October 20, 2009

Listen, men! Chastity grows with the practice of mercy.

[This post, from April 19, 2007, has just drawn another comment.]

Looking at pornography and engaging your mind in sexual fantasies is a mental rehearsal of, among other things:
— self-centeredness;
— selfishness towards others;
— using others as servants of your own pleasure and preferences.

Masturbation rewards that mental rehearsal with physical pleasure.

Thus, masturbation is a sin that trains you to sin more and more— not only in actions but also in attitudes.

How might you move in the opposite direction?

First: Stop.

Second: Turn around and MOVE in the opposite direction.


Yes— start DOING GOOD to others. Cultivate the habit of finding ways to be of authentic service to others.

For example, practice the Corporal and the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Be aware that in Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus teaches that the Corporal Works of Mercy are ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS for those who do not want to be banished forever from the kingdom of God.

The Corporal Works of Mercy
Give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty.
Clothe the naked.
Visit the sick and the imprisoned.
Shelter the homeless.
Bury the dead.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish sinners.
Instruct the ignorant.
Counsel the doubtful.
Comfort the sorrowful.
Pray for the living and the dead.
Bear wrongs patiently.
Forgive all injuries.
In practicing the Spiritual Works of Mercy, you must be careful not to use the first two to dominate other persons.

The last two Spiritual Works of Mercy are valuable in cultivating the habits that lead away from sexual sins.

Bear in mind that chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance (also called “moderation”). So, you need to be coherent or consistent in practicing temperance (moderation, balance, and proper order) in all matters.

- - - -


"moral life and conduct, moral excellence," vertu, from Anglo-French and Old French vertu, from Latin virtus "moral strength, manliness, valor, excellence, worth," from vir "man" in the masculine sense.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1805, says:
Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them.
The word “cardinal” comes from the Latin cardo— “pivot” or “hinge.”

[CCC 1806] PRUDENCE is the virtue that disposes practical reason TO DISCERN OUR TRUE GOOD IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE AND TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEANS OF ACHIEVING IT; "the prudent man looks where he is going." .... Prudence is "right reason in action".... It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); IT GUIDES THE OTHER VIRTUES by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

[CCC 1807] JUSTICE is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor....

[CCC 1808] FORTITUDE is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause....

[CCC 1809] TEMPERANCE is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion.... In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety"....

As human virtues, the cardinal virtues are:
... rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man's faculties for participation in the divine nature: for the theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object. [CCC 1812]

October 19, 2009

Newly canonized Saint Rafael Arnáiz lived joy as a path of holiness

[From Zenit.org]

The youngest of the saints canonized by Benedict XVI on Sunday [October 11] reached heaven along the path of joy.

Blessed María Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938), known as Brother Rafael, was one
of five canonized at St. Peter's Basilica [on Sunday, October 11]....

Pope John Paul II proposed him as model of sanctity during World Youth Day in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 1989. And several Spanish bishops have requested that he be proclaimed a "co-patron" of the upcoming WYD, which will be held in Madrid in August of 2011.

His youth was at once joyful and pure, as was his monastic life despite sacrifices and abnegation. In the monastery, he said, every day had its own enchantment.

Rafael Arnáiz was born in Spain in 1911 and studied at a Jesuit school. From a very young age, he showed remarkable sensitivity to spiritual themes, as well as interest in painting and art. In 1932, Arnáiz left aside his studies for a few days to do the spiritual exercises. During that retreat, he felt called to become a Cistercian monk. At age 23, he was accepted in the monastery of St. Isidro de Dueñas. [Note. Cistercians are a branch of the Benedictine family tree.]

His commentaries and writings are rich in spirituality and at the same time simple and full of a sense of humor.

He spent hours writing letters, to his mother, to his uncles and to several friends. In them, he shared his interior experiences: "For me this life which seems monotonous has so many enticements that I'm not tired for one moment. Every hour is different because, though exteriorly they continue the same, interiorly they are not, just as all Masses are not the same."

The simple life he lived in the monastery was also the reason for a profound joy that spread both to his brothers of the community and to his relatives. "Lentils will always be lentils while my life in the monastery lasts but despite everything, I eat them with great pleasure, because I season them with two things: with hunger and with the love of God, so there is no food that I won't take," he wrote.

Sister Agustina Tescari, postulator of Brother Rafael's cause, described the way the young monk expressed his love of God and his vocation as a pictorial style, saying he describes his experience as if it were painted. His spirituality is very simple, focused on the Eucharist, the grandeur and goodness of God, on God's dominion over his life. He called God, "Master," and the Virgin Mary, "Lady"....

Brother Rafael accepted God's mysterious designs with docility. His health failed in the happiest moment of his life. Due to ill health, he left and returned to the monastery three times until he was reincorporated in 1937, a year before his death. That was the last time he saw his family.

He died on April 26, 1938, from a diabetic coma. In his last days he reflected on the mystery of pain as a point of union with eternity. "My center is God and God crucified," he wrote. "My center is Jesus on the cross. Clutching my crucifix I would like to die. The end is the eternal possession of the day, of heaven, but that will be in heaven."


Read what the Vatican website has to say about him.
Click HERE for it.