Discernment & a porn/masturbation addiction


#1

Hi all!

Ever since I could remember I always considered a vocation to the priesthood. In fact, many in my family always said I would be a priest (as well as a couple priests and sisters). I go through phases of preferring the priesthood and married life. I want to start really discerning my call. The one problem is that I have had a pornography and masturbation addiction since the 7th grade and I am now a freshman in college. Honestly, I want to stop, but it is difficult. The most I could go without masturbating is a week it seems like. My body caves in. I feel like St. Paul,"I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate."

I am hoping to work within my next few years of college to kick the habit however, I want to do it now. I want to be rid of it as soon as possible.

Will this effect my chances of joining the priesthood? I want to stop so that I can fully and better discern my vocation.

God bless you all.


#2

Hello, Vacation92.

I will pray for you.

If you are truly serious about changing your life you must begin by humbling yourself and praying to do God's will each day in your life.

Speak with a priest for spiritual direction. If the priest cannot not direct you spiritually himself, he will most likely recommend another priest who will be more able to help you.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke Him we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God cast into hell, Satan, and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ hold you within His Sacred Wounds.

God bless,
~Rae


#3

Praying to do God's will in my life every day, along with Holy Hours and time in prayer every day, has been the difference in my life. That, and keeping busy. I have never been addicted to porn, but I have had a problem with masturbation, and it always seemed like it was impossible to stop. However, this semester, I really cracked down on my prayer and praying for purity and building my relationship with Christ, and imploring the Blessed Virgin to keep me pure, and I have now gone 3 1/2 months without masturbating, which is the most by 1 1/2 months, ever since I started doing it almost 10 years ago in 4th grade. I'm finally being cautiously optimistic in terms of calling it a thing of the past, while still praying to remain pure and chaste.

My point is, it is possible, so do not give up! Prayer is such a powerful tool, so make sure you use it. Make sure you try to get a priest or someone to be your spiritual director to discuss things like these with - that will also help make you more accountable for your actions, providing you be completely honest with him.

So, go for it! Begin discerning in earnest, and build a relationship with Our Lord by visiting Him in the Blessed Sacrament and/or if possible, spending time in front of Him in Adoration. Just as a point to keep in mind, while it is not necessary that you have completely overcome porn and masturbation to enter seminary, you will likely have to show that you are well on your way to overcoming them.

I'll pray for you! Good luck!


#4

Until you can kick this evil addiction for good, you will not be considered for the priesthood and frankly, you are not a good choice for a husband either. I'm sure you are a great guy, with many fine qualities, but this habit puts your focus on yourself, something that cannot be done as a good and holy priest or a loving and selfless husband. There is help out there and you are not alone, don't ever quit trying or praying for strength and guidence from the Holy Spirit. You can kick this habit and have the life you are ment to have, but there is A LOT of hard work ahead of you. You can do it and we will be praying for you.


#5

[quote="Catholic1954, post:4, topic:265967"]
Until you can kick this evil addiction for good, you will not be considered for the priesthood and frankly, you are not a good choice for a husband either. I'm sure you are a great guy, with many fine qualities, but this habit puts your focus on yourself, something that cannot be done as a good and holy priest or a loving and selfless husband. There is help out there and you are not alone, don't ever quit trying or praying for strength and guidence from the Holy Spirit. You can kick this habit and have the life you are ment to have, but there is A LOT of hard work ahead of you. You can do it and we will be praying for you.

[/quote]

As one who has been freed from a 33 year porn addiction by the Grace of God through confession, going on four years of freedom now, I have to agree with this post. I think you have to remove habitual sin from your own life and get right with God before you can bring others to God. The sick can't cure the sick.

For me, it was and is about loving myself more than God. I loved God, but I loved myself more. Only when I loved God more than myself was I willing to put him first and willing to endure the pain of withdrawal, given the strength I should say, of endurance through the extreme temptation and physical desire. For me, sin is always self love.

But it can be done. Keep asking God for help, and confess, confess, confess... It takes tremendous patience.

-Tim-


#6

Well, consider limiting your computer usage to public areas. Unless you've completely lost your mind, being in the public eye should curb the habit.

