Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Seven Odysseys: The Second Odyssey

This week, I'm discussing the Seven Odysseys which are our journeys from vice to virtue, our conversion from darkness to light, our road from doubt to promise. The second Odyssey is the journey from lust to love.

All of us struggle with all the seven deadly sins, but it always seems like lust steals the stage. I think it's because we're most afraid of lust in other people, as well as ourselves. If someone is a glutton, we might be disgusted, but we're rarely afraid. Anger can cause fear, but only if it becomes violent. Pride, the root of all vices, causes resentment and contempt, but not fear. No, lust has a special place in our hearts and we're deathly afraid of it.

Lust hurts us, I suspect, so thoroughly because it distorts not only the way the human race continues to exist, thus is a distortion of God's creative plan, but also distorts what is the image of God's love for his creation. A man who lusts is like a God who uses us, which is to say no true God at all. If we as Christians are called to love as Christ loved the Church, we'd better not put lust in its place.

But sadly we do. And lust destroys our relationships with each other and our relationships with God. We spit on his creative plan and his love for humanity when we distort them. And we treat each other not like the creations of God, but toys we fashioned for ourselves.

What an adventure, what chaos, what monstrous violence! And there seems to be no escape from Circe's cave. No escape from the storms of Poseidon.

AND YET!

There is an escape, and it is exactly that which lust grievously defiles: The Cross. Odysseus ordered his men to tie him to the mast of his ship when the sirens sang, and we must let ourselves be tied to the Cross. We are not strong enough to fight concupiscence and lust, but God has won the battle.

The Cross is true love, and in order to travel from the Troy of lust to the Ithaca of love, we must embrace it. We must give of ourselves in sacrifice, even when we fall prey to temptation. We must forgive each other when we fall, and so live by the standard of the Cross.

And most of all when lust hurts us in other people, or we hurt another person with lust, we must fall at the foot of the Cross and beg for the mercy and grace of God to heal us all.

The worst response would be to accept that we are at sea and that we may never come home, but God is calling us, and His Son is looking for us, searching the seas for His wayward wanderers. We must let him find us and take us into His arms onto the cross so that we might love more deeply, truly, and faithfully.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Have mercy on us, sinners!

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