THE GREATEST INNOCENCE, THE STRENGTH AND POWER OF INNOCENCE, COMES THROUGH PURITY OF THE MIND AND HEART WHICH IS REFLECTED IN THE PURITY OF THE BODY.
THE NEED FOR COURAGE
What do we need to hear in the modern world? What do we need to remember? St Philomena teaches us, first of all, about the need for courage. Courage is a supernatural gift which comes to us from the Holy Ghost. The virtue of courage is needed in our world today. Philomena is a wonderful example because she is the unexpected witness of courage. Our children today are inundated with images of superheroes and novel forms of courage that are not possible. But, Philomena presents a courage which is supernatural and, yet, at the same time accessible. Here is a child, and we have to remember she was very much a child; here is a child in a foreign land, torn from her parents, isolated from all that was familiar, abused and tempted in ways that none of us have ever been tempted. None of us have ever been offered the kingdom of the world on a platter.
MAINTAINING ONE’S PEACE OF SOUL
She was offered fame, fortune, power and physical pleasure. Everything the world could offer, was offered to her! And, yet, she found the courage to resist this temptation, to overcome her fear and to maintain her peace of soul. Her courage is a tremendous witness and it is a witness, not only to the supernatural virtue of courage but it is also a witness to the power of innocence.
THE POWER OF INNOCENCE
Our world today does not value innocence. You can see it in the fashions, you can see it in the advertisements and you can see it everywhere from the billboards to the check-out line at the grocery store. Ours is not a culture that values innocence. We view innocence as a handicap because we have the mistaken idea that innocence is the same as being naïve. And we see this as a weakness not a strength. But, there is more to innocence than just virginity of the body. The greatest innocence, the strength and power of innocence, comes through purity of the mind and heart which is reflected in the purity of the body. You must have the first one before you can have the second. Our children are not innocent and, believe me, they are not innocent because they have not been taught that purity of the body can only happen if we understand and embrace purity of the mind and the heart. “For only the pure of heart shall see God.”
SEEING THROUGH THE ILLUSIONS AND DECEPTIONS
And this is what innocence is all about. Innocence is the ability not just to refrain from sexual activity, but it is the ability to see and understand as God does, to possess a spiritual point of view and to be able to value and judge things of this world in the light of eternity. Philomena had the ability and was able to see through the shadows and the illusions of temptation. She was able to distinguish what was important from what was unimportant, what was necessary from what was not necessary. She saw through the lies and the deceptions and she clearly understood that the only thing necessary was the salvation of her soul.
THIS IS INNOCENCE! THIS IS POWER!
Philomena had the courage to embrace the Truth! This is innocence! This is power! Innocence is power because it brings with it integrity of the heart. [Another] powerful lesson that Philomena brings is integrity of heart. She was single-minded, stubborn and committed. This is what gave her strength. She was focused completely on the one thing necessary, the only thing that is necessary: the salvation of her soul. This is what gave her courage and strength in the face of martyrdom and death.
The Archconfraternity of St Philomena and the Universal Living Rosary Association of St Philomena have developed the YOUTH FOR PURITY Crusade to introduce St Philomena to as wide an audience as possible…we send mini-shrines out to schools, to youth groups and to CCD programs. We want to emphasize integrity of heart and the power of innocence and the great need for courage. This is the focus we want to give our children and Philomena does that in a radical and powerful way.
– This is an excerpt of an article in “Dedicated Decades”, Spring 2012. To find out more about the Youth for Purity Crusade and how to get involved, please see http://www.philomena.org (external link) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org