In the quest for purity it is easy to think the goal is simply to stop being impure in our thoughts and actions, but the goal is more than that. To stop doing bad things is laudable, but we are called to actually do good things. It is good to stop committing adultery. It is better to build a beautiful, life long, abundantly fruitful marriage and family. It is good to stop stealing. It is better to earn a living with a productive, creative and satisfying career.

So with purity–we are called not simply to control our lustful urges, resist temptations to impurity and bring our thoughts under control. These are simply steps on the journey–a necessary weeding of the garden. Real purity is when the soul, mind and body are purified completely. This purity is seen in the life of the Blessed Virgin. We call her “Virgin” not simply because she never had sexual relations. That is a definition based on a negation. It is like defining a person from Texas as “one who has never been to Paris, France.” The Blessed Mother was virginal in her whole character and person. She was the second Eve– virginal as a Day in May or as we say a forest is “virgin” in a purely, natural, unspoiled state.

This purity is power. It tramples on Satan. It defeats the world. It is both the innocence of childhood and the experience of age combined.

Can one attain this purity after a lifetime of soil and toil, smudge and stain? Yes. This is the beauty of the sacrament of confession and the life of grace. By virtue of Our Lord’s death and resurrection purity is restored and power re-instated.

In the midst of the terror and turmoil of this world we need more disciples of the Lord to glimpse the vision and possibility of this purity and power and to seek it with all our hearts.