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Lust is the great enemy and destroyer of love! Like many people, I struggled to overcome lust, untwist the lies I bought, and to find the freedom, power, and beauty of true love.

As stated in a previous article, whereas love seeks to give generously and selflessly at all costs, even when it’s a sacrifice; lust is selfish and seeks to get pleasure for oneself.

Lust is a powerful interior force that can be difficult to contain. It seems to possess a mind of its own. While lust seems like a powerful force, it is actually weak! It has no mind; it doesn’t think. It merely acts on sensual base instincts which is no better than a dog or other animals.

Passion is good in the right context of marriage. God gave us this powerful gift. But lust is intrinsically selfish and just seeks to indulge its sexual cravings.  Lust doesn’t—indeed it can’t—say no. That’s why what seems so strong and powerful is actually weak, as are the unfortunate souls who are enslaved by it.

Lust will tempt you to make split second, reactionary decisions without putting any objective thought into the consequences. Lust can control you and will actually rewire your brain.

Lust is a lie that equals death! It will be the death of your relationships and of any love that might have been present. Only after indulging it does the remorse, guilt, emasculation, and evil that was hiding beneath kick in. Lust promises you passion, fun, and a great relationship. But, lust is the great destroyer of relationships because it is the opposite of true love. The two are irreconcilable. Jesus teaches that to lust after a woman is to commit adultery with her in your heart (Matthew 5:27-30).

Choosing love, purity, the other person’s good is always strong because it’s difficult. It takes deep inner strength to do what’s right, especially when your body is telling you to do otherwise. It takes thought and strong willpower to choose love when lust is raging—to take the high road when lust is screaming for you to reduce the other person to a play toy for your own pleasure. It takes real strength to resist lust and to heroically fight for the other person’s dignity, as a child of God. Using the other like animals use each other, with no self-control, with no thought of their eternal soul is sub-human and beneath all of our dignity. That is why lust, pornography, masturbation, and the like, destroys love and marriages.

As a man writing this, I must choose to love women, to respect them, and to treat them as princesses of God, even in spite of any base desires that scream at me to use them selfishly. Anything else is from the devil! As men, we must choose to act as the chivalrous knight and not the disgraceful thief.

Now, I realize that to overcome lust is a difficult task. It can be a long process, and all the more if there is an addiction. It takes time to purify our hearts and to change our mindsets. This is why we must be strong, pray like our life depended on it, fight daily against the enemy, and work toward complete freedom. Like any normal man, I am tempted many times a day with all the immodesty in our world (billboards, commercials, immodest women, magazines in the checkout lines, etc.). Yet, we are called to fight against it and to find freedom, but HOW?

#1. Through much prayer! This absolutely cannot be done without God. Daily prayer without shortcuts are mandatory, monthly (or weekly) confession, and fasting on bread and water at least twice a month (or even once a week, if necessary). Why fasting? Because addicts are used to indulging themselves. We aren’t used to saying no and being disciplined. So, when we don’t eat for a day, our body tells us, “I’m hungry!!” And 100 times a day, we tell our bodies, “NO, you can WAIT!” thus helping us to put our bodily passions back in their rightful place, at the bottom. Our minds and will must always be the decision makers.

#2. By eliminating lust from your life. Throw all pornography or romance novels away. Delete porn from the computer. Put up pop-up-blockers, a picture of Jesus, etc. We also need to understand what love really is and learn new habits. In this regard, listening to Jason Evert’s CD Set Pure of Heart is an absolute must.

Remember, with true love, you are in control. You choose what’s right, even when it’s hard. While lust gives birth to boredom and death, true love yields freedom, peace, satisfaction… and heaven!

(This post has been read 5,541 times)

54 Comments

  1. Linda-982758 December 29, 2013

    Thank you for a clearly written article . This aspect is a trouble spot for many people. The evil one knows only too well our weaknesses. If it is an addiction the 12 steps can help you with the road to a solution. Self Less Ness or thinking of the self less is the answer. Lust is one of the seven dead;y sins
    : Pride Envy Greed Gluttony Anger Lust and Sloth.
    There is no such thing as a little bit Lustful such like a little bit pregnant analogy. There is no such thing as just a toe dipping into the ocean of lust before too long it is a full cross Atlantic swim. Beware Lust is very powerful in undermining God’s calling to LOVE

  2. Tom-1016640 December 29, 2013

    Thanks for the great article and insight. Evert’s book, If You Really Loved Me, is also a great resource. It is aimed at teenagers, but it’s message applies to anyone seeking a more authentic, loving life.

  3. Paul-929810 December 29, 2013

    It’s all well and good if one happens to be in a loving relationship (marriage) to another of the opposite sex, but what about the single, divorced man who still has those God given animal forces, those urges – almost the clinical compulsion to achieve at least some temporary respite from the raging sexual storm that goes on inside my head?
    If masturbation leads to Hell, then probably 95% of men will be going there.
    I keep praying that this urge will be taken from me, that I might at least not be constantly and enormously troubled by those urges that are simply so very strong. God made them that way so that the human race would never die out and this is nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Lust’ it is as powerful as hunger or thirst, and although these can be contained for a short time, so too with the sexual urge for release.
    Must we achieve perfection in order to be admitted into Heaven – or did Jesus simply come to heal the sick? I am sick, I suffer from a sexually transmitted disease called ‘LIFE’ and it’s that ‘natural’ force that just seems impossible to suppress. If it were as easy as you suggest then the human race would have died out long ago.
    Must I earn God’s love by simply forcing my body to become ‘chaste; or will God love me just the same and understand my struggles? After all He made me this way and although I pray to the point of mental exhaustion some times, I have absolutely no evidence nor experience that prayers are ever answered. If they were then this world would be a wonderful place with no sin and no suffering.

