To save love

Author: Małgorzata Radomska

„Proclaim to the world ‘the good news’ about the purity of heart, and communicate the message of the civilization of love by your own example” - this special task was entrusted to us all, especially to youth, by St. John Paul II ...

Twelve-year-old Maria Goretti, sixteen-year-old Carolina Kózkówna, twenty-three-yearold Santa Scorese, eighteen-year-old Mariah Manisha ... Young girls, from different countries, living in different circumstances, at different times in the twentieth century. They had one thing in common: they preferred to die than to sin... They gave their lives in defense of chastity, dying at the hands of their attackers who were enslaved by impurity ...

Paul Kontny, a young priest, ruthlessly shot when he stood in defense of the purity of his parish girls when assaulted by Soviet soldiers ...

Fourteen-year-old Alexandrina da Costa jumps from the fourth floor to protect her girlish dignity from the boys who came to have some fun ... She will remain paralyzed and bedridden till the end of her life...

Young, twelve-year-old Laura Vicuña, with the consent of her confessor, offers her life for the conversion of her mother, who lives in a nonsacramental relationship in grave sin. She also fights for her virginity which her mother’s concubine is trying to snatch from her ...

Alberto Micchelotti, a young boy who gets a clear signal from a girl one day, suggesting he could use her - he strongly refuses, defending her from her own self ...

Many nameless ones ... Giving strong testimony. Reminding us with their own lives that man cannot live without true love; that “promiscuity is neither love nor freedom” ...

Among them – we stand ... Called to preserve the true meaning of love in today’s world.

Faithfulness of love

How to do this? Probably we won’t have to go through such trials as Bl. Caroline and St. Maria Goretti – to give up one’s life - but one thing is certain: Jesus asks us to be faithful to love in all everyday situations. He wants our lives to be simple - permeated by the Gospel. If we dare to actually live it, we will experience depth, beauty and joy in our relationships with others, our life will take on a new quality.

This road is an invitation for everyone. Of course, it requires huge effort, self-denial, but also creativity, imagination and courage to enter into this new, spirited way of life, pervading everything in man, his attitude and behavior.

One of the proponents of this new evangelical style of life was Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. He outlined it in his speeches (including the sermon to girls gathered at Jasna Gora in 1956.) and in the renowned 10 principles of The ABC of Social Crusade of Love. What is this new lifestyle about? First of all, it is based on the Gospel’s “golden rule”: “do to others, as you wish them do to you” ... The cardinal specifies it in four very important spheres - in speech, looks, gestures and fashion.

Speech: “Yes - yes, no - no”

Words always have great power, they are never neutral – they build or destroy us and others. Cardinal Wyszynski said: “It matters what language you speak to yourself when no one hears you, when you are looking for something in a hurry. It matters what words you throw at inanimate objects. A word unworthy of your mouth carves something in you, leaves a trace. Appreciate your mouth and words, especially when you address other people, when your words may carve something in others”... He also encourages: “Talk to each other with the language of love. Do not raise your voice. Do not curse. Do not hurt. Do not cause tears. Comfort people and show kindness. Do not create a gap between people. Think well of everybody - do not think badly of anyone. Try to find something good even in the worst one ”...

He who wants to love will always find the right words, because love will prompt them. This was the case of Bl. Carolina, who was only sixteen, but even at such young age she became a beacon for others. It was her whom the parish priest entrusted with the preparation for the sacraments. People who came to him for advice were sent to her. And she did not waste any opportunity and whenever she could, she would share with others her revelation of Jesus and his desires - which often changed the lives of others.