My personal belief on the matter is that it'd be pretty hard to justify the priesthood, or any vocation for that matter, if you're continuously in a state of mortal sin. Masturbation, an addiction to pornography... these are morally sinful. Remember also that, when conscious of mortal sin, one must seek absolution as soon as humanly possible, and that one cannot receive the Eucharist in such a state.


#7

I'm actually discerning my call to sisterhood, and have the same problem. You most certainly won't change over night. But something that has helps me whenever a dirty thought tries to come into your mind, pray a few "Hail Mary"s and focus on God. Start getting into the habit of listening to more Christian music, and spending more time devoted to God and Prayer.

I hope that might have helped a bit :)

Bianca


#8

You cannot become a priest while still being a slave to sin. I am not talking about being a sinner. We are all sinners. But being a slave to sin (having vices) will keep you from being a good priest. You must kick the habit before you can jump into holy orders.

You will be in my prayers,
Joshua


#9

The New Testament says its better to marry than to be consumed with lust.


#10

Let me tell you from as a person who knows and has asked the vocation director and the Rector of the Seminary about the subject.

You can be accepted to seminary, but you need to try to overcome it.

Facts are facts that most teenaged men have probably have had this problem before.

Go to confession every week until you can get it under control, that's just my suggestion.

You need to be honest about it though when speaking to the Vocation Director. But I really doubt that you wouldn't be accepted.

Even some seminarians have this problem.

You will be in my prayers


#11

[quote="DarrenOglesby, post:10, topic:265967"]
Let me tell you from as a person who knows and has asked the vocation director and the Rector of the Seminary about the subject.

You can be accepted to seminary, but you need to try to overcome it.

Facts are facts that most teenaged men have probably have had this problem before.

Go to confession every week until you can get it under control, that's just my suggestion.

You need to be honest about it though when speaking to the Vocation Director. But I really doubt that you wouldn't be accepted.

Even some seminarians have this problem.

You will be in my prayers

[/quote]

:yup:


#12

[quote="joshvanrad, post:8, topic:265967"]
You cannot become a priest while still being a slave to sin. I am not talking about being a sinner. We are all sinners. But being a slave to sin (having vices) will keep you from being a good priest. You must kick the habit before you can jump into holy orders.

You will be in my prayers,
Joshua

[/quote]

:yup: Pray rosaries every day. It's very difficult to...do that...after praying rosaries. We are all sinners. Just be honest with the right people and find support.


#13

[quote="Nom_the_Wise, post:12, topic:265967"]
:yup: Pray rosaries every day. It's very difficult to...do that...after praying rosaries. We are all sinners. Just be honest with the right people and find support.

[/quote]

The term I was actually looking to say was "attachment to sin". As a priest you should be free from "attachment to sin". All sins make us a slave, but to be attached to a sin is a larger issue. You must be free of vices.


#14

Fasting helps. And when your stomach growls, it's a "reminder" of what you are trying to overcome and why. Try a 3 day bread and water fast. Of course, you must consider your health and if you have any medical issues then speak with a medical professional.


#15

[quote="joshvanrad, post:13, topic:265967"]
The term I was actually looking to say was "attachment to sin". As a priest you should be free from "attachment to sin". All sins make us a slave, but to be attached to a sin is a larger issue. You must be free of vices.

[/quote]

Absolutely. I was lazy yesterday by just reposting your and DarrenOglesby's posts. I don't think I was calling you out on anything. I was a seminarian years ago (didn't get ordained) and I'm keenly aware of the piety that is gripping vacation92. Going into the seminary you expect everyone to be a little bit "holier than thou." You actually have the expectation and it's not always met. I won't go into scandalous details or anything, but of course priests are human.

One of my classmates had an absolute attachment to stuffed animals and Star Trek (he had models of the Enterprise and I think at least one klingon ship hanging from his ceiling). He went on to be ordained. Another classmate was offered pot the day after we had all unpacked, and that guy (the pot smoker) went on to be ordained, but I have it on good authority that he doesn't smoke pot anymore. And the priests at our seminary always lamented that the #1 thing they heard in confession was about masturbation. I don't say they lamented it in terms of not taking it seriously, but it is a very common sin and the easy accessability to porn on-line doesn't help at all. Here in CAF there is always an active thread about masturbation, usually more than one running at a time.