    Perhaps I can only succeed with Bromide tablets and cold showers, but how would that earn me a place in Heaven.

    If you have achieved mastery of your ‘animal instinct’ as you call it and are single and celibate and chaste then; “Very well done”. If, like most men, you are still a sinner then you are not really qualified to lecture us on ‘lust’!

    Best wishes for a speedy transition to Heaven at the point of your demise,
    Paul

    • Dominic-981542 January 1, 2014

      Those animal or urges are not God given . . and he did not make you that way . . its okay if you dont understand original sin but god did not make it that way

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      Paul, I feel ya buddy. I’m a little tired of married people giving advice about being single. Lust is easy to deal with! Just put it in the trash and pray. Now excuse me, it’s “date night” with my wife and I’m feelin’ frisky!

  4. Jillian-1014035 December 29, 2013

    Nothing is impossible for God. He can reconcile anything.

  5. Donna-712794 December 29, 2013

    I agree with Paul 929810. Paul is speaking the truth of being human.
    And God created all of us as “human” with all our faults, etc.

  6. Gary-936836 December 29, 2013

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  7. Brent-1036650 December 29, 2013

    Paul,you have asked accurate and real life questions that have plagued the minds of men. I had a long discussion with a priest less than week ago and posed almost verbatim the same questions as you. What did God intend, was masturbation there as an outlet for this male inclination to prevent the real sin that Christ cautioned against?The Church has taught us all our lives that it is terrible sin. However we did not create the desire or natural inclination to do so.It was programmed within our very genes
    and by whom? Wasn’t it God who made us? Created that unique set of particles and programmed them to make a human and what we are? Yes I think it’s wrong because it’s what I was taught but how would I feel if I was taught that this was a natural thing? Bryan has posted some accurate statements but Bryan shouldn’t be so quick to condemn unless he of course knows the intent and mind of God! I hope that he doesn’t think that he dose! Yes with God we can do or overcome anything but why the lingering question? Why is it such a problem?Why isn’t there a clear cut answer? I didn’t create it nor want it or desire it but it’s there as you said.If that’s an accurate picture of Bryan he is in no position to judge anyone and needs another fifty years or so to experience and struggle with life and even then he nor anyone else really knows the real truth.We should all try to live within the will of God and do what is right and follow what Christ actually said about sin and not create new ones based on some vague reference in the old testament to some wacko warrior making a fool of himself in front of other soldiers and at the assembled enemy line by spilling his seed.
    Wouldn’t life be just wonderful if we knew all the answers.Well we don’t and we have to trust in God to help us through this trying life.Lust is wrong,porn is wrong and deadly as is adultery and all the other sins of the flesh that destroy the peace of life.All we can do is ask God to help us through this mess and He will……….Peace!

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      Brent made valid points, and rather eloquently backed up Paul. Thank you Brent!

  8. Liz-609023 December 29, 2013

    Hi,
    that was a good article and a good reminder. Actually this was rather helpful at this moment. However, if we threw out romance novels etc we would also have to throw pretty much all DVD’s even the many Bible ones because you see an awful lot of sex in them that happened out of wedlock. You have to have a limit. Of course porn shouldn’t be anywhere near us anyway if we’re true Christians. You called us ladies “princesses of God”, well thanks and thanks for actually respecting us, but what we are is brides of Christ. St Catherine of Sienna was actually given a wedding ring from the Lord. I think Jesus would more call us his queens. All you guys who think you’re going to hell for any of your sins such as lust, try not to be so orthodox. Lust is a hard one to deal with and God knows us better than we know ourselves. If we stand with Him he’ll get us through whatever mess we’re in. Never think hell is the end when God is love. The two don’t fit. As I said thanks for a well written article.

  9. Brent-1036650 December 29, 2013

    Paul,you say that you have no evidence that God answers prayer.Well I do have very strong evidence that God answers prayer but sometimes we may have missed it .God doesn’t always answer in the manner that you wish or expect but He does answer.I have had many life and death prayers answered,really life and death!.I should have been dead many times. Heart attacks,several, Flat Lined,yes I walked into the tunnel and experienced God and Satan and believe me you don’t want to go to Hell! Its real and the most horrible thing that you can imagine! He also has saved me from drowning,gun fire.motor rounds,poisoning,and much more! Get this,are you ready?In spite of all this my stupid human nature makes me ask from time to time if God answers prayer.! How totally stupid because I know He does and yet I ask this really dumb question! If God didn’t answer prayer I would NOT have been here to write this!. God does answer prayer but we have to do what Christ asked ………You have to have to believe that He will answer you with all you heart and mean it! Have “The Faith of a Mustard Seed”. God does not abandon those who trust in Him! You may have to suffer a little and perhaps you are a suffering soul so offer it up! Your eternal life depends on your faith in following Him and in Him.Keep trying Paul,don’t give up! God does care and will come to your aid! ……God Bless……

  10. Meghan-1042334 December 29, 2013

    Thank you Catholic Match for helping us understand why lust is sinful.

