My thoughts returned to my time at Valle today as I uploaded this photo from an e-mail my daughter had sent to me. As I looked at the photo I was wishing for one more item to be on the sign so that we would have "ten commandments." Unfortunately, there are only nine prohibitions listed. However, it brought my mind back to a conversation that I had with a student while teaching at Valle. The student commented that the Church specializes in saying, "Thou shalt not..." That is certainly what I thought of when I saw this sign. Are we allowed to do anything?
A moral theologian could explain things in greater detail than what I am able, but I want to take just a moment to reflect upon the beauty of freedom. Can you imagine how "free" we would be if everyone followed the Ten Commandments? We would not need security cameras. We would not need to arrive at the airport two hours in advance to get through security. If we all followed the commandments and loved God with our whole heart. mind, soul, and strength and loved our neighbor as ourselves, we would all experience freedom in ways we may have never imagined.
How much heartache would we be spared if we each treated our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit as we believe they are? How many sexual relationships outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman have brought serious emotional despair? Is there a valid reason why the Church encourages chastity and purity? How many individuals, and their families, have been devastated by substance abuse? Is there a reason why the Church encourages us to be prudent and temperate?
Life in Christ may require us to skip some things that look appealing on the surface. We seem to understand that concept in the secular aspect of our lives. If we eat nothing but candy day after day the long-term effects on our physical health will probably not be good. It is the same with our interior life. If we consume a steady diet of immorality, lack of charity, and specialize in the seven capital sins, our interior life is going to be in disarray. What will feed your interior life more effectively--television or Scripture reading? Is prayer more life-giving than looking at porn on the internet? It makes a difference how we live.
The Church gives us guidance in the ways to holiness. This leads us to eternal life with Almighty God, and that is our destiny. That is our purpose for being here. What concrete steps are you taking to grow in holiness? Did you begin some good practices during Lent that you can keep going? I want to encourage you to not become complacent. Keep growing.
Do you have plans for a summer reading program? May I suggest one? Read Part III of the Catechism of the Catholic Church entitled, Life in Christ. It may give you a tip or two on how to more fully unite your will to the will of God.
In closing, I simply say thank you to all who have touched my life in a positive way through the years. I am grateful for my time spent in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, and for the people who entered my life during those years. Although I have been gone from Valle Catholic High School for more than a decade already, I give a "shout-out" to the students, their parents, the faculty, and the staff (and the retired personnel as well). May you be blessed abundantly in these final weeks of the school year!