Editor’s Pick: Self-Denial by Deacon AntonioAugust 2, 2012 No Comments
August 2, 2012 / MariaNews.com
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
A young woman had just given birth to her first child. Knowing that sex causes so many problems among the young, she decided that this was not going to happen to her child. She planned to provide him with the best sex education possible, from a Christian perspective. So she went to her parish priest and asked him, “At what age should I begin the sex education of my child?” Her parish priest told her, “At age one”. The young mother blushed and asked, “but Father, what can I tell my baby about sex at age one?” The priest said, “Nothing, because the problems with sex are not caused by a lack of knowledge; they are caused by a lack of self- control, and self-control is learned only by the practice of self-denial. Training in self-denial can begin in infancy”.
In an episode from the comic strip, Pogo, it was suspected that an enemy was advancing towards the community, so Pogo and his companions were sent out to scout and locate the enemy. Sometime later they radioed this message to headquarters, “WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND IT IS US”. How true! We are our own worst enemy because no one can make us sin without our consent. If we sin, it is because we have surrendered to the desires of the flesh, or the sinful allurements of the world, or the temptations of the evil one. We have not trained ourselves well for the fight for holiness by prayer and self-denial. Therefore, in the thick of battle we have not put up a valiant effort nor summoned divine assistance through prayer to make up for what is lacking in our human fortitude. The battle for our immortal soul does not end until death. A life of prayer and sacrifice, from beginning to end, is our only assurance of ultimate victory.
When life is made too easy for us, it makes us weak. Doing only what feels good and avoiding pain is not gain for the individual and does not contribute toward the common good. If we read the lives of the saints we find that they were strangers to vice, but not to sacrifice (another name for self-denial).
Even in the Church, there are few demands for sacrifice and self-denial. When I was a child, fasting before Communion began at midnight. Now it’s only one hour before receiving. During Lent, even children had to fast. Maybe this wasn’t a universal practice, but it was true in New Mexico where I grew up.
The people I admire most are those who sacrifice for a higher good. My godmother, Ignacita, was one of those persons. As an adolescent she decided never to marry so that she could take care of her parents, my paternal grandparents, in their old age. She never veered from her decision even though she had several marriage proposals. (She is the one who taught me how to serve Mass.) My grandfather died in a car accident, but she took care of my grandmother until she died.
In view of the fact that external demands for prayer and self-denial are not placed on us, we have to place them upon ourselves and convince others to do the same. We should join together with people of like mind until the whole world is conquered for Christ.
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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