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Monday, July 5, 2010

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St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

Hosea 2:16-18, 21-22
Psalm 145:2-9
Matthew 9:18-26

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sexual abuse

"When the crowd had been put out He entered and took her by the hand, and the little girl got up." —Matthew 9:25

Many people have been sexually abused. Sexual abuse includes not only incest or rape but also self-abuse through masturbation or other sexual sins and abuse by others through impure looks, touches, words, or thoughts (see Mt 5:28). Sexual sin always abuses, degrades, and dehumanizes. Therefore in our society, so preoccupied with sexual sin, there are very many abused and defiled people.

Jesus alone can heal the sexually abused. Some, through no fault of their own, have been disrespected and lusted after as mere sex objects. Jesus can heal them from years of being damaged and insulted by others' sexual sins. Others are at fault for abusing themselves and others by sexual sin. These people may need far more than healing. The wages of sin is death (Rm 6:23), and many are spiritually dead. However, Jesus can not only heal the sick but also raise both the physically and spiritually dead (Mt 10:8).

Often we think we're in love, but we're really in lust. Jesus frees us of the ravages of lust's counterfeit love by giving us true love. He promises: "I will espouse you to Me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity" (Hos 2:21-22). Jesus' love heals us from the effects of sexual sin and raises us from the dead.

Prayer:  Jesus, make me pure as You are pure (1 Jn 3:3).

Promise:  "Jesus...said, 'Courage, daughter! Your faith has restored you to health.' That very moment the woman got well." —Mt 9:22

Praise:  St. Anthony, a doctor at 22, heeded the call to heal souls as well as bodies. He fought sin by encouraging frequent communion and eucharistic adoration.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Sexual Sin, Abortion, and the Pill.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2009

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