will affect either.  In other words, given that I have taken steps to ensure that these powers are a unified whole, the brief entrance of temptation into my life concerning one of them is unlikely to affect the unity.

Think about this in terms of everyday life.  If I reflect upon the awesome powers given to me by God (the power to create life), how careful will I be in choosing who to exercise that power with?  Will it be just anyone?  Will I really look at fornication as an option?  Will I ever have sex with someone I’m not willing to create life with?

On the other side of this equation is the way that I’ll treat my wife sexually if I love her as I should.  Sex risks becoming a form of shared masturbation instead of a mutual gift of self unless the power of love is maintained.  It’s less “let me give myself to you completely” and more “let me use you to feel good”.   From a positive perspective, true love for my partner will ensure that the gravity of the gift is not overlooked.

Risk of Complete Disintegration

Second, it could also mean that the unity itself is at risk when either power is “attacked”.  Since the unity is opposed to any behavior that that would impair it, consider behaviors that do so- contraception and sterilization are prime examples.  They frustrate the powers of life, intentionally destroying the God-given capacity to bring new souls into the world.  By engaging in activities that diminish one, that unity is broken, the prophylactic integrity penetrated, and assaults on the other come much more easily.  You only have to compare divorce rates among couples using NFP versus couples using artificial contraception (look here, here, and here) to see that this bit of speculation is probably reflected in reality.

And the power of love?  Ignoring the power of love generally leads to intentional frustration of the power of life.  This is built in to sex education.  It’s shown when parents say “I’d prefer it if you didn’t have sex before marriage, but if you do, wear a condom.”  When the act of sex is shared between two people who have no binding love for one another, the logically necessary result is that they will attempt to frustrate the power of life.

St. Thomas Shows Us The Path of Chastity and Toward Holiness

The Prayer of St. Thomas for Purity

This blog is a collection of more than just reflections on doctrine.  I’m interested not just in knowing about chastity, but in being chaste.  Because of that, I will also collect spiritual practices and prayers related to chastity.  Here is St. Thomas’ prayer for purity, which I say every morning.

Prayer for Purity by St. Thomas Aquinas

Dear Jesus,
I know that every perfect gift,
and especially that of chastity,
depends on the power of Your providence.
Without You a mere creature can do nothing.
Therefore, I beg You to defend by Your grace
the chastity and purity of my body and soul.
And if I have ever sensed or imagined anything
that could stain my chastity and purity,
blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers,
that I may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service,
offering myself on the most pure altar of Your divinity
all the days of my life. Amen.

Commentary

Written prayers like this are meant to be prayed and to be reflected upon as a catalyst for further meditation and spontaneous prayer.  By way of reflection, this prayer (which is an earnest request for chastity) begins with a recognition that our own merits can accomplish nothing.  Nothing.  I cannot “work hard enough” to become chaste. No matter how hard I try, I cannot, of my own power, become perfectly chaste.  If perfect chastity is important to me, that presents a problem.

St. Thomas shows us how to solve that problem when he calls on God, saying “every perfect gift … depends on the power of your providence.”  Providence is a complicated and controversial concept, but we can put it simply enough to suggest that God orders the universe for man’s happiness.  St. Thomas is offering recognition that we cannot obtain chastity of our own power and we must rely on God’s right ordering of the universe to obtain it.

He drives this home by calling to God in helplessness: “without you a mere creature can do nothing.”  Far from being poetic silliness, this is an honest cry to God for help.  If my daughter wanted to do something nice for someone and says “can you help? I can’t do it without you,” I wouldn’t consider that sentimental silliness, but instead an honest call for help and reminder of my promises to her as a father.  If I, sinful and selfish man, can remember that, how much moreso the perfect Father of all?

After this, St. Thomas (and the pray-er) calls on God to defend “the chastity and purity of [his] body and soul.”  It’s as if he’s saying: “see how important this is?  But I know I can’t do it- I can do nothing without you.  Please, Father, I beg you- save me.”  This is no mere request- the pray-er begs the Father for this grace.  It is that important.

