Avoiding Occasions of Sin
Avoiding occasions of sin is but a form of self denial. You need God’s grace if you wish to be pure, but you must cooperate with that grace.
You may receive the Sacraments frequently, attend novena services, make the First Fridays—all with the intention of not sinning against purity in your company keeping. And yet you may not be using the means at your command to avoid the proximate occasions of sinning.
If you know that someone or something is an immediate occasion of sin for you, avoid that person or thing. You cannot be pure if you insist on putting yourself in danger of losing your purity, by deliberately remaining in a parked car with your friend in some lonely place, or by remaining together for a long time indulging in “petting” and “necking,” kissing and embracing.
Your prayers to God for purity will be lies if you expect Him to save you from sin when you knowingly and willingly place yourself in the immediate occasions of sin.
Until you have given up these occasions, your reception of the sacraments will continue to be hypocrisy. Do not sell your soul to the devil to win over or hold onto a young man or woman.
You are losing everything but gaining nothing save misery and unhappiness, and possibly eternal damnation.
Safety lies in avoiding the danger. (If you play with fire you will burn yourself.) If you needlessly expose yourself to the danger of unchastity, you will rarely go unharmed. Therefore build a fence of self-denial around your virtue. Avoid all sources of temptation that can be sensibly shunned.
Be extremely reserved in allowing even morally permissible favors to a lover. Learn to enjoy one another’s company without physical contact.
Follow the Legion of Decency list and refrain from going to motion pictures that are even partly objectionable.
Do not read the “spotted” magazines and books unless there is some good reason for doing so. Above all, shun the company of questionable people, remembering the adage: “Tell me who you go with and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Love of Jesus and Mary
A deep love for Christ is a strong motive for chastity, and chastity is the most practical expression of your sincere love for Christ, for He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
This love is further proved by the frequent reception of the sacraments and by prayer and self-sacrifice. Remember that Jesus is your best friend and that He is always ready to help you keep your heart clean.
If you sincerely cultivate Mary’s friendship also, you will be pure. To be her true child, you must love the things she loves and hate the things she hates.
Purity is her favorite virtue. She hates nothing more than sin, for she has crushed the head of the infernal serpent. Call upon her especially in time of temptation.
With her help you will triumph over the evil spirit who tempts you. She will give you the necessary help to achieve the ideal to which she inspires you.
Never let a day pass without saying your Holy Rosary and three “Hail Mary’s” in honor of her Immaculate Conception for the grace of purity; follow these by the invocation, “0 Mary, by thy Immaculate Conception make my body pure and my soul holy.”
Pray for the grace and strength of the saints. They had a nature like yours. But “they had what it takes”: the grace of God and their own Christian heroism.
They would not dilly-daily with the occasion of sin. If you do not see eye to eye with the saints, you are the one out of focus.
They knew and loved Jesus and Mary. They saw the value of their bodies and souls. They understood the language of heaven and hell.
You are called to the same Christian heroism. To remain pure is a big task; it calls for the best that is in you. Alone—without the grace of God—you cannot accomplish this task; with His grace, you are all- powerful.
You obtain the grace of God especially through the sacraments, prayer and self denial. Use these God-given aids conscientiously, and your youth will be clean and happy.