A Holy Kiss
"Greet one another
with a holy kiss"
exactly, many wonder, is a holy kiss?
A holy kiss is a chaste pressing of
one's lips upon the face of another which communicates the love
of God. It is, essentially, not your kiss, but
the kiss of God ... in which you are instrumental in conveying
not your own love, but the love of God. You lend your
lips to God.
That is to say, it
is the love of God that comes through you — and not
a gratuitous gesture of your own personal affection. That
belongs to you ... not God. That is giving something unsolicited
to another, with the presumption that you yourself are giving
something greater to another, of greater value to another, than
God is attempting to give through you. It is the "gift" of yourself
... not the gift of God. One clear characteristic of a "holy kiss"
is that it is completely devoid of any sinful desires, any attempt
to awaken another to intimacy.
It is a pure gift not so much from one person to another,
as through one person to another; "pure" in that it is possessed
of nothing invested with desire in you. It is a communion between
persons in the shared love of God, that love of God that binds you
in a holy communion, a holy sharing of that same love for the same
The closer a person is to God the purer the expression of a holy
To kiss another, or to hold them in all purity, is a gift of God.
The pure heart seeks nothing for itself, but wishes only to express
its love for, and communion in, God with the other who loves Him
It is a tragic reality
that in the world we now know, purity of heart is rarely seen as
a virtue. It is far more often regarded as the possession of the
Consecrated, or more likely still, as as state of sterility
... even a morbid pathology. Not so..!
It is all too often presumed that any form, any expression of affection,
is, at least implicitly, sexual in nature, or invariably suggestive
of it. But this is not so.
The attaining of a genuinely pure heart is a long, long, struggle
— more so for some than others. It is a purgation of sorts.
We must be cleansed by God of all that would distort and deform
love, all that would pervert it into becoming manipulative, the
mere using of another for ones own selfish gratification.
A Sad Confusion
It is so very sad that
nowadays any demonstration of love — and here we speak of holy love,
the love that is the communication of God's own love between His
people — is often subject to suspicion, to prurient criticism, a
criticism that speaks far more of what festers in the heart of the
critic than what obtains between the holy love binding two people
together in God. This is so sad. The sinful heart can no longer
distinguish between sin and sanctity but views everything through
the miasma of sin. It is blind to the possibility, let alone the
reality, of a genuine, holy, sincere, deep and authentic
love between two women, or two men, between friends, between a man
and a woman, even between an adult and a child ... a love
that does not implicate sex, that is not rooted in, or expressed
through, the flesh. It is cognizant only of love as sensual ...
which is to say, it is not cognizant of love at all. There is no
mutual love, only mutual gratification. We are not to scold such
souls, but to pity them. It is the perception of love as a commodity
traded in pounds of flesh. This is not sad. It is deeply tragic.
A love that seeks fulfillment through chastity and purity
is painfully beautiful — and it is already a foretaste of Heaven!
And both are unseen by the world, cannot be comprehended by the
world any more than the God Who Is Love is comprehended by the world!
It truly is a deep share in the Divine Love, a pure love uncorrupted
by license and sensuality.
For those who experience it, chastity is a blinding beauty,
a beauty that can consume the soul totally ... for it comes from
God and returns to Him.
Many, coming to realize this beauty, look back upon their lives
with such deep regret for the choices they had made, for the sins
they had committed – and are discouraged or dissuaded from this
beautiful path to God! But purity of heart can
be regained, reacquired! We can become
like little children again: not by our own efforts, as long we've
since learned, but by God's grace, which even now, upon your reading
this very line, He holds out to you!
In a stunning rebuke
to the world that equates love with sensuality — Christ revealed
more than the true nature of love. He revealed Whom Love Is, and
Who loved first — ever before flesh was created — and then assuming
that flesh, infused it with love and lived as Love among us ...
like unto us all in everything, except sin (Hebrews 4.15).
A Poor Clare Colettine Nun
for the Boston Catholic Journal