  11. Rachel-731570 December 29, 2013

    If you give in to lust, to masturbation, to sin, if makes it that much harder the next time not to give in.
    It takes trying, resisting, not excusing yourself because ‘it’s hard.’
    Anyone who thinks only men have powerful sexual urges is believing a lie.
    I find I have most success fighting sexual urges in two ways: physical and spiritual effort.
    Physically, I wear myself out with good, hard work – this has been the way people have been successfully fighting masturbation for centuries – it’s easier to sleep at night and resist if you are truly tired from good work!
    Spiritually, I find reading the daily Bible readings, praying at least morning and evening prayers from the book of Christian Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours) and speaking in prayer with God often throughout the day, asking my guardian angel to aid me, and regular confession (monthly) help a lot.
    Lust and masturbation are opposite from self-giving love — they truly make one unfit to give oneself in marriage or even relationship with God, as you are shutting God and concern for anyone else out.
    I know it’s not easy – try celibacy after daily sex for 20 years – it’s HARD! But what part of being Catholic is supposed to be easy? It’s worth it!

  12. Douglas-984666 December 30, 2013

    I would also recommend good, hard, physical exercise. With the release of physical energy you get from a good, strenuous workout, it’s actually a great way to fend off those sinful temptations, as unreleased, pint-up physical energy often gets converted into sexual energy.

  13. Joan-529855 December 30, 2013

    Very well written article!! LOVE Jason Evert!!
    In regards to the debilitating sexual urges: pray, exercise, volunteer, get another hobby. In other words, keep busy. I am sorry you feel that your prayers have never been answered but God is real, and He is there for you as you struggle with temptation. If man used masturbation to satisfy his sexual needs he would never feel a need to copulate, in which case the human population WOULD disappear.

  14. Maria-930540 December 30, 2013

    Lust isn’t anywhere close to love, that is if you’re looking for love. You need to see the person by his attributes and not by his body, otherwise it won’t mean a thing. It’s sad but true, that relationships end because of lust. Praying to God to keep me away from lustful situations has helped me greatly. Going to confession also helps and being aware of your actions. and how it affects others. Accepting your self being, no matter how bad or ugly it looks is the first step to changing your ways. If lust is your weakness, stay away from it, get busy doing other things that are healthy, like exercising, attending mass three or four times a week, pray the rosary, and volunteer in church activities. You never know when the Lord will call you from this life, it might be tonight or tomorrow, therefore you need to be prepared with good deeds. Life isn’t easy and yes, we will go through suffering before we die.

  15. Helene-1031133 December 30, 2013

    Hi Paul,
    I don’t want to add to people’s suggestions of what to do or not to do. It didn’t sound to me like the article was meant to condemn those people who fall into sin related to lust rather than try to be helpful. It’s all very general however and I can hear in your post your struggles.

    No, masturbation or any sin will not condemn anyone to hell because Jesus took all them with him to the cross and overcame them – we can’t ‘work’ our way to heaven. Thank God for that, otherwise it will be just the Father, Son, HS, Mary, Joseph and the few saints in heaven. the rest of us will be over heating down below somewhere.

    My brother’s argument jumps in my of why bother with confession if you’re only going to sin the same again but God’s grace still works (helpful to find a switched on priest to confess to). He knows your struggles and loves you ‘just the same and understand’s. If he didn’t then I’m screwed too and I don’t believe that.

    I’m sorry my ramblings probably aren’t helpful, but there’s probably a whole group of people glad that you’re brave enough to share your struggles.

    I know no one who is not a sinner (for as long as there is free will there will be sin – and more importantly love) and in need of JC’s love and mercy and I just want to encourage you in your faith walk.

    Helene

    Perhaps I can only succeed with Bromide tablets and cold showers, but how would that earn me a place in Heaven.

    If you have achieved mastery of your ‘animal instinct’ as you call it and are single and celibate and chaste then; “Very well done”. If, like most men, you are still a sinner then you are not really qualified to lecture us on ‘lust’!

  16. Mark-687718 December 30, 2013

    With all respect to the author and other commenters, I feel the need to add my two cents. I’m sure all would agree that an obsession with sex is unhealthy. But I contend that an obsession with suppressing and stifling one’s natural, innate sexual urges is perhaps equally unhealthy and can lead to big problems down the road in terms of acting out, mental stability issues, etc. Don’t misunderstand me, I am condoning giving in to our every whim, and I agree with the suggestions for ways to relieve the tension in a positive way. I disagree with villianizing masturbation as “the devil’s work.” Even if you want to disregard the opinion of modern medicine that it is totally normal and actually provides health benefits, at the very least, can we all agree that if it stops someone from commiting fornication or adultery or worse, it is certainly the lesser of the evils? If you want to see the devil’s work, just turn on the evening news and see the awful, horrible things that people do to eachother every day. Clearly there is no comparison. I think we as Christians need to focus more on the big picture, that we need to love one another and find ways to make our world a better place and stop sweating the small stuff. Again, I’m not telling anyone what to do or not do, just giving my opinion here.

