Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Lust of the flesh is not limited to the disordered tendencies of our senses in general, nor to the sexual drive, which ought to be directed and is not bad in itself, since it is a noble human reality that can be sanctified. Note, therefore, that I never speak of impurity, but of purity, because Christ is speaking to all of us when he says: "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." By divine vocation, some are called to live this purity in marriage. Others, foregoing all human love, are called to correspond solely and passionately to God's love. Far from being slaves to sensuality, both the married and the unmarried are to be masters of their body and heart in order to give themselves unstintingly to others.

Whenever I talk about the virtue of purity, I usually qualify it by calling it holy purity. Christian purity, holy purity, is not the same as priding oneself on feeling "pure", uncontaminated. We must realize we have feet of clay, although the grace of God rescues us day by day from the dangers of the enemy. Those who write or preach almost exclusively on this topic are deforming Christianity, in my view, for they forget other virtues so important to the Christian and also to our life in society.

Holy purity is not the only nor the principal christian virtue. It is, however, essential if we are to persevere in the daily effort of our sanctification. If it is not lived, there can be no apostolic dedication. Purity is a consequence of the love that prompts us to commit to Christ our soul and body, our faculties and senses. It is not something negative; it is a joyful affirmation.

Earlier I said that lust of the flesh is not limited to disordered sensuality. It also means softness, laziness bent on the easiest, most pleasurable way, any apparent shortcut, even at the expense of infidelity to God.

To abdicate in this way is equivalent to letting oneself fall completely under the imperious sway of the law of sin, about which St Paul warned us: "When I wish to do good I discover this law, namely, that evil is at hand for me. For I am delighted with the law of God according to the inner man, but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and making me prisoner to the law of sin... Unhappy man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?" But listen to the answer of the Apostle: "The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord." We can and ought to fight always to overcome the lust of the flesh, because, if we are humble, we will always be granted the grace of our Lord.

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