He then gets specific- “if I have ever sensed or imagined anything that could stain my chastity and purity…”  First, he mentioned the things that are not his fault: “if I have ever sensed…”  This is so incredibly important today.  Even coming to Mass can be an occasion for sin!  Men and women dress, speak, and act inappropriately everywhere, and no matter what place we happen to be, there is always the risk that we will passively see or hear something best left for married people.

This prayer forces the recognition that this unintentional sensation still carries with it problems.  It could lead to imagination – adultery and fornication in the mind, which Christ says is just as much a sin as adultery and fornication in the flesh.  This is no surprise, given the essential unity of the body and soul, so it should be no surprise that we cry out to the Father to blot out those things we have sensed or imagined which could stain our chastity and purity.

And why do we ask God for this grace?  Not for its own sake, but so that we may “advance with a pure heart” in his love and service, making ourselves a sacrifice acceptable to him.  God wants us, and he will make us pure.  St. Thomas teaches us to call out and beg him to do so.

The Prayer to St. Thomas for Purity
Chosen lily of innocence, pure St. Thomas,
who kept chaste the robe of baptism
and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels,
I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb,
and to Mary, the Queen of Virgins.
Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I,
who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh,
may also share your purity,
and after imitating you on earth
may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.

Please consider praying these two prayers for chastity.

https://onchastity.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/the-prayer-of-st-thomas-for-purity/

http://www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org/prayers/

This piece was taken from information gathered from the two sources above expressed by clicking on the respective links.

Authentic Christian Manly Friendship: Two Saints Show Us The Way!

The sermon below was from the second reading of today’s Office of Readings in The Liturgy of Hours and gives us an awesome display of manly friendship and agape love between two Saints who were great friends almost 1700 years ago. This sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen about his relationship with his friend St. Basil The Great, doctor of the church, is simply inspiring. I loved reading this, and thankful for the authentic Christian manly friendship and mutual support I share with my Men Of Faith!

 

From a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop
Two bodies, but a single spirit

Basil and I were both in Athens. We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning, and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it.

I was not alone at that time in my regard for my friend, the great Basil. I knew his irreproachable conduct, and the maturity and wisdom of his conversation. I sought to persuade others, to whom he was less well known, to have the same regard for him. Many fell immediately under his spell, for they had already heard of him by reputation and hearsay.

What was the outcome? Almost alone of those who had come to Athens to study he was exempted from the customary ceremonies of initiation for he was held in higher honor than his status as a first-year student seemed to warrant.

Such was the prelude to our friendship, the kindling of that flame that was to bind us together. In this way we began to feel affection for each other. When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognized that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other: we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires, the same goal. Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper.

The same hope inspired us: the pursuit of learning. This is an ambition especially subject to envy. Yet between us there was no envy. On the contrary, we made capital out of our rivalry. Our rivalry consisted, not in seeking the first place for oneself but in yielding it to the other, for we each looked on the other’s success as his own.

We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit. Though we cannot believe those who claim that “everything is contained in everything,” yet you must believe that in our case each of us was in the other and with the other.

Our single object and ambition was virtue, and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come; we wanted to withdraw from this world before we departed from it. With this end in view we ordered our lives and all our actions. We followed the guidance of God’s law and spurred each other on to virtue. If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong.

Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.

http://divineoffice.org

 

 

Should We Have Married Priests?