    • Mark-687718 December 30, 2013

      Oops! Please forgive the typo on the fourth line of my post, that of course should have read “I am NOT condoning giving in to our every whim…”

    • William-607613 December 30, 2013

      But masturbation is a mortal sin.

      And we have no idea what it might stop, but we know that committing a mortal sin is death to the soul; we no longer enjoy God’s friendship.

      Without His friendship of course, there is no limit to the terrible things we might do.

      • Dominic-981542 January 1, 2014

        Who told you masturbation is a mortal sin , I think most people dont understand the true nature of sin . . & please dont quote from the Bible because every one has noting but opinions with there interpretations of it

        • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

          Actually, if an action is defined as a sinful, and a person chooses to do it of their own free will, it is considered a Mortal sin as per the catechism. What should be the discussion, is doing it of their free will.

  17. Paul-929810 December 30, 2013

    Paul again!
    I thought it might get some response but I can only be real and truthful about me and my life. I have survived 3 heart attacks but I can not put that down to God answering prayers – either it was not time for me yet to die or the surgeons were very talented (OK so God created them I do not doubt that)
    And I have been using weekly confessions at the suggestion of my Parish Priest and confessor for well over a year, and although I’m 65 and retired and divorced for 20 years I too enjoyed a healthy ;love life;’ AND note that I said love life and not ‘sex life’ as the two are very different, and whilst at boarding school for 8 years throughout my teenage years I was forced to do enormous amounts of physical activity and sport and daily cold showers – it was run by the Irish Christian Brothers and you only have to Google them to see just how wicked they were. That never worked for me, nor for the three hundred or so other boys encarcerated within either.
    I have heard far too many times that old adage that “God always answers prayers but not necessarily in the way that we want” – I say that’s too easy a cop out and even go as far as to rubbish it. IN MY EXPERIENCE God has never answered my prayers nor taken away this terribly powerful urge for sexual relief. All you ‘work out’ proponents – just imagine that you had done three hours on a treadmill and wound down only to be told that if you drank anything – anything at all – it would be a terrible sin!
    Well thirst and hunger are God given feelings to ensure that we do not starve to death. We all know just how that can run away – look at the public image of The American! The sin of gluttony is very apparent – there’s even a very hard line blogger priest who carries considerably more weight than is healthy – but that aside we are back to LUST and just how damaging that can be to any of us in real life.

    Also remember that Jesus used a spoken pattern that is known as Aramaic Hyperbole. “If your eye should offend you – pluck it out” He did not expect that it would be taken literally but the essence is the truth – and so with lust and gluttony and any other sin that offends God’s Goodness.

    Many who condemn men like myself who struggle with sexual purity and give way to a terrible urge, not to lust over any person or image, but simply for release from tension that seems beyond the understanding of just a few very vocal critics – well please remember that last workout that you used to avoid “The sin of Onan” (which by the way, was not so much as spilling his seed on the ground as deliberately not impregnating the widow of his brother as was required by the old law – and also remember the poor man who was stoned to death simply for collecting firewood on the Sabbath!) and just try not drinking anything at all for the next twenty years. Try praying that God would take away this feeling of thirst and see what happens – you would be dead within a few days – guaranteed!

    I prayed that God would save my marriage – it failed
    I prayed that my father’s mental health would be cured – he killed himself
    I prayed for the welfare of many – they all died horrible deaths
    The whole Church prays for the alleviation of suffering – the suffering increases at an alarming rate.

    Perhaps God has answered your prayers – well that really is a good thing and I don’t covet that, nor do I condemn anyone for that – it is very good fortune. But I see no evidence of it.

    And I agree that Lust is bad and greed is bad and violent rage is bad and rape is bad and disrespect is bad and any number of other sins are bad and go against God’s Law – but is masturbation really that bad? I’m certain that I don’t know the answer to that one – sure it’s not truly complying with God’s Law to go forth and multiply, but when a man, with ALL the urges and wants of being human entails (and a woman too), then I have to avoid the temptation to do something even worse. Some men are driven to rape – there must be an urge to do that and it’s truly terrible and beyond my understanding – somewhere in their childhood they were screwed up or possibly signed a pact with satan.

    I have given home to a step daughter, abandoned by both her parents, and she’s now 23 and has lived with me since she was 8 years old. She is safe here – I am 100% certain that she, even as a young attractive woman, is perfectly safe here with me. And one of the reasons for that continued safety is that I am not building up any ‘unhealthy’ pressures or tensions deep inside that might erupt, as is so often reported in the media.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

    Best wishes, Paul

  18. Mike-699521 December 30, 2013

    St Augustine struggled with the issue, and so must we. It’s as old as the Christian hills. While the author is on to something in terms of the nature of lust, as others have said, the obsession with repression can become its own prison.

    Respect yourself, and respect those around you. It’ll all flow from that.

  19. Nick F. December 30, 2013

    Great article … you have a bad link on the Pure of Heart CD – just add an l to the end of the URL.
    html not htm http://shop.catholic.com/pure-of-heart-breaking-free-from-porn.html

  20. Douglas-984666 December 30, 2013

    Ah yes, masturbation. The sin we love to hate. I would also like to add that smoking cigarettes can also tame the sex drive. So next time, if ye burn with lust, light ye up a cigarette.

