In this lesson we explore purity as a moral mark.Preview This Lesson
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The Communion of Saints
Purity means “without blemish.” What is the importance of purity? First, it is one way we can describe God to help us understand Him better. God is pure, because He is without any sin or defect; He is all-good. Second, purity is a necessary condition of our entrance into Heaven. No sin can be near God, which is why those whose end is Heaven but still have to atone for sin suffer in Purgatory first.
Because Christ took on human nature in order to save us, He also elevated human nature. Through this elevation we can say that it is possible for a person to be perfectly pure on Earth. Perfect purity is possible, but extremely rare in human history. Our Blessed Mother, by her Immaculate Conception, is the only human person, born of another human, who is truly “without blemish.” This rarity is not meant to discourage us from working toward perfect purity in our earthly life. To be sure, the Blessed Mother’s perfect purity should inspire us to conform our lives to God’s Will and try for perfect purity because it may be God’s Will that we attain it.
Purity requires us to strengthen both our intellect and our will against evil. In addition to frequenting the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, developing the moral marks of knowledge and self-control are essential for a pure heart.
Knowledge: At its simplest definition, knowledge is the awareness of a thing. The thing can be an idea or a physical object. When it comes to the truths of the Faith, Saint Thomas Aquinas defines knowledge as: “a sure and right judgment on [proposed beliefs], so as to discern what is to be believed, from what is not to be believed (Summa Theologica, II, 9, 1, answer).” We know that Christ is both God and man. We know that His Blessed Mother was immaculately conceived. We know that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church.
When we know our Faith, we know what we should and should not do. This is the first step in developing purity, because we can’t act until we first know what we should act on.
Self-control: Self-control is simple in theory but very difficult in practice. In theory it is the regulation of our desires to keep them in line with what we know (from the truths of the Faith) we should do. In practice, concupiscence actively challenges our willpower and makes self-control feel almost like a real battle inside of us. This is called temptation.
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7th Grade: Morality: Lesson 10: The Beatitudes and the Marks of a Moral Life, Part 5 is part of the following course(s):