When LeAnn first asked me to write my piece on purity my thoughts immediately went to the metal band on my finger. A band so familiar that when I take it off my hand feels bare. A band so familiar that it has become the way for me to know my lefts from my rights (something I still struggle with it). A band so familiar that I often forget it is even there, but I never forget what it symbolizes.
Six years ago, when I was 13, I asked my mom if I could get a purity ring. I was gifted with one that summer and it has not left my finger ever since. On my ring are two words, purity and Psalm 51:10. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” are the words that are illuminated with this piece of jewelry. This verse speaks to me in many ways and much deeper than the usual thoughts of purity rings. Back then my reason for wanting a purity was not uncommon. I wanted something to wear that symbolized the promise I made to myself, but after years of wearing it has become something completely different and even more special.
I do not wear a purity ring for the “holier than thou” feeling. And I do not wear it to avoid certain conversations with men. I wear it for me. I wear my purity ring because I wish to live my life purely for the Lord. Whenever I am in a tough situation, it is the thing I often look to. It doesn’t force me into a wallow of guilt, but instead brings the thought of the Holy Resurrection back to my mind. And after I have these thoughts circling, the decisions I was considering often seem easy. The word pure is defined as “free of any contamination.” And that is precisely what I yearn for my soul to be. My ring does not only represent abstinence or morality, like many people believe, instead it represents the Gospel. This metal band, that has become so second nature to me, is a constant reminder of the life I want to live. A life that is flawless, natural, true, and pure in the eyes of our Savior.
This Advent season we are all preparing our hearts and souls for the birth of Christ. And if there is one thing that Jesus embodies at his birth, it is purity. Jesus came down to Earth for the purest of all reasons, to save us. His intentions were never selfish or close-minded. He never ignored his morals or obligations. And in the end he purely surrendered himself to save us. This attribute is something we must all long for, especially with Christmas happening in less than 5 days. It is so easy for us all to forget the true reason for this holiday and give in to meaningless holiday norms. I am not saying we shouldn’t put up a tree or partake in a gift exchange, I am simply stating that this season we should be looking beyond the superficial reasons and into the purest reason of all, the birth of Jesus.
I believe that purity is one of the most important virtues we can have; pure thoughts, actions, and intentions are absolutely necessary to have a life walking in the light of Christ. Jesus came down to earth in the purest fashion and continued it throughout his whole life. I challenge all of you this busy, ornament-filled season to revert back to the pure and true reason for it. Go to mass on Christmas, say a prayer for Mary on Christmas Eve, and sing happy birthday to Jesus Christmas morning, because if there is anything our Lord wants for Christmas it’s for us all to have a pure heart in him.
My last writer for this Advent guest-blogger series is a freshman in college with wisdom beyond her years. She was born with a servant's heart, ready and willing to help those around her. And she is one of those people who just pull the best traits out of those around her.
Ginna is a truly a Proverbs 31 woman. You know the one, clothed in dignity and strength. The one who seems to just embody her call to holy purity and gentleness. She hears that call to be God's love to others and answers it eagerly. Each of these women who have written for are women who have inspired me to be better, to pray more, to work harder. Ginna is my orignial inspiration. We shared a room for almost ten years and are somehow still best friends. She was one of the first people I wanted to tell about my pregnancy because I couldn't image even going a few weeks without her knowing the most important news in my life. She has been my shoulder to cry on, hand to hold, and shot-gun rider. She is someone I can always count on, and I hope that she can count on me as much I do her.
Ginna is afraid of cows, but loves milk. She is studying sociology. She is best friends with her dog, Maria, who is named after Our Lady of Guadalupe (they found Maria on her feast day). She is the Christmas Queen. Ginna also swam competitively for 12 years, and is an aunt.
Siblings are tricky. They can bring out the worst or the best in us, egging us on into childish arguments, making us revert back to less mature ways. Or they can grow with us and help us to become better adults in Christ together. Family, whether by blood or by choice, is integral to building our community of faith. Someone to sit with at church on Sundays, a group of people who you can ask to pray with or for you. Those relationships are precious. We were not all called to be solitary creatures, worshipping God alone in the desert. With Christmas just a mere six days away, be sure to make time for your families this holiday season. Give your grandmother a call, send your aunt a holiday card, and make sure that they know you appreciate and love the community you were raised in.