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