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Matthew 18:9

The Eyegate

The eyegate opens onto a broad avenue that leads directly to the soul. Through it flow images that can kindle lust, stir up envy, and incite sinful pleasures.

In The Confessions of St. Augustine, the author told of his friend Alypius who, though not a Christian, hated the bloody entertainment of the Roman circus. One day some students forced Alypius into the amphitheater to watch the gladiators. “Though you hale my body to that place,” he said, “can you force me also to turn my mind or my eyes to these shows?” So there he sat, eyes closed, mind fixed on nobler things. Just then a frenzied cry arose as a gladiator fell victim to a sword. Alypius opened his eyes for a brief moment. “So soon as he saw the blood,” Augustine recorded, “he therewith drank down savageness; nor turned away, but fixed his eye, drinking in frenzy, unawares, and was delighted with that guilty fight, and intoxicated with the bloody pastime.”

Our Lord, in a bold figure of speech, said, “if your eye caused you to sin, pluck it out.” He didn’t mean this to be taken literally. Rather He was saying, in effect, “Take the most drastic action necessary to keep your inner life pure.”

Billy Graham once said, “You may not be able to help the first look, but you can refuse the second.” When an impure image comes to mind, whether from a book, a magazine, the TV, or real life, never “let the eyes have it.” Instead, fix the eyes of your soul on Jesus, who intercedes in heaven for us. He will keep you pure.

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