  21. Douglas-984666 December 30, 2013

    Okay, there goes my sense of humor again. Yes, smoking can alleviate sexual urges, but only for a short time. Plus, with all the added health risks, I wouldn’t recommend it. At least in my experience, I’ve never been at a point where I was doing perfectly fine one minute, and then jerking off the next minute. It always follows a predictable pattern: I’m bored; in my boredom, I seek excitement / stimulation; once excited and stimulated, I seek release; once I have achieved release, then I feel guilty; when I feel guilty, then I seek cleansing and restoration in the sacrament of confession. Then I’m okay for a while until the cycle starts again. Best to avoid reaching stage 1. The earlier in the cycle you catch yourself, the easier it is to remedy the situation.

    Also, Paul, I agree with you and personally, I do NOT believe in the power of petitionary prayer. I attend Mass, I recite the Divine Office, and sometimes pray the Rosary. However, petitionary prayer is a placebo and nothing more. I swallowed the red pill two years ago, and I am now much better off. The time I wasted begging God for favors (which were never granted, and, in fact, backfired) I then redirected toward productive spiritual activity (such as the Divine Office and the official prayer of the Church).

  22. Marina-1024960 December 30, 2013

    I am a little concerned by this article. Unfortunately, the very good subject of the difference between lust and love is getting short shrift because this author seems to be reacting obsessively. Some of his ideation is a concern; I suspect that addiction to something may be a problem for this writer. What concerns me also is the reference to “immodest women” and fasting on bread and water!!
    There is a fine line between “lust” and the naturalness of sexual attraction between people. We all walk it and of course the devil makes use of it as a means to trick us; this is what he does, folks, on any subject. If we were not attracted to each other, our species would end. People go wrong in not respecting this powerful natural process and other people in relation to it. The writer makes us all sound as if our every thought or action is an unchaste and adulterous deviancy and denigrates, in my opinion, that attraction between us that is also a gift from God. And, by the way, animals engage in mating activity as a result of instincts, given to them by God. Part of this instictive activity is the deliberate attempt at attracting the mate. There is nothing base about it. We are also given instincts, which we are supposed to respect and use wisely for all cases, not just sexuality. They are not ‘sub-human.”
    Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions. If you can’t control yourself and react with lust to everything and everyone you meet, please don’t go outside of your house. If you lack control, there are many educational opportunities to correct this lack, prayer to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment not withstanding. Not so very long ago men blamed their own erotic dreams on women (mostly those who were objects of unrequited desire), who were then often condemned without recourse by “authorities” and punished or worse on their say-so. “Immodesty” can often be in the eye of a skewed beholder – consider the astonishingly stupid restricitons men place on women (but not on themselves) in the name of “modesty” in many middle-Eastern countries. Power, entitlement, desire to control, and irresponsibility have everything to do with it; concern about immodesty is a sanctimonious excuse for those behaviors. One of my prayers is that THAT mind-set NEVER comes to this land.
    Women are not “princesses” but the same kind of beings that men are. – a belief that they are not is the true objectification of women. The dichotomy of thought about and behavior toward women has been the basis for the enslavement of women for millennia. Do you actually think slavery is a good thing, indicative of the “true love” of an enslaver? The slave certainly does not.
    I don’t believe that the kind of punitive fasting this person is recommending is healthy or efficacious for controlling inappropriate desires or for any other purpose- we are enjoined to care for our bodies, not abuse them. Depriving them nutritionally for self-punishment is NOT care. The natural self-preservation mechanism that prompts us to eat has nothing to do with addiction, nor is it some kind of “indulgence. ” Addiction is an illness requiring medical care; indulgence is a choice and has no relevance to the addicted, who are compelled.
    I also would question where some of the other ideas presented by the writer come from. I suggest this; this person should discuss scrupulosity with his confessor and hear how reason, mature faith and thinking, and charity can overcome this dangerous attitude. Scrupulosity in the form of Jantzensim was actually condemned as heresy by the Church! The author’s references to addiction and misrepresentation of some of those things that make us rational souls in human form (again, decreed by God) seem to indicate either immaturity or disorder. These are often the kinds of things extreme fundamentalists preach ( for others; they themselves seem to be exempt)- NOT what post-Vatican II Catholicism is about.

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      Marina, I would like to commend you on your post. Not only are you a ” true” feminist in the original meaning of the word , but you are very insightful in your analysis of the psychology of this article. Relating all that to the doctrines of the church made it a pleasure to read. Thank you.

  23. Daniel-755767 December 31, 2013

    Paul, if I could respond to your posts…. Thankfully though the Church gives us the sacraments that can lead us back to life. Chastity is not easy to live, but is the only way to live freely. Yes, the Church has continually taught that lust and masturbation are deadly sins, which do lead to hell unless repented. Finding a wise spiritual director or priest, going to a 12-step program, and getting the help of friends to be accountable are all helpful, whatever the addiction or struggle a person may be dealing with.

