Am I lusting?


#1

Recently, I've gone to confession and have confessed the grave sin of lust. Since then I've been going to mass and recieving the Eucharist. Trying to stay pure has not been easy. Images and thoughts that are totally not coming from God, pop into my head constantly.Whenever that happens I usually offer it up to Jesus in union with his sufferings on Calvary and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. However lately I've been on the internet and have came across pictures of good looking celebrities, nothing filthy but just regular photos. I can't help but look at how good looking some of them are. The bad thing is that my eyes tend to wander to certain body parts. Is that lusting? Sometimes I admire some of those body parts but I don't think of anything perverted in my mind. If that's the case I block it out. I don't want to sound like a creep but I'm really confused. I'm trying to purify my soul and to live a life of holiness but it's so difficult! Thanks for any advise and God Bless!


#2

Yeah. It would be interesting to do a study on the most often confessed sins. Impossible, but interesting.

I am guessing “impure thoughts” has gotta be the most often confessed sin. It certainly is the one I confess the most!

Seems to me that if you are aware that the thoughts are improper, and are worried about it, then you have a healthy conscience. My approach would be to confess it next time and, in the meantime, if troubled, sit out communion. (Why is there an expectation that we must receive communion every time we attend Mass?)

I know what you mean about those body parts. Every time I try to practice modesty of the eyes, I look downward, reverently, into the pew in front of me, and find my self looking at…

Now I have to go wash my mouth out with soap! Again!

Seriously, though, sounds like you have it in perspective.


#3

Hmmm, those images and scenarios will always keep popping in your mind throughout your life, especially if lusting has been a great battle for you in the past years. It is Satan’s attempt to penetrate your greatest weakness. I’ve had similar problems with my eyes wandering and the only thing i can recommend is to either stop perusing pictures of attractive women or begin by simply not looking at anything below the neck. Think about the true beauty of the woman rather than body parts. Also, i have found that dedicating myself to the Rosary everyday (as hard as that may sound) is absolutely miraculous in keeping my mind set straight. And when that temptation arises, the Blessed Mother is always there to step on the serpent…

Good luck and God bless!


#4

The eyes will wander. The mind will wander. It is what you action you take in that situation that matters. It sounds like you are doing the right thing.

It is not lustful to admit to the beauty of things so long as your lust for them does not exceed your love for God. Think, if God created that beautiful person or this beautiful flower, how much greater must God’s beauty be? How much? If we were to suffer excruciatingly our entire lives on earth and got to gaze for an instant at God, it would be justifiable!


#5

I am attracted when I see the pictures. It's just I'm afraid when to classify the little bit of arousement that pops in my head as lust. But when it does pop in my head, I turn everything over to the Lord.


#6

Short answer - you are making progress. Yes it is difficult but don’t dispair.
I don’t think there is a man alive (I’m assuming you are male) whose eyes haven’t or don’t wander to “certain body parts”. It is a habit we all tend to fall into at an early age and even when we are not having impure thoughts, we find ourselves “looking anyway”.

You have determined your problem and are working on it. Keep up the fight. So long as you keep correcting yourself each time you become aware that you’re looking “there” or “thinking wrongly”, then you doing OK.

Peace
James


#7

I understand exactly what you're going through and its something I struggle with as well.

One the campus ministers at my school always says "The first look isn't sinful, but the next ones are." What he means is this: As men (like the last poster I'm assuming you're male, correct me if I'm wrong) we are naturally and psychologically drawn to certain body parts. For instance say you're walking down the road and see someone beautiful. Your eyes will naturally tend to wander towards certain body parts. At this point, once we realize what is happening, we know that it would be right to turn and avert our eyes. At that point, we should turn to God to help us to not stare, to be able to look at the other person as a daughter of God (which is what it sounds like you're doing)

Anyways, I want to encourage you to stay strong and to keep going. You sound like you're really taking great steps forward in your faith.


