Sunday, December 6, 2009

Guard thine eyes...

"Remember to guard thine eyes and reflect that the mortified eye shall behold the beauties of Heaven" Thus spoke the Guardian Angel of Santa Gemma on an occasion to her.

Now, i've been trying to put this in practice. But how difficult this can be! Thusfar i fail miserably. I'm very visually oriented by nature. So to ask to guard ones senses, and especially the eyes, seems an impossible task.

To understand what is meant is already a challenge. After all the eyes do play an important role. It is considered polite to look the other in the eye while speaking for example. Further it is through the eyes that one can wonder and enjoy the beauties of Creation. Not to mention the sheer usefulness in order to stay safe, for example in traffic.

I believe what is meant that we must be aware that it is also the senses which can lead us into temptation and from there into sin. Unfortunately i know how easy that can be. It's constant vigilance and sometimes my eye already captured something. It's then crucial to be aware of it and to quickly divert attention. And still then sometimes i notice i've entered a train of thought in which i shouldn't have.

It's not something you just do. It's like relearning something which you have been taught, or taught yourself, sometimes for decades. With time it can be learned. It's not a loss but a detachment from earthly things. "...shall behold the beauties of Heaven" And that is something which is difficult to comprehend. Yet it's also something worth making this important effort for. "Something" is not the word is it? How can we possibly comprehend such beauty?

Will it take time to learn to guard the senses? O yes. Could be years, maybe a lifetime. And things can be thrown on your path to try to make you go wrong. I have no doubt this will happen. It already has. Saying to myself "STOP IT!" And then i try to picture Jesus Crucified and and remind myself that i must stop for Him. And when already i find myself in this train of thought i feel sorrow and hate myself for letting it come too far. It is surprising how easy this can be unfortunately. Over and over it's a standing up and trying again. For this alone i would have to go to confession daily.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for your post. You know, last night I was just reading some details concering the death of St Gemma, and the author, Father Francis, was pointing out that the devil never gave up trying to tempt her to impurity...he pointed out a specific time right before her death where the devil was appearing to her in a lewd form and trying to tempt her. One would think after a lifetime of assailing her purity to no avail he would have given up on that approach, at least. But then, then the impure and unclean spirits only know impurity and uncleanliness, I guess.

    From my reading, it seems that Gemma's approach to temptations to impurity is that of most other Saints--They say that most temptations and sins you battle with and fight head on, that is you recognise them, consider them and actively try to "uproot" them and remove them. You can't however do that with temptations to impurity, because the more you "dwell" or try to "fight" it, often the worse it gets.
    The saints seem to show us that impurity is one you don't fight head on, you must flee or "run" from it. So. when tempted by impurity, you must "flee" from it by immediately turing your eyes away and thinking of something else.

    This fleeing or avoidance is why St Gemma normally kept her eyes downcast, and she avoided looking directly at others as much as possible, especially men. And the "fleeing" she did by primarily by immediately thinking of something else when these impure temptations came to her. And then of course prayer, especially to the Virgin Mary.

    Then, as a last resort in our fight against the temptation of impurity, I guess we can always jump into a freezing well of water like Gemma did, or roll all around in a pricker bush like St Benedict. Oh, the holy courage of the Saints!

    May God bless you!
    Glenn Dallaire