    I’m also sorry you have not had any consolation in prayer, and for the many difficulties you had in life. Often God does not answer us in the direct way we want. Like a previous poster, I think of St. Monica, who prayed for St. Augustine, her son, for 10 years before her prayers were answered. She had years of anguish in unanswered prayers. Also, the Virgin Mary had to endure the suffering of her son on the Cross, which is unbearable for any Mother to bear. This life will not be easy, but we can turn to Mary and the Saints for their help. Mary, having lived through Jesus’ death, understands pain and indeed knows how to intercede for us to Jesus. Saying the rosary, or trying different forms of prayer – contemplative and imaginative, as well as intercessory may be helpful. The Carmelites and Jesuits are good examples of contemplative and imaginative prayer. See the writings of St. John of the Cross or the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for examples.

    Sadly everyone we love will pass away. But we can pray for them and ultimately our goal is to help them attain their eternal salvation. And you can pray for those you love both living and deceased now, to help them out of purgatory and into heaven.

    As to the others who for whatever reason attack the author – his motives and personal character are not open for discussion. Honestly, each point in the above article could fill another article on their own. He rightly points out what is sin, and what the attitude to have is – an attitude of love, of concern for others, of selflessness. I’d also agree that yes, some women do dress immodestly, and yes, fasting works. The tried and true disciplines of the last 2000 years shouldn’t be thrown out too quickly with our ‘modern times.’

    Lastly, everyone is a sinner, and as Christians we are right to point out what is and what is not sin, for the encouragement and correction of each other (ultimately to help each other get to heaven). But this all requires charity, as things are worthwhile only when done out of love and for the good of others.

  24. Paul-929810 December 31, 2013

    Daniel,
    Thank you for that but you do sound a little like my old head master who, when he used to beat us with his purpose made leather strap, used to say: “this is for your own good – and it’s going to hurt me more than it hurts you!” Then I would see that sadistic glint in his eye. He used to make us pull down our trousers and underpants so that he could beat us on the bare buttocks and for one or two he used to ‘rub it better’

    Now that is true lust – for him that is – it was a lust filled perversion, and of course the Irish Christian Brothers were founded on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola. So that won’t wash.

    Not surprisingly I had a problem with alcohol and through The Twelve Steps have been sober for over 27 years so, please, you are preaching to the converted – however in this area, as with many, SA is filled with weirdos and far from any ideal that Bill Wilson might have conceived.

    And, yes, I’m being defensive that is true, but I had 7 years primary education by the nuns of the order of LSU, who educated by fear of death and Hell for all eternity and our need to ‘earn’ the Love of God, and then 8 years, boarding, with the ICBs who were even more specific especially around the sixth and ninth commandments and the notion that masturbation is the worst sin in the whole world, when their counterparts back in Ireland were abusing children and blowing up Protestants in an unholy way with their Lust for Supremacy.

    So in my book Lust for Power is much worse than my struggles with this sexual urge that God created man with.

    He made us as He designed us to be – every single part of us – strange too that circumcision can be so widespread when I see that as man knowing better than God and can not really get my head round this ‘post production modification’ that seems compulsory – did Abraham really hear God speak to him? For me, that’s just another sort of control designed, in part, to prevent masturbation, especially in an arid desert.

    The Catholic Church has defined, and still does, those sins that are classed as Mortal and thus, unless confession and absolution from a Priest in Good Standing is obtained before death, then Hell is the only option. Often it seems that the CC has ignored Jesus’ warnings to the Pharisies about their terrible hypocrisy, that they were sons of satan who was a liar and murderer from the first, and that they made laws to burden their people that they themselves did not keep = sounds a little like The Catholic Church to me at times!

    And yet, despite this, and despite all the well intentioned help and advice given even here in this forum, I am still a Catholic and still receive the sacraments and still try to live my life by all the rules and regulations made by the hierarchy. I still use the 40 days of lent, not for a bread and water diet, but a one bowl of soup and piece of bread only, so I don’t even challenge Bryan’s rather scrupulous command for self denial, but would certainly challenge any suggestion for self flagellation, which other zealots bizarrely promote.

    So, I still maintain my initial challenge that masturbation, self abuse in Catholic terminology, is not really up there with murder, theft, coveteousness, greed, lies, envy, lust and infidelity, but more to do with a loss of free choice, compounded by physiological drives, that would certainly fail to meet at least one of the three conditions for mortal sin, and we still seem to give The Priest more power even than Jesus who chose Tax Collectors and prostitutes as His close friends; who did He really condemn? Why, the priests and law makers of the day.

    It is God who forgives sin and the priest only by His authority. And only The Father has the power to judge.

    I will take my chance with His endless love and simply take the zealot’s words with a pinch of salt.

    Best wishes,
    Paul.

    • William-607613 December 31, 2013

      Paul,

      You can state what you want about which sins are deadly and which are not; however, you are not going to save your soul with your opinions, no matter how strong they may be.

      (And it’s not a priest or even Christ who condemns those who die without sanctifying grace; the damned condemn themselves.)

      The Rosary is an incredible armor against all kinds of temptations; I would suggest you pray it EVERY day.

      • Dominic-981542 January 1, 2014

        Really William . . are you not stating your own opinions . . you already made a statement masturbation is a mortal sin . . But you really dont know that . . so why make such a claim .
        No matter how many books you read , its not going to give you wisdom but your own opinions no matter how strong they are.
        The Rosary is a great help but much more is required to prevent weakness taking over .

