The ARM of St. Michael
“But now I will turn to My most loving sheep who are securely placed in My heart, the seed of chastity. Virginity was made by Me, for my Son was born of a virgin. And therefore virginity is the most beautiful fruit of all the fruits of the valleys, and the greatest of all the persons in the palace of the unfailing King; for it was not subject to the precept of the law, since it brought My Only-Begotten into the world. Therefore, listen, all those who wish to follow My Son, in the innocence of free chastity or in the solitude of mourning widowhood: Virginity unspotted from the beginning is nobler than widowhood oppressed under the yoke of a husband, even though widowhood, after the grief of the loss of a husband, would imitate virginity.
For my Son bore many pains in His body and underwent the death of the cross; therefore you also, in His love, will suffer much anguish when you conquer yourselves what was sown in the lust of sin by the taste of the fruit. But though you will endure in your seed flowing rivulets from the conflagration of lust, since you cannot be so chaste as to prevent human weakness from appearing in you secretly, you should in that labor imitate the Passion of My Son and resist yourselves; that is, extinguish within yourselves the burning flame of lust and other things of this world, casting out anger, pride, wantonness and other vices of that sort and attaining this victory by a great struggle. These battles are to Me full of great beauty and much fruit, brighter than the sun and sweeter than the love of spices; for when you trample underfoot the burning lust within you, you imitate My Only-Begotten in His pains. And when you persevere in this, you will attain much glory for it in the celestial kingdom.
O sweetest flowers! May angels marvel at your struggle, for you escape from death, so as not to be polluted by the poisonous of the world; you have a carnal body, but you tread it under foot, and so you will be glorious in their company since you will appear unpolluted in their likeness. Therefore, rejoice that you thus persevere, for I am with you when you receive Me faithfully and with joy in your hearts receive My voice.”
-St Hildegard, Scivias vision 2 no. 24 ‘Commendation of Chastity’
The Unfailing King exhorts his subject to immolate the unholy desires of flesh. Not the flesh itself, but the poison and the awful recollection of the poison lodged therein.
Ponderous, the error and its implication.. Arduous the sterilizing of mind, heart and memory from the taste of the fruit… Grueling the long reverse ascent to virginity.. This is the heavy future of both the clued and clueless, all the tasters of lust. Old men who two score ago were the then young and blind, we beseech younger ones of today: do not submit to a yoke of lust!!
So blessed is he who never took the pill of “sweet dreams”! No wonder chastity is the most beautiful flower of the valley, and free, him who passes by the labyrinth of intemperance!
Where were our teachers, our sages, our guides and guards, our advocates, when we needed awareness of that miserable off ramp, so as to press on fast by it!? Where were our fathers?
Who escapes the wound of lust today? The constantly protected and guarded, the diligently formed and catechized. Only the virtue-schooled and the totally world-hidden.
Though we will never deliver ourselves from the master-vice of lust, we know that staying on The Vine is our faith, seeing Grace always before us, our hope. The desire to put our sights again and again on the pure heights of the Heavenly and beyond the merely human and lowly, our love of God.
How shall we prevail?
“But our armor is Christ; it is that which the Apostle Paul prescribes when, writing to the Ephesians, he says, ‘Take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day’; and again, ‘Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ Ephesians 6:13-17”
-St Jerome writing to St Augustine
‘Loins girt with truth’ means knowing the proper reserve of sexual faculty, always hating degeneracy - the vices of lust. ‘The breastplate of righteousness’ protects our hearts from corruption and unholy desire. The sandals of peace denote the stance in God of unfazed serenity - the supreme leverage against all fear. ‘The shield of faith’ is trusting in God’s never failing strength Who will obtain what is for creatures alone unobtainable. ‘The helmet of salvation’ is keeping before us the original memory and mind of Christian safety under the precious blood of Jesus. ‘The sword of the spirit’ is the readiness and constancy to invoke the Savior with prayer, to topple the Adversary. Let us pray!
Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us!
Perfect our desire to resist temptation
Perfect our desire to overcome
Perfect our desire to conquer
Perfect our desire for the victory of chastity
Perfect our desire for Grace to work within us
Wash us o God
with the Light of trust
with the Light of confidence
with the Light of docility
with the Light of simplicity
with the Light of virtuous choosing We beg in Jesus’ name. Amen.