Restraining and Re-TRAINing the Eyes
Ouch! That doesn’t sound like much fun, but I don’t think following the “steep and narrow” way sounds like much fun either…but the benefits are out of this world! Here’s a way we can grow in perfection by mortifying our greatest SENSE: our SIGHT…
St. Jerome says that our eyes are the gates of death, because it is by them that the death of sin enters into our soul. Evil thoughts, dangerous imaginations, impure displays all contribute to “dissipation” which makes the soul incapable of prayer and distracts from spiritual pursuits and the “working out of our salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12)
Since our eyes are destined to behold Jesus Christ and for all eternity to contemplate the splendors of heaven, Fr. Hamon says we should not spend our time here “gazing upon things we have no need to see, and upon so many people with whose comings and goings we have nothing to do with. They ought to serve us for what is useful in regard to the glory of God, for the service of our neighbor or our own interests; and, apart from these exceptions, to be kept in restraint, modest and reserved everywhere, but more especially at church and at prayer; otherwise we shall either not pray, or we shall be thinking of what we see rather than of what we are saying. Restraint in regard to our eyes is the safeguard of innocence, of recollection, of the spirit of prayer, of all the virtues; and there has not been a saint who has not habitually kept a restraint over his eyes.”
Oh, boy! I can just imagine what this good priest would think about our habits of watching television or movies and checking up on our Facebook and Instagram friends!! There is SO much out there we do NOT need to know or see! So many means of dissipation, distraction and temptation to sin are out there. May God have mercy and grant us the MANY graces we need in this day and age to resist the temptations of the eyes.
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