The Ten Evangelical Virtues of Mary

First Virtue: Purity

They Shall See God

by Patrick Lorenz

Ten Virtues

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The Blessed Virgin Mary had a pure, undivided heart, a heart that enabled her to constantly live in the presence of God — to see His hand in everything that happened. What joy and peace this must have brought to her.

We can catch a glimpse of the great joy in her life during her jubilant praise of God in the Magnificat. She said, "My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior" (Lk 2:46-47).

Through events in her life such as this, we see that she lived the Beatitude: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). This doesn't just mean seeing God when we get to heaven, but like Mary, we can see God's action and presence in our lives on a daily basis.

Our Best Model

Mary is the best example of a human being who let nothing come between her and God. She trusted in the Lord completely at the Annunciation, and in all the events that followed. The Archangel Gabriel gave her the news that she was to give birth to the Messiah, and she said, "Let it be to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38). Mary opened herself to this great gift that God wanted to give humanity. She became the channel through which God worked.

Other Models Too

Other saints have showed us what it means to be pure of heart, too. Look at St. Thomas More: He defied King Henry VIII by not swearing allegiance to him as leader of the Church of England, instead of the Pope. Since he wouldn't do it, King Henry had Thomas More executed. Thomas' relationship with God was the most important thing in his life; so much so that he gave up his own life to witness to the truth of God's teachings in the Church.

The Best Approach

How can we develop a heart that is like Mary's and the saints', one that is so focused on God?

There is no substitute for prayer. Spend time with the Lord, contemplate His face and His action in your life. He is constantly at work in us, but we must be attentive to it. One great way of doing this is by basking in the Presence of our Eucharistic Lord in adoration. There is a tremendous amount of grace available to us there because it is an extension of the Holy Mass and Communion.

Another thing you can do is ask Mary to help you contemplate the Lord's face as you say the Rosary, at her side. Gaze upon the Lord through her pure and loving eyes, since no one understands Our Lord better than she. Ask her help in nurturing in you a pure and undivided heart that can see God's action more clearly.

Another aspect of developing our prayer lives is fasting. It is very important because it makes us more dependent and aware of God in our lives. It also keeps our senses in check. When we're fasting, we're much less likely to indulge our senses in any way. As we fast more, we tend to pray more.

Overcoming Challenges

In our current society, one of the things that prevents us from having this purity of heart is the lack of chastity. Pornography invades our lives through the media, which fosters a general lack of respect for purity and chastity.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes chastity as "the integration of sexuality within a person" and the "achieving of self-mastery" (#2337, 2339). In other words, sexuality has its proper place within the whole person. It is used for the purpose for which God intended.

Chastity takes on a different form for men and women. For men, purity must start with the eyes. Remember that Jesus said, "Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28). Notice how Jesus says, "his heart". This message was geared toward men. For women, purity is more involved with the senses of touch and hearing. Once those senses have been affected, the heart could follow.

Purity is a beautiful virtue. It is often symbolized in artistic works of the saints as flowers. For example, St. Joseph and St. Anthony are usually seen holding a bundle of lillies. Saint Therese always holds roses.

As beautiful as it is, purity takes work, but as we continue developing our prayer lives, we can become more pure every day. Then our hearts will beat in union with Jesus' Sacred Heart, and purity and holiness will exude from us.











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