  25. Paul-929810 December 31, 2013

    Oh! Just as an afterthought, Marina, you may well have hit on something.

    Over here we had a Cardinal for Scotland and he was always very vocal against homosexuality and would make a point of condemning it at every opportunity……….. surprise, surprise, despite his denials and calling his accusers liars and opportunists, he finally admitted acts with other priests that certainly were not any form of Apostolic Tradition! He was sacked by the Pope. Truth will out!

    Shakespear had it well sussed when he propounded: “Me thinks the Lady doth too much protest her innocence”.

    Now I’m not suggesting anything untoward here, but the original article was certainly reminiscent of some very odd and singularly condemning writings that were very much a part of my indoctrination from the nineteen fifties.

    Best wishes, Paul

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      I like Paul cause he’s keeping this discussion real. No softeners, no prayer platitudes. Real. Real struggle. Real pain. Real questioning. Often when I have these same thoughts I have to turn all the way back to the doctors of the church to get any real answers. It’s sad that dead people seem to understand me better than living breathing Catholics. :(

  26. Paul-929810 December 31, 2013

    William,
    that sounds very much like a severe judgement from you and a threat that I am Hell bent.
    It’s not my opinions but Catholic theology of what constitutes Mortal Sin: “Grave matter, full knowledge and full consent” So to simply say that masturbation IS a Mortal Sin is way too simplistic. Lust, in all it’s forms COULD lead to serious sin, but it too depends upon the mindset of the sinner.
    How can any of us know if we are compliant with any one of these conditions yet alone all three!
    God will judge us – that’s Biblically accurate and Theologically correct, and I certainly never implied that a Priest has any authority to condemn, but some do!, I said that Jesus condemned those who made the Law at that time.
    Moses decreed that Divorce and remarriage was very much OK; Jesus excused it because the hearts of the Chosen Race were hard and difficult to teach. But He said that it was not like that at the beginning. How can you round that square hole? Have our hearts changed that much since then?

    Only God knows the workings of my heart and, William, what makes you think that I don’t pray the Rosary every day already – you assume rather too much about me and there’s a judgmental flavour there too.
    Paul

  27. Dominic-981542 January 1, 2014

    Byran , you sound like a smart person & you are sharing your understanding of lust & experiences and i guess in every body’s reply’s they are doing the same . .

    With all the opinions on mortal sin i would like to see how resemble when share truth with you .

    First God did not make us with our urges or the way we are . . remember man fell from the dignity God first gave us .
    Next . . sex is original sin . its because of sex we decay & die . . It was not apart of Gods plan .
    Its not masturbation that is a mortal sin . . Its ignorant to say people will go to hell because of it . . the sin of it is to love it . . When you look at rape because he didn’t want to masturbate . . really . . I tell you none of you really have any idea about the complications of life . . let God be the judge who will go to hell & for what because we have no idea . . and don’t read the Bible if you think your interpretations is gospel . . men have done a lot of damage to others because they independently claim the Bible’s word.

  28. Douglas-984666 January 1, 2014

    Dominic, can you clarify what you meant by “sex is original sin?”

    • Dominic-981542 January 3, 2014

      Yes I can Douglas . . But is it worth it ?

    • Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

      No he can’t. It’s not in the catechism. Nor bible, nor any other accepted form of Christianity outside of Catholicism. But I’d love to see him try! ;)

  29. David-988296 January 1, 2014

    Lust is pure selfishness. It turns us inward, making it difficult to give and receive love. We are then not open to others or to God. We then are unable to discern God’s love in our life, which is what we need to overcome sin.

  30. Paul-929810 January 2, 2014

    OK, so we have gone off track somewhat and I have probably not helped in that respect. It’s all too easy to concentrate on the sexual aspect of lust, but the Greek translation in Matthew;s Gospel would be more accurately translated simply as ‘desire’ (If any man looks on a woman with desire………..already committed adultery with her……)
    Lust is also very much associated with overwhelming desires for power and control, and rather than concentrate on the sixth commandment we should also see how it relates to the ninth AND the tenth as well.

    With any hierarchical society such as our established ‘democratic’ order, and certainly The Church there will always be a terrible desire for a place at the ‘Top Table’. Jesus warned His Apostles about it more than once, and it is this LUST for supremacy either in a marriage or in The Catholic Church that is so destructive and any love for others is not possible simply because of this overwhelming compulsion for dominance. It can even be seen in football, stage and films and certainly within Government.

    Priests will want to become Bishops, Bishops will want to become Cardinals and Cardinals will want to become Pope. I hope that, for most, it will be a healthy and altruistic desire, one based on love and sacrifice but no doubt there are just a few who will be driven by LUST – Lust for supremacy and success.

    So it’s certainly not just limited to the sexual aspect of love that this applies, and for those who condemn me and others for saying that masturbation has nothing whatsoever to do with LUST – well what on earth is it that’s going through your heads for you to come to that conclusion – your judgement can only be based on personal experience and perhaps you have more to fear around your own purity of heart than I do.

    And perhaps there is also a LUST in your heart to always be ‘right’, to need to show me just how much a sinner I really am, to have the ‘last word’ as it were! Perhaps there’s a lust there for intellectual and religious superiority?
    Just a thought!

