Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

I agree that we should reject godless ways and worldly desires.  I agree with St. Paul, who wrote this Titus:  “For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age” (Titus 2:11-12).

How should we interpret this exhortation from the great Apostle to the gentiles?  The virtue, they say, is in the mean.  We should not take our rejection of godless ways and worldly desires to extremes, being either too strict or too lax.  For example, consider the godless way of eating, and the worldly desire to eat.  If our rejection of this desire is too strong, we could fast to the point of malnourishment and even death.  If our rejection of this desire is too weak, then we become gluttons.  The virtue is in the mean.

That is why St. Ignatius, in his Spiritual Exercises, proposes rules for eating.  That is also why St. Paul encourages the Christians to be self-controlled (Greek: σώφρων).  The God-fearing Christian practices self-control not merely to preserve physical and mental health, and not merely to achieve self-mastery and virtue.  Over and above all of that, the Christian practices self-control so as to be more docile to the movement of the Holy Spirit, more prompt to receive God’s love and His grace, and more free to love Him fully in return.

November 8th, 2016