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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 3, 2020
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

The scourge of impurity

Rock & Refuge

I remember that in the 60s, during my high school days in the province, I never heard, much less, seen pornography. And the sin of self-abuse was practically unheard of. If ever, there only were very occasional and very hushed mention of them among the “naughty” boys who were, of course, my friends.

I started hearing about these things more often and more openly when I began my college studies in Manila in the late 60s and early 70s. It was a period of drastic changes in my life, reflecting very vividly the many changes I experienced in my own body and those I’ve seen in the environment.

Truth to tell, I experienced what St. Paul described in his Letter to the Romans: “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…

“For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my member another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!...” (7,14ff.)

I was most thankful that in those years, I also discovered my vocation that somehow shielded me to a large extent from the enormous pressure of the temptations outside and inside. Those were tumultuous times that occasioned in me the strengthening of my faith, my piety, my hope, my charity and the whole gamut of the virtues.

The lesson and insight I learned from those years was that God allows us to get dirty in difficult if not impossible situations in order to purify us, to prod us to really grow in the virtues in their genuine state and not just their appearance or caricature. He never leaves us and is always there to help, but we have to learn to turn to him.

Our problem usually is that we tend to ignore him. And that’s when what is already bad becomes worse. But if we go to him in our weakness and even in sinfulness, he will always be there to help. I believe that’s what St. Paul meant when he said:

“But he (Christ) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12,9-11)

Thus, we should not worry too much, much less plunge into despair when we are caught in a seemingly helpless and irredeemable situation because such situation can actually occasion a marvelous change and improvement in our life through God’s grace and mercy.

Somehow, with Christ we can echo these reassuring experiences of St. Paul who said: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (2 Cor 4,8-10)

God can always derive good from evil. He allows, not causes, evil to befall on us so that a greater good can be made. We should always bear this wonderful truth of our faith in mind, always asking for his grace so that we can also do our part to correspond to his loving grace and mercy by praying, sacrificing, etc., as we tackle the challenge of the scourge and epidemic of impurity.*

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