Today, being the 24th of the month, we had in the Seminaryo the monthly sermonette in honor of Mary Help of Christians. Br. Juvelan Paul Samia, SDB, willingly obliged when I asked him if I could feature his piece in this site.
Here’s hoping his reflection could inspire us to cultivate this “beautiful virtue of purity.”
Consecrated chastity was to be a distinguishing mark of the Salesian Society according to Don Bosco: “Anyone devoting his life to destitute youth should certainly strive to enrich himself with every virtue, but the virtue he should especially cultivate is chastity” C81. Consecrated chastity and its accompanying virtue of purity must shine in us, in a way so resplendent that it leaves no room for shadows.
When we were in the novitiate, not so many years ago, we were taught that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the most excellent model of the virtue of purity. On the day of the Annunciation, the angel greeted her “Hail! Full of grace” (in Greek, kekaritomene, which means “highly favored, filled with grace to the point of overflowing”), and because of this, she was, “from the first moment of her conception… preserved immune from all stain of original sin” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854). Our Blessed Mother, by God’s grace and her active cooperation, remained pure her whole life long.
Her purity of heart consisted in her “willing the one thing.” Her’s was a heart that was undivided, totally possessed by the Almighty God. She listened to the Word of God and pondered it in her heart, and this “pondering” bore the fruit of “service” to people. Because of her purity of heart, she was urged from within to visit her cousin Elizabeth to assist her in her pregnancy; it also made her sensitive to the plight of the needy ones, like the newlywed couple at Cana.
“Blessed are the pure of heart,” Jesus declared in the Gospel “for they shall see God.” Mother Mary was so pure that, not only did she see God face to face, but the Son of God became flesh in her womb and was born through her.
Dear brothers, today is the 24th of the month. Why not offer our Mother a worthy gift? And what better gift can we give other than the “beautiful virtue of purity,” which Don Bosco describes as “a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like angels of God in heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh…” Purity, my beloved brothers and confreres, is most pleasing to our Mother because it is most helpful for our own salvation!
Sometimes we lower down our defenses, and unknowingly expose ourselves to temptation. Often it’s very tempting to disregard what we were taught during the novitiate… those lessons like: “take custody of your senses, especially your eyes; never play with the hands; and avoid exclusive friendships.
When temptations come, Don Bosco tells us “a great help to you, my dear children, is devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Have recourse to Her! Pray to Her! Confide in Her!
I would like to share with you Don Bosco’s dream on the “Handkerchief of Purity” as I conclude this tribute to the Blessed Mother Mary.
Beloved brothers and confreres, the virtue of purity is the precious gift, the exquisite jewel that we can offer the Blessed Mother. Let us strive to attain in our thoughts, words, and actions. At the same time, the virtue of purity, we come to realize, is Mary’s own gift to us in order to help us on our way to salvation.