June 13, 2008
Saint Anthony of Padua. Memorial
Matthew 5: 27-32
Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’ But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, in your love you have created beauty all around us. I am grateful for all your gifts. I have come to know you through your creation, and I believe in you. In your creation, I am sustained by you. Contemplating your beauty in creation, I learn to love you.
Petition: Help me, Lord, to remember that everyone is created in your image.
1. See with Pure Eyes We have received the gift of sight, a gift we should not take for granted. Our eyes are the windows of our soul. Just as St. James warns us about controlling the tongue (James 3:1 ff) we need to keep our eyes under control. How do we look at others? When we gaze at them, does recognizing in them the beauty of God’s children bring us closer to him? Do we pray that their natural beauty be blessed with beauty of soul? Let us always see his image in everybody!
2. Learn from the First Christians Today lust has taken on new forms and shapes. At times, modern fashion knowingly uses lust to promote sales; TV commercials make the most of consumers’ weakness to lust. Hedonism has once again invaded our society, and it will do all in its power to invade our homes, whether it is through television or the Internet. We have a mission very much like the first Christians of the young church. Their faith in Christ gave them the strength to overcome the pagan, hedonistic culture that surrounded them. Today we also have our Christian heroines of “Pure Fashion,” those teenagers who are not scared off if they are ridiculed by their peers, but reach out in true charity to help them by their example.
3. The Lamp of the Body Is the Eye “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be” (Matthew 6:22-23). Our eyesight requires continuous formation, part of which is overcoming our tendency towards unhealthy curiosity. When lust tempts our eyes to turn a person into an object, we should pray for that person instead. Are there some favorite must-see programs on television? Now and then we should take the opportunity to refrain from watching them. This way we will strengthen our wills to abstain when lust entices us with forbidden fruit.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me always to see as you see – to see beauty as you see beauty. Help me to be humble, to pray, and to be on guard so as not to fall into temptation.
Resolution: I will love God in his creatures who are created in his image, but I will become attached to none.
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