  31. Bryan M. January 2, 2014

    Of course, a different form of lust can be associated with “desires for power and control,” but that is not what Jesus is speaking of in Mt. 5 when he teaches about the grave sinfulness of lust, nor are they on the same playing field. Sexual lust is always and everywhere disordered, even in masturbation, which we are called to rid from our lives. This is not my teaching but the teaching of our Catholic Church.

    And, unlike some, I am not just giving my own personal, subjective opinion. Anyone who doubts what I’m saying can read the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 6 on the “Sixth Commandment” (paragraphs 2331-2400). It’s black and white.

    The Catechism is clear that fornication (sex before marriage), masturbation, pornography, and many other sins are considered lustful and are against the virtue of chastity and love. The overtly clear context of what Jesus is speaking of in Matthew 5:27-30 regarding lust is sexual lust, and it is an intrinsic evil. THIS is the teaching of the Catholic Church, and no private or subjective opinion can change that.

    This is what Pope Benedict taught, Pope John Paul II taught (especially is his “Theology of the Body,” & “Love and Responsibility” among others, what Pope Paul VI taught, and what the constant teaching of the Catholic Church has been. PJP II caught some flack (even though he was right… of course) when he stated a man cannot lust over his wife even within marriage. I would recommend reading the catechism and PJP II for anyone interested in understanding the beauty and power of true love and how lust only and always hijacks that.

    Anyone may also consult the official Catholic Encyclopedia, the other Catholic Encyclopedias, and virtually any Catholic commentary on the subject. There really is no argument here or wiggle room. Jesus is referring to sexual lust, and lust is always sinful because it is contrary and opposed to true love. Now, lust, as someone stated is certainly different than attraction, but I already have another whole blog dedicated to that coming soon.

    (As a side last side point regarding masturbation, Paul states; “And for those who condemn me and others for saying that masturbation has nothing whatsoever to do with LUST well what on earth is it that’s going through your heads for you to come to that conclusion?” — In kindness and humility, I tell Paul that I am not condemning him in any way, but what draws us to our conclusion is the teaching of our Catholic faith, and there can be no justification for masturbation. Yes, it is a sin that takes a long time to conquer, and we must be patient with ourselves, as PJPII states, but victory is possible through Christ!

    At the same time, we can’t call wrong right. Masturbation is wrong. The Catechism states, “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” It goes on to say that masturbation is against the design of sexuality that God intended and therefore is disordered. This is the teaching of the Church, 2000+ years of tradition, and for a good reason.

    • William-623867 January 3, 2014

      Wow! That really got intense! I’m sorry, but I can smell anti-Catholic sentiment disguised as debate anywhere. My thinking on the “lust” conversation is that first, it is not just a “male” issue. It effects all human kind. The real deception(from the Devil) is the “act” of masturbation as it becomes the norm. Watch “fireproof” and see what lust and selfishness can do to a relationship. I don’t think masturbation is a mortal sin, until it become the norm replaced by what god intended the actual love act to be, I’m all for “replacement behaviors” that are healthy alternatives to the negative habits/obsessions that we all develop. There are numerous healthy alternatives, and some were offered above in real Christian love, but trivialized for the sake of an agenda. That’s too bad!!

  32. Francis C. January 6, 2014

    Nine times out of ten, if you’re having a problem controlling your lusts/passions (and we all experience them in one form or another at one time or another) you’re lacking something (or a balance) in your inner life. That’s been my experience. The more I’ve let my spirit mind rule my life, the more manageable my passions and lusts have become – and I’m not speaking only of sexual lusts. God bless everyone with these struggles!

  33. Rose-1050006 January 13, 2014

    Good reviews for a great article!!

    Thanks.

  34. Bill-304473 March 4, 2014

    After just thinking of the opposite sex, sexually, I know I’ve sinned. I’ve a question of differing between love and lust. When one meets a person, via Catholic Match for instance and enjoys their company, not for anything sexual, is he still comitting a sin in that he wants to please himself? For instance, a man can enjoy someone’s flirting and not think of anything sexual. He enjoys talking to the person and feels someone is interested in him. Is striving to see the person for his own gratification be something sinful? According to the article it would and I don’t agree.

  35. Bill-304473 March 4, 2014

    Having just written, you can see my #1 passion is bicycling. I’ll find myself differentiating between approaching a woman for my pleasure in a lustful way or simply looking for another serious bicycle rider. When I go through CatholicMatch, one of the first things I look for is the person’s interest in bicycling . I would enjoy the opposite sex; but, would keep away from sexual actions.

  36. Curtis-1032804 March 30, 2014

    I once asked a wise man what the difference between lust and attraction was. He said that lust is when you no longer see the person as a whole person, only as an object. I still like that definition.

  37. Patrick-341178 June 9, 2014

    Although celibacy can certainly be a challenge for women, I think it is almost impossible for most women to truly understand how incredibly difficult celibacy is for men. Every man’s sex drive is a little bit different and yes, it is true, that staying physically active, praying, attempting to stay pure in mind and body can help keep that drive at bay. However, a married man is “allowed” a release in a way that single men are not. If a release does not occur, a man’s body has a way of correcting that, through nocturnal release in the case of many men. Is that really much better than masturbation? That is something that I myself have always had a hard time truly understanding.

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