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To practise modesty of the eyes is the duty of a religious, not only because it is necessary for her own improvement in virtue, but also because it is necessary for the edification of others. John the Baptist, a religious should be a burning and shining light.God only knows the human heart: man sees only the exterior actions, and by them he is edified or scandalized. She ought to be a torch burning with charity, and shining resplendent by her modesty, to all who behold her.“The look of a just man is an admonition to many.” The saint adds: It is related of St. By his modesty he induced so many pagans to embrace the faith, that the Emperor Maximian fearing that he should be converted to Christianity by the appearance of the saint, would not allow the holy man to be brought within his view, but spoke to him from behind a screen.

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Benedict rolled himself in thorns, arose from one incautious glance at a woman. Jerome, though living in a cave at Bethlehem, in continual prayer and macerations of the flesh, was terribly molested by the remembrance of ladies whom he had long before seen in Rome.

Why should not similar molestations be the lot of the religious who wilfully and without reserve fixes her eyes on persons of a different sex? Francis de Sales, “the seeing of objects so much as the fixing of our eyes upon them that proves most pernicious.” “If,” says St.

Seneca says that “blindness is a part of innocence.” And Tertullian relates that a certain pagan philosopher, to free himself from impurity, plucked out his eyes.

Such an act would be unlawful in us: but he that desires to preserve chastity must avoid the sight of objects that are apt to excite unchaste thoughts. hereby lust is enkindled as a fire.” Gaze not upon another’s beauty; for from looks arise evil imaginations, by which an impure fire is lighted up. Francis de Sales used to say, that After being a novice for a year, St.

To religious the following words of the Apostle are particularly applicable: We are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” And again: Religious are attentively observed by the angels and by men; and therefore their modesty should be made manifest before all; if they do not practise modesty, terrible shall be the account which they must render to God on the day of judgment. what devotion does a modest religious inspire, what edification does she give, by keeping her eyes always cast down! Francis of Assisi once said to his companion, that he was going out to preach.

After walking through the town, with his eyes fixed on the ground, he returned to the convent.

Francis de Sales says, If we begin, he will complete our destruction.

A deliberate glance at a person of a different sex often enkindles an infernal spark, which consumes the soul. Bernard, “the deadly arrows of love enter.” The first dart that wounds and frequently robs chaste souls of life finds admission through the eyes. By them was Solomon, once the inspired of the Holy Ghost, drawn into the greatest abominations.

He once, without perceiving a lake, walked along its banks for nearly an entire day; and hearing his companions speak about it, he asked when they had seen it. Peter of Alcantara kept his eyes constantly cast down, so that he did not know the brothers with whom he conversed.

It was by the voice, and not by the countenance, that he was able to recognize them. Hugh, bishop, when compelled to speak with women, never looked at them in the face. Clare would never fix her eyes on the face of a man.

But I do not see how looks at young persons of a different sex can be excused from the guilt of a venial fault, or even from mortal sin, when there is proximate danger of criminal consent. Gregory, “to behold what it is not lawful to covet.” Brother Roger, a Franciscan of singular purity, being once asked why he was so reserved in his intercourse with women, replied, that when men avoid the occasions of sin, God preserves them; but when they expose themselves to danger, and easily fall into some grievous transgressions.

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