We must also remember that love is inseparable from truth. The greatest testimony we can give is our way of life - only then can we become a mirror for others, in which they can view themselves ... which will arouse a longing, a desire for change. A friend of Blessed Chiara Luce talks about one experience: “Chiara was a decent, practicing girl. During our puberty years I learned from her that the most important thing is to do the will of God in every moment, and she tried to do so in the small things, too. (...) I would like to tell the story of Michele. (...) The situation was as follows: I left my family and moved to his home, where his sister also lived. Later his sister moved out and just the two of us were left, living in a situation which - as we understood – was not right, but I could not do otherwise then. I could not move out: I had no home, I had no job, and on top of this Michele was going through a period of depression and deep spiritual crisis. In a telephone conversation I described to Chiara the situation I was living in. She never judged me, did not say: “you’re wrong”, she just asked: “are you happy?” ... When Michele and I went to Chiara, we found the strength and courage to make an important choice. We met her, who had only few days of life left [Chiara had cancer], but in her heart she had life, and we had death. Then we found strength to explain everything, and Michele understood that our choice [the decision to break up] did not mean another disaster for him. We remained only friends. It did not take much time, and I found a house and a job. I was independent.”

Looks

“One day a man turned up at Jasna Gora - the Cardinal was saying - and he asked for confession, after twenty years. ‘What happened that you have decided to confess today’ - asks the confessor. ‘I was in one carriage with a young girl. I assessed her with my eyes like I do with all other women. She was reading a book, she looked at me once. Getting off the train, she raised her eyes once again. And nothing more. She did not say a word. And suddenly I felt so dirty, so terribly bad that I got off the train and came here. Please help me, Father, to confess well, because I probably cannot do it myself.’ ”

The look, even though it may seem a trifle, has such tremendous power – it can awaken someone’s conscience or it can destroy its peace ... Cardinal Wyszynski said to young girls: “One day you will look – perhaps you are already looking - into the eyes of your beloved man, one day you will look into the eyes of your children. Keep purity and depth of your look. Do not waste it. Do not distort it with seductive winking. Learn to look straight and sincerely into the eyes and hearts of people. Everything seems pure to pure eyes. A dirty look is like dusty glass: everything seen through it is dirty and distorted “...

The murderer of Maria Goretti, Alexandro, left a shocking message: “I ask the whole world to forgive me for the outrage committed against the martyr Maria Goretti and to purity. (...) I urge everyone to stay away from immoral shows, from dangers and opportunities that may lead to sin.”

At the end of his life he wrote a letter, which can be regarded as his testament: “I am an old man, almost eighty-years and at the end of my life. Looking back at my past, I have to admit that in my youth I traveled a false path, the way of evil, which led me to ruin. I was blinded by reading the wrong things and by a carefree lifestyle that led me astray. At twenty years old, in a fit of lust I committed a crime. Today I shudder at the thought of it. Maria Goretti, now a Saint, was like a good angel to me, sent by Divine Providence to save me. In my heart I can still hear her words of forgiveness. She prayed for me, interceded for her killer. (...) May those who will read this letter, draw a lesson from it, that you need to guard yourself against evil and always seek good, from the earliest childhood. May they know that religion with its commands is not something that can be treated selectively. As a whole it is a true joy, gained only by those who are truly faithful to God, it is the only sure way in any circumstances of life, even the most painful ones”...

God’s Mercy does not reject anyone; after leaving prison Alexandro lived as a tertiary with Capuchin Friars, leading a life of deep prayer and repentance ... God does not refuse another chance to anyone who wishes to return to Him ...

We, too, should always look with new eyes, new hope, with faith in humanity, despite setbacks and disappointments. Let us always be the first ones to reach out our hand to reconcile, not keeping grudges in our hearts, forgiving everybody for everything.

Gestures

When we look at the Jasna Gora image of the Black Madonna, we can see that Mary is holding Jesus with her left arm, while pressing her right hand on her heart. “She guards this heart” - the Cardinal interprets. “Although hers is the Immaculate Heart, Mary seems to be worried about it. After all she must keep it intact, untouched, for her one and only, the greatest Love, for God, whom she brings to the world. (...) And you also need this gesture of Mary’s - let’s say metaphorically – your “hand on your heart.” Do all of your gestures and movements guard your heart? Or maybe on the contrary, they provoke and present challenges? (...) Take a look at yourself. (...) It depends on you what kind of feelings you evoke in another person: respect and a gesture of love, or disdain and lust. Remember, you are responsible not only for [your] feelings, but also for the feelings you evoke in another person “…

You cannot go past this responsibility indifferent, you cannot dismiss it, and finally - you cannot leave it because it is an expression of true love. It does not allow compromise in submission, but requires being radical, sometimes at great cost ...

