24 May 2024

25 May, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

Holy Purity

1. Have you ever experienced the sheer delight of climbing the mountains on a summer's day and coming across one of those little alpine lakes, a tiny mirror reflecting the still blueness of the sky? Or have you ever watched an infant smiling in its angelic slumber and been held spellbound by this vision of innocence? Finally, on some calm, clear night, surely you have studied the star-spangled sky and have been so overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene that you could have cried out with the Psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.” (Ps. 18:1) These are only faint images of the beauty and virginal purity of Mary. Her soul was the purest and most beautiful of the entire human and angelic creation, because nobody else was ever raised to the dignity of the Motherhood of God. She was conceived free from all taint of original sin and enriched with every grace. In her chaste womb she conceived the Infant Jesus. Later she held Him close to her heart; she lived for Him and eventually died for love of Him.

Purity is a virtue which is attractive to everybody, even to those who are evil themselves or to those who have lost their own chastity. We love and desire this virtue, but are we prepared to make any sacrifice in order to preserve it in the manner demanded by our particular state in life? “The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault,” Jesus said, “and the violent have been seizing it by force.” (Mt. 11:12) This is especially true in regard to the acquisition of the virtue of purity. It is not enough to desire it; we must be willing to make sacrifices in order to acquire it.

2. Since Mary excelled so much in this virtue and had so great a love for it, she will obtain for us from God the grace necessary for us to preserve it, as long as we pray humbly to her, especially in time of temptation. Let us remember that at Baptism we became members of the Mystical Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. (Cf. 1 Cor. 6:15-20) We are obliged to avoid defiling this temple and making the Mystical Body of Christ a dwelling-place for the devil. It is not true to say that this is an impossible fight. We know from our own experience that we can win. We have often battled with or fled from occasions of sin. We have prayed and made sacrifices in order to win, and with the help of God and the protection of the Blessed Virgin we have won. After our victory we have felt elated and have experienced that peace which only God's grace can bestow. If we have succeeded so many times, why cannot we do the same always? There is no need to be afraid. If we do all that we can, God's grace will do the rest. “I can do all things in him who strengthens me,” (Phil. 4:13) says St. Paul. “God is faithful,” he writes elsewhere, “and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) If we remain pure, we shall see God. We shall see Him in the work of His creation in this world and we shall see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”(Mt. 5:8)

3. Most pure Virgin, immaculate Mother of God, you see how many dangers and snares surround my soul. You see how weak I am and how much I need your help. Assist me, I beseech you, when I am tempted. Grant that I may die in the state of grace rather than fall into sin. Amen.

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