Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious
(II Corinthians 11:18.21-30; Matthew 6:19-23)
Aloysius Gonzaga was an Italian noble who joined the Society of Jesus at a tender age. As a novice, he may have heard the warning of keeping “custody of the eyes.” This term means to turn one’s gaze from compromising sights. Its reference generally regards sexual allurement. Aloysius would have heeded such advice. He did not live long enough to be ordained a priest. However, his short life was exemplary that in time he was named “patron of Catholic youth.” Today’s gospel may be taken as an admonishment to Christians to similarly keep “custody of the eyes.”
Jesus calls the eyes the “lamp of the body.” As such they allow images to settle in one’s mind. Good eyes will screen healthy images from compromising ones. Healthy images like nature in bloom lift the soul to give God glory. Corrupt images like pornography create illicit desire. Bad eyes do not make these distinctions. They allow unhealthy images to wreak havoc in the mind.
It may sound fastidious to remind another of sexual desire. Yet many people today – mostly men but, no doubt, women as well – are obsessed by sexual desire. Counselling may be needed, but a friendly reminder not to fix one’s gaze on another’s sexual organs can resolve the difficulty. We are sexual beings which is wonderful. But sexual desire like all others must be tempered by virtue.