The Joy of “Keeping Custody” of One’s Self

Catholic culture of an earlier era taught about “keeping custody” of one’s tongue, one’s mind, one’s eyes, one’s body. For example, “keeping custody of one’s eyes” meant that a person was very careful about what she allowed herself to see (cf Job 31:1; Mat 5:28; Psalm 119:37 etc.). It might mean focusing one’s gaze on the cross during prayer and not letting your eyes wander every time someone new entered the room.

According to Neilsen ratings, the average American is exposed to 1600 advertisements per day. Keeping custody of one’s eyes and ears has spiritual as well as political ramifications.

Keeping custody of one’s tongue meant “mindfulness” about speaking and silence, tone and tenor. The concept of “keeping custody” both roots in our own authority, power, and responsibility and also develops spiritual habits and practices that orient us toward what is essential and relegate to the margins what is non-essential. It’s a practice that quiets the heart and calms the spirit.

For those of us who spend a lot of time online there are actually free downloadable software apps that block advertisements. Consider whether one of these “overapps” might be good for your soul.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

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