Attachment to earthly possessions, illustrated

I remember when the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated was as much about the suits as it was about the girls wearing the suits.  But now, and for many years, it’s about how little they can get away with wearing.  Even Fox News, this morning, was all agog and agape at the cover of the now-signature SI Swimsuit issue.  My first impression was *gasp* those girls are really pretty.  My immediate second impression was *gasp* how little they’re wearing…and how little they care.  I will be the first to admit that I admire beauty, especially living, moving human fleshly beauty.  I can even admire a good looking man.  But my being a fan of female beauty went to great lengths.  And down to the depths.  I became, and as a society we have become, obsessed with it.  The more I saw, the more I wanted to see, or less, really.  Nudity then became ok, and it was ok to look at the naked form (it is ok, it’s not ok to lust for it), and after awhile, this wasn’t enough, and I had to see women using their bodies in pursuit of pleasure.  And it got deeper than that…

It’s natural.  The first thing we see is someone’s appearance.  And much of the entertainment industry is there to allow us to feast with our eyes, and allow that stuff to invade our minds.  Pollute our minds.  We see people on TV and in the movies acting any way that normal people wouldn’t normally act, and we become numb to it.  We see them driving expensive cars, using expensive gadgets, and we lust after those things.  Lust is not just something we do with our minds in relationship to human form…

I’m not saying we can’t enjoy what God has placed in front of our eyes.  If we cannot, then I’m damned.  What I cannot do, according to my faith, is pursue it to it’s disordered use.  As an example, we believe that it’s ok to drink alcohol, to eat food, to sleep, to want something better for ourselves in this life, and it’s ok to enjoy beauty in every form.  But when it gets too much…that’s where we (as individuals) must draw the line.  For the consumer of alcohol, you must have self-knowledge to know how much you can drink, and not be drinking in excess.  Same with food, and all the other things I’ve mentioned.  And we can enjoy beauty to the extent that it becomes lustful, obsessive, and wrong.

I’m sure that over the coming weeks, we will be innundated with pictures out of the Sports Illustrated SSI.  We’ll also be shown the debauchery that is Spring Break.  Aside, I think it’s going to be worse than usual because of all the bad weather we’ve had this winter.  And I’m sure I’ll be enjoying those pictures, to some degree.  Beauty is addictive! (Heck, in watching the Winter Olympics, some of those women are gorgeous, and they’re completely covered, neck to toes!)  All the pursuits of this world can become addictive.  What we must do is control ourselves.  And that’s what fasting and sacrifice are all about.  Start thinking of this, because Ash Wednesday, and Lent are coming.  What are you giving up for Lent, and why?  Remember, the point of fasting is to master the material good, to prove our command of that, rather than to let it control us.  So if you’re giving up Starbucks, as Mother Angelica says, if you’re going to be grumpy about it, and make everyone else suffer because you are, forget it! You’re not living the spirit.  God loves a cheerful giver.  If you’re giving up cigarettes, be good natured about it.  If you stumble, get back up and go at it again.  It’s not a sin to fail, it’s a sin to stay fallen…


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