The following article was written by Father Dwight Longenecker in The National Catholic Register on December 28, 2015 and provides great wisdom, temperance and prudence for our times.
When Catholics discover that I am a married priest the vast majority of them say, “That’s fantastic! I hope the Church changes to allow our priests to marry. That would solve this problem of pedophile priests!”
As one of the few married former Anglican priests who has been ordained as a Catholic priest I can address the matter from personal experience. Furthermore, I served as a celibate Anglican priest for seven years before marrying, so I also have experience of that way of life.
This hot topic should be cooled down with a bit of common sense. Firstly, it should be plain to everyone that marriage does not solve the problem of pedophile priests. Marriage doesn’t cure pedophilia. The fact is, most child abuse is committed by married men.
Furthermore, most of the sex abuse by priests was against young men.  Do people seriously think that marriage would cure a man who is attracted to teenaged boys? Are they suggesting that homosexual pedophiles would be cured if they just found a good woman? I don’t think so.
Neither will marriage purge the priesthood of other sexual scandal. Plenty of married Protestant clergy still manage to tumble out of the pulpit onto the wrong pillow. Being married doesn’t mean a person is free from lust and temptation.
On the other hand, being celibate doesn’t mean a person is constantly panting for sex. There are plenty of people in all walks of life, of both genders and all ages who are sexually inactive for many different reasons. That doesn’t make them all insatiable sex hounds or sad and desperately lonely souls. Many single people successfully integrate their sexuality into their singleness.
Then there is the realistic question of financial support. When a Catholic enthuses to me about having married priests I usually ask, “Are you willing to put an extra twenty bucks in the collection plate every week to make this happen?” It’s amazing how quickly the subject changes!
Speaking of the married priest’s family, has no one else seen the most obvious problem? If a young priest is married and he and his young wife are fertile they would be expected to live within the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Yes, it is still Catholic policy that artificial means of contraception are forbidden.
The Catholic priest and his wife would be expected to live within that teaching. Do the parishioners who are so gung-ho about married priests really want to support the priest’s children? Would they want to re-build the rectory to house them? Pay their health insurance, deductibles and orthodontics? Would they be willing to cough up to send the priest’s kids through Catholic school and college? What if the priest had six, seven, eight, ten or twelve kids? It’s not really cheaper by the dozen.
On the other hand, where a husband and wife both love and serve the Lord in his church the example of a totally committed couple and family can be a terrific blessing for the Church. Parishes where the priest is in a healthy and strong marriage can show the way for all the families in the Church.
I’m the first to admit that there are benefits to be gained from having married priests, and I’m aware of real problems with celibacy for priests. My celibate colleagues are sometimes isolated and lonely, but then, I know married people who are isolated and lonely. Many celibate priests are workaholics and starved for real relationships and affection. Ditto many married men.
However marriage for priests is a pipe dream panacea. It will solve a few problems but it will create many more: What happens to clergy widows? Who picks up the pieces when a clergy marriage breaks down? Will a priest be able to date? If his marriage breaks down and is annulled will he be able to re-marry?
The powers at the Vatican could change the rule. It’s unlikely they’ll allow priests to marry, but they might adopt the Eastern Orthodox discipline in which priests may not marry, but married men may be ordained, or they might decide to allow older married men to be ordained.
In the meantime, the discipline of celibacy for our priests reminds everyone that sexuality is something which we all need to control in order to be happy—married people and single people alike.
The celibate priest, brother or sister reminds us that sex and marriage are given to lead us on to something better than sex: true and lasting Love. That’s why we insist that marriage and the celibacy vow are for life: because lifetime love gives us a taste of the eternal. The celibate reminds all of us that whatever our state in life we are called to integrate and control our sexuality in a healthy way, and that this virtue is called chastity.
For this reason alone chastity should be a valued virtue—because it is a self-discipline that reminds us that while true love is tender, for it to last it also has to be tough.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/longenecker/should-we-have-married-priests/#ixzz3w8WQ33G7

Green Bananas: The Wisdom of Father Bill Atkinson, Servant Of God

The Next Saint Canonized by The Roman Catholic Church may be Father Bill Atkinson from Delaware County, PA. Click on links below to see why.

http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20150905/NEWS/150909817

http://www.fatherbillatkinson.com/

http://www.augustinian.org/news/2015/6/12/father-bill-atkinson-osa-the-cause-for-sainthood

http://articles.philly.com/2015-09-09/news/66331891_1_priest-canonization-digregorio

http://catholicphilly.com/2012/04/features/priest-shared-lifes-wisdom-with-former-student/

http://www.delconewsnetwork.com/articles/2012/04/30/sports/doc4f9ae540d2767157764333.txt

http://www.fatherbillbook.com/

I recommend reading the book – Green Bananas: The Wisdom of Father Bill Atkinson, by Steve McWilliams to learn more about the life, wisdom and writings of Father Bill Atkinson. He was truly a gift from God to every life he touched.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Green-Bananas-Wisdom-Father-Atkinson/dp/0915180448

http://www.amazon.com/Green-Bananas-Wisdom-Father-Atkinson/dp/0915180448