I think what needs to be said is that sex was recently (within the last 10 years at least) elevated on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is a very human thing to do. The focus of seminary formations is to teach men how to achieve **personal **intimacy in healthy relationships especially for those discerning a celibate vocation. I'm married now, but sexual expression in marriage is never quite as...consistent as one would hope :blush: so even in marriage, managing one's appetites is still on the itinerary as it were.

I wish that CAF would post something like what I'm saying as a "sticky thread" on Moral Theology. A kind of official acknowledgement that masturbation is so common of a struggle for many and a disciplined prayer life is truly the only defense against it, coupled with healthy friendships with plenty of platonic hugs. :)


#16

[quote="Nom_the_Wise, post:15, topic:265967"]
Absolutely. I was lazy yesterday by just reposting your and DarrenOglesby's posts. I don't think I was calling you out on anything. I was a seminarian years ago (didn't get ordained) and I'm keenly aware of the piety that is gripping vacation92. Going into the seminary you expect everyone to be a little bit "holier than thou." You actually have the expectation and it's not always met. I won't go into scandalous details or anything, but of course priests are human.

One of my classmates had an absolute attachment to stuffed animals and Star Trek (he had models of the Enterprise and I think at least one klingon ship hanging from his ceiling). He went on to be ordained. Another classmate was offered pot the day after we had all unpacked, and that guy (the pot smoker) went on to be ordained, but I have it on good authority that he doesn't smoke pot anymore. And the priests at our seminary always lamented that the #1 thing they heard in confession was about masturbation. I don't say they lamented it in terms of not taking it seriously, but it is a very common sin and the easy accessability to porn on-line doesn't help at all. Here in CAF there is always an active thread about masturbation, usually more than one running at a time.

I think what needs to be said is that sex was recently (within the last 10 years at least) elevated on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is a very human thing to do. The focus of seminary formations is to teach men how to achieve **personal **intimacy in healthy relationships especially for those discerning a celibate vocation. I'm married now, but sexual expression in marriage is never quite as...consistent as one would hope :blush: so even in marriage, managing one's appetites is still on the itinerary as it were.

I wish that CAF would post something like what I'm saying as a "sticky thread" on Moral Theology. A kind of official acknowledgement that masturbation is so common of a struggle for many and a disciplined prayer life is truly the only defense against it, coupled with healthy friendships with plenty of platonic hugs. :)

[/quote]

I completely agree. I have recently been speaking with a friend, who was once a seminarian, and we discussed chastity and self-mastery in depth.

In a world with lust all around us and sexual desires every corner you turn the only way to truly combat it is to master one's self through prayer. Chastity is more than just not looking at women and denying yourself the ability to appreciate beauty- that is not freedom from sin, it is running from it. Through prayer and self-discipline you can teach yourself how to truly be open to the appreciation of beauty and the opposite sex while still being chaste. I say, tell women they are beautiful and acknowledge that you are attracted to women. BUT, realize that there is an order in living a holy life and they are a child of God and not just an object of lust. Chastity is acknowledging the beauty that surrounds us while still keeping in mind that beauty is a gift given from God, and he wants us to respect that gift in a holy way.

God's blessings,
Joshua


#17

[quote="DasErlibnis, post:9, topic:265967"]
The New Testament says its better to marry than to be consumed with lust.

[/quote]

Someone with a porn addiction has no business getting married.

-Tim-


#18

Yea, I made a 3 day visit to the seminary in October. It was my observance that seminarians are usually not too Pius. It was nice, they took their faith serious, as well as their prayer time and chapel time.

But outside of that, they are normal people.

This was a college seminary so everyone was around my age 18-24 ish.

I talked to the rector a long time ago, and he hears it regularly in the confessional too.


#19

[quote="vacation92, post:1, topic:265967"]
Hi all!

Ever since I could remember I always considered a vocation to the priesthood. In fact, many in my family always said I would be a priest (as well as a couple priests and sisters). I go through phases of preferring the priesthood and married life. I want to start really discerning my call. The one problem is that I have had a pornography and masturbation addiction since the 7th grade and I am now a freshman in college. Honestly, I want to stop, but it is difficult. The most I could go without masturbating is a week it seems like. My body caves in. I feel like St. Paul,"I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate."

