ON GUARDING OF THE EYES:
POPE ON THE PRUDENT USE OF TV & INTERNET
The 2nd Book of Samuel (2 Sm 11:1–4a, 5–10a, 13–17) tells us the story of David who because, he did not guard his eyesight, consented into looking at Bathseba, wife of Uriah while she was bathing, and had relations with her. Bathseba conceived so David, wanting to cover up his grave offense, tried to deceive Uriah into going to his own house to sleep with her wife, a surreptitious plan which did not materialize as David wished. Worse, David went further and successfully schemed the Uriah’s death by putting his in the first row of the defense where the fighting against the Ammonites was fierce with the explicit instruction to his officer Joag to pull back so Uriah be struck down dead.
Dear brethren in Christ, this shows us the importance of guarding our eyesight if we are to keep Our Lord in our soul. Not doing so led David to various grave sins: greed adultery, conspiracy and assassination.
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us in Mt 5:27-29 to radically reject any occasion of sin when he said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”
Consent presupposes that one realizes the evil of these actions (looking, imagining, having impure thoughts) and freely engages in them. Prohibition of vices always implies a positive aspect — the contrary virtue. Holy purity, like every other virtue, is something eminently positive; it derives from the first commandment and is also directed to it: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). “Purity is a consequence of the love that prompts us to commit to Christ our soul and body, our faculties and senses. It is not something negative; it is a joyful affirmation” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 5). This virtue demands that we use all the resources available to us, to the point of heroism if necessary.
Our Lord obviously does not mean that we should physically mutilate ourselves, but that we should fight hard without making any concessions, being ready to sacrifice anything which clearly could put us in the way of offending God. Jesus’ graphic words particularly warn us about one of the most common occasions of sin, reminding us of how careful we need to be in guard of the sight. King David, by indulging his curiosity, went on to commit adultery and crime. He later wept over his sins and led a holy life in the presence of God (cf. 2 Sam 11 and 12).
As St. Josemaria wrote in The Way, n. 183:
The eyes! Through them many iniquities enter the soul. What experiences like David’s! If you guard your sight you have assured the guard of your heart.
Guarding of the sight is necessary if we are to live the virtue of holy purity (or chastity) to which all of us are called. Through the eyes, images enter and remain in our intellect. This is the reason why we have to live in presence of God wherever we may be and be prudent when we watch the television or when we use the internet whether by smartphone, computer or tablet, or while we travel or walk around the city.
When asked by a young man if it’s true that he doesn’t watch television and what he thinks about the internet, the Pope answered appealing to the tv show producers to make shows with content that would help people prepare for their life. He also appealed to the personal responsibility of each one saying:
“You must LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE WHAT YOU WATCH. If I see that a program is NOT GOOD FOR ME, HURTS MY VALUES, makes me vulgar or has vulgarity, I HAVE TO CHANGE THE CHANNEL.”
As for the use of internet, the Pope said:
“IF YOU YOUNG PEOPLE BECOME ATTACHED THE COMPUTER, AND BECOME A SLAVE TO THE COMPUTER, YOU LOSE YOUR FREEDOM. And if you look at dirty content on the computer, you lose your dignity. WATCH TV AND USE THE COMPUTER, BUT FOR THE GOOD THINGS, THE BIG THINGS, THE THINGS THAT MAKE US GROW.” (Pope Francis, Sarajevo, June 6, 2015)
Dear friends, this could be a CONCRETE RESOLUTION TO GUARD OUR EYESIGHT if we are to guard our heart and the purity of our soul and if really are bent to have a clean dwelling place for Our Lord in our soul. Parents, take care of what your children watch and read. Let us all be more PRUDENT in the use of television and internet (PCs, smartphones, tablets), avoiding anything which might offend the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ and make us lose our freedom and dignity as children of God. We ask this through the help of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Mother of Fair Love, Most Pure and Chaste, pray for us!
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Thanks and God bless you and your loved ones!