#8

Nicely said. :thumbsup:

I would only add that, as tme goes on we should try to adjust our focus to “other body parts” like the face and eyes. While even these can be sensually attractive, they are also more neutral, socially acceptable, and most importantly, the most spiritually uplifting.
The old saying, “the eyes are the window to the soul”, applies. By looking at a persons face and eyes we can more readily see who they “Really Are” instead of what they are.

Peace
James


#9

praying for you and for all of us


#10

Seeing and appreciating beauty carries no sin, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Our culture is full of sexual images and for the Catholic Christian it is a great Cross but one we must all endure.

Your mind will wander inadvertedly, but when you deliberately look for sensual pleasure then you commit sin.

Try not to constantly worry about this as you will lose your peace and see sin every time you see an attractive woman. When one comes into sight, thank God for the beauty of His creation and simply move on.

May our Holy Mother intercede for you before her Divine Son, and may you imitate her purity.


#11

[quote="stuart12, post:10, topic:181650"]
Seeing and appreciating beauty carries no sin, so don't beat yourself up about it. Our culture is full of sexual images and for the Catholic Christian it is a great Cross but one we must all endure.

Your mind will wander inadvertedly, but when you deliberately look for sensual pleasure then you commit sin.

Try not to constantly worry about this as you will lose your peace and see sin every time you see an attractive woman. When one comes into sight, thank God for the beauty of His creation and simply move on.

May our Holy Mother intercede for you before her Divine Son, and may you imitate her purity.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#12

If I was to (this may not be the best way to put it) "check out" somebody's behind, would that be lust? That has happened to me in the past but I didn't think of having sex with the person. I was just looking at a certain body feature. I tried to word this the most appropriate way that I could. Sorry if it offends anyone. I'm just looking for answers from God and hopefully the Holy Spirit works through one of you to give me a solid answer.


#13

Could looking at someone for the wrong reasons (their bodily features) which isn't lust, be by chance a venial sin?


#14

I think that you are hitting very close to the mark here. The issue with “innocent, but intentional looking” is certianly one of “near occasion” of sin.

Try to prayerfully consider WHY you look at these body features.
Certainly habit plays a part, but it is a habit that was developed in our more “sinful” past.
We have just developed the habit of looking at others in certain ways.
Now that we are learning to grow closer to God, we want to change our practices to bring them more in line with God’s will.
Even though you are getting a better handle on your though processes and now looking does not necessarily lead to lustful thoughts, it still remains a “bad” habit. (One that many of us still struggle with)
These things kind of all into what Theresa of Avila refers to as unintentional sin. That is, sins we commit out of habit, and occur before we realize it.
There are two things to consider about such habits.
One is that they are “sins” of the least culpible type. Many would say they are not sin at all since the will is not fully engaged in such “reactions”. However even though we can discuss the culpability aspect, the fact remains that we are acting in a way that is not “Godly”.
The second aspect is related to the above. Such behaviors are showing us areas where we still need some work. This behavior could signal an underlying “affection for sin” (in this case the sin of lust). That is where we do not want to sin, but still - kind of like to dabble a bit.

So I would look at your situation like this. God has given you the grace to reduce or stop the lustful thoughts. The next step is to kill the habit(s) that can lead to the lustful thoughts. Your doing great. Keep up the Good work. Remember that Salvation is a journey into God’s Love.

Peace
James


#15

I was at confession once and asked my priest if by chance an impure lustful thought pops into my head without me initiating it is it a sin and if not do I need to confess it...his answer which I thought was good was no its not a sin but it is good to confess it to show satan you will not tolerate them at all.


#16

I think that that is pretty good advise.

Peace
James


#17

Lots of great responses here, especially about taking a moment to pause and consider the true beauty of the woman rather than just her fleshly appeal, and to also consider that she is a Daughter of God - as well as, once upon a time, the daughter of human parents, someone's baby. That really goes a long way into injecting a sense of respect into the situation and reminding us to search for that person's dignity rather than degrade that person by using him or her as an object of entertainment.

I also like the call to regular confession, even of accidental thoughts, to show the devil that no sin will be tolerated. The battle must be fought with absolute resolve; the devil will not give way to us, and we, strengthened by the Lord, must respond in kind.


closed #18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.