Father Paul Kontny, who gives his life in defense of the purity of the assaulted girls; Alberto Micchelotti who says a determined “no” to the proposal of his girl friend; a student who decides to move out from the comfortable flat, when in the middle of the year one of his flat mates’ girlfriend wants to move in ... Young Dominic Savio, who interrupts the older guys looking at magazines and engaging in indecent conversation ...

Love wants to express itself in a thousand different and surprising ways, one way in friendship, another way in courtship, yet another way in marriage, but it never steals what does not belong to it. It never steals another ... It knows its time, it can wait. It is lust which comes like a thief and grabs to satisfy selfishness ... True love does not expect, but it serves first...

May our gestures in relation to others always be such as those that we would have when touching the wounds of Jesus ...

Fashion

Love, which means taking responsibility for someone, urges the one who loves to seek the good of the other person and does not allow the doing of anything that would hurt this person. This requires self-denial, the rejection of whims, and often the “martyrdom of opinion” choice, an exposure to ridicule, and a turning away from what is the world’s trend.

Cardinal Wyszynski inspired young girls: “Start a new style, truly girly, full of supreme grace and femininity, simple, and yet full of dignity! (...) Do not let fashion confine you and limit your modesty and dignity. Do not let fashion shape you. You create fashion. You are not a doll or a mannequin, to be moved around freely. You are a living person, a woman, a child of God. (...) Do not sell the purity of your body and your heart for any price, because there is no price on earth that would be worthy of your purity, which would be able to pay for it.”

Maria Goretti, struck with seventeen blows, fights to the end, covering herself with the ragged scraps of her dress ... Carolina Kózkówna ... Alexandrina da Costa, jumping from the fourth floor ... Chiara Luce, in love with the handsomest boy in town, giving back the ring, when she realizes the difference in values is insurmountable ... a student who decides to keep her purity as a wedding gift for her husband; another student undertaking the labour of daily prayer for the purity of her future boyfriend, whom she has not even met yet ...

Service as a fruit of purity

One day the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is visited by a newly married couple. They give her an envelope. They resigned from their honeymoon trip: „We are experiencing love and we want to share it with others” ... “The fruit of purity is service” - said Blessed Teresa.

If we want to learn how to truly love, we must begin to serve others. Thousands of examples ... Carolina Kózkówna running to serve the sick. Santa Scorese looking after paralyzed children and muscular atrophy patients, visiting the abandoned in orphanages, patients in hospitals and the dying in hospices ... Chiara Luce seeing the face of Jesus in the needy. Weakened and emaciated by her illness, she says: “I only have my heart left, but I can always love with it” ...

Laura Vicuña offering her life so that her mother would no longer live in grave sin ...

“Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me” ... - Jesus says in the Gospel ... And Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta adds: „He himself becomes a man, hungry, naked, homeless, sick, lonely, unwanted, rejected and He says: “I was hungry and you gave me food.” Hunger is not just a hunger for bread, but also hunger for love. Nakedness is not just a lack of a piece of clothing. It is deprivation of human dignity and of respect owed to a human being, and a lack of joy. Homelessness is not just a lack of space surrounded by walls. It is a state of disregard by others ... Today, even in rich countries, we have the hungry, naked and homeless. Do you know the poor of your beautiful city? ”...

There is only one way of saving love: to love. “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Cor 13:4-8). We are called to this kind of love ...

We are able to love only when we abide in union with Jesus. When we live by His word, when we feed on the Eucharist, when in the sacrament of reconciliation we allow Him to cleanse our hearts of “attachments which are inevitably formed if the heart is not immersed in God and His teachings.” The Movement of Pure Hearts is also a help on this road.

Let Jesus work – let Him heal, cleanse, transform and expand our hearts. Only He can do that and He wants to do so very much...

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