I am hoping to work within my next few years of college to kick the habit however, I want to do it now. I want to be rid of it as soon as possible.

Will this effect my chances of joining the priesthood? I want to stop so that I can fully and better discern my vocation.

God bless you all.

[/quote]

Also as you get older resisting these sins will get easier with changes in hormones.


#20

Someone further up the chain (Tim I believe?) said something about trying to appreciate human relationships. This is important!

First of all, you must certainly make sure you don't objectify other people - and this extends beyond sexual sin, but is particularly relavent to sexual sin. Whether we are looking at pictures of people or at people themselves, we must always see them as children of God. If you have a little sister or a niece of nephew, you could think about how people do (or one day will, when they grow up) objectify these loved ones of yours. Consider how that would make you feel, and realize that's how God feels when we objectify one of His dear children - yet He loves them far more than we could ever hope to loved our dear ones.

Another potential issue is the fact many young men who aren't dating tend to not communicate well with women and tend to not having meaningful relationships with women - and when they do can tend to err on the side of being too much "one of the girls" or too goofy - if you will excuse the phraseology. We don't have enough real men in our generation (being raised by a single mom for most of my life, I can certainly see this in myself and have tried to man-up and become more independent in a responsible way as I've grown...but I digress). My point is, going along with the first point, we must interact with people in a meaningful way and learn to see all people as God's children. If he have more meaningful relationships with people of the opposite gender, it can help to change our perception of that gender in general (young men or women who don't interact much with the opposite gender, like the stereotypical geek, tend to have unnaturally good or poor ideas about the opposite gender and tend to have difficulty in genuinely valuing its members - in my experience geeks have at least as much a masturbation problem as anyone else from other social groupings, and I believe this may be part of why that is).

Most importantly, give yourself up to Our Blessed Lady and to Saint Joseph, approaching Our Lord through them for the sake of purity and chastity. Our Lady is the paramount example within creation for those who struggle with sins of the flesh - she lights the way and if we abandon ourselves to her love, she will never lead us astray or let us down. Saint Joseph, as Our Lady's most chaste spouse, is also a great help in struggles against impurity. A particularly efficacious prayer reads:

Oh Guardian of Virgins and holy Father Saint Joseph, into who faithful keeping were entrusted Christ Jesus, Innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, I pray and beseech thee by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary, that, being preserved from all uncleanness, I may with spotless mind, pure heart, and caste body ever serve Jesus and Mary most chastely all the days of my life. Amen.

I found this prayer in "Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph," a little 73-page booklet I found at a local parish. It is published by Tan and I would strongly recommend it - I use that and a couple of other prayers from the booklet on a daily basis. It also has a number of litanies - really it has at least one thing for about every occasion, please check it out if you can find one at your parish (the parish where I found it have it on their book rack with a suggested $3.00 donation, though the book will pay for itself the first time you use it!)

I would also suggest you read "True Devotion to Mary" by Saint Louis de Montfort. A proper devotion to the Holy Mother of God is not something we can afford to dismiss, not worry about, or treat as trimming to our spiritual/prayer life. I recently read this book and it has increased my piety and strengthened me greatly - it has made my contrition for my sins and for my failings much more meaningful and since I have begun to strengthen my relationship with the Mother of God I have found myself able to better offer myself to Him in prayer and especially while assisting at Mass. Even if you do not read this book, be certain to improve your relationship with the Mother of Our Lord - next to God she is the greatest help or aid we can ever hope to find with regards to our salvation.

For this reason, as well as for its own particular efficaciousness, be certain to pray the Rosary regularly, daily if possible - and take it slow. If you finish your Rosary in 10-15 minutes, while you may gain something it is possible you are rushing past graces on the way to that final Sign of the Cross - allow yourself to pray slowly, confidently, and thoughtfully; allow yourself to offer through Mary yourself to Our Lord with the fullness of your capacity as a human. The Rosary isn't a race, it is a loving contemplation of what Our Lord has done for us - it can be difficult, especially at first, but work to not rush through the Rosary when you pray it.

Continued next post...


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