Discernment and Lust

I’ve been discerning religious life for 3 years this Easter, since I had my first spiritual experience in a Catholic Church. My problem is this, despite the fact prior to that Easter I hadn’t masturbated for roughly half a year before then, and for a year and 2 months after(during my year in rcia and following conversion), I ended up having sexual relations with a girl(no sexual experience prior), I thought about marrying her(we were engaged, but that fell apart, thank God), despite her being non-catholic and huge problems. I really only wanted to try and have sex with her because I wanted to attempt amplexus reservatus(I know it’s heresy and condemn, I made a mistake), because of its white tantra implications(which miserably didn’t work out like I thought it would, though it was surprisingly easy to last hours and not orgasm, but I just didn’t feel the spiritual experiences that were promised by the occult writings I was into). We split up after a few months, and emotionally I was a wreck, I’ve been struggling with lust since it’s horrible I really wish I never did what I did, but I can’t take it back. I can go a month without doing anything to myself physically, but then it all falls apart, and I fail again.

How can I even begin to want to think about being a religious when I’m still having so many lustful thoughts? I can’t stop thinking about women’s ovaries!! The previous mentioned girl is now married and about 5 months pregnant and a relative is having a baby, 1 other girl I know is pregnant, and two others just had their second child. Why do I keep thinking about making babies? Why won’t God stop it even though I’ve repeatedly confessed, since my sexual experience with the girl on average 2 times a month? I pray about it constantly, but the motivation I had before for stopping was the idea that orgasm distinctly lead to to hell, so I strictly avoided it. Now I can’t seem to achieve that same fear in myself to stop and apparently I don’t love God enough or girls in my life to stop thinking horrible thoughts and pleasuring myself, thinking about them pregnant. :bighanky:

The priest who was at my parish assures me I’d make a wonderful priest, and he is very highly respected in my diocese, but I don’t see it because I am struggling with this so much. Should I try and talk to a therapist? I was molested when I was younger and even the sexual experience I had with the girl was premeditated seduction. She even told me her friend bet her she couldn’t take my virginity, to hurt me. I felt really bad for her that she was raped and I wanted to help her get off drugs so bad, and my crazy mother(single parent, definitely not catholic) invited her to live with us, so I couldn’t even escape the temptation and it just became worse and worse, considering she was absolutely sexually voluptuous and appeared so vulnerable at the time, I was overwhelmed! I don’t know how to stop this. I feel like a young teenager again, please someone help me, but I’m 22!

Many here struggle, more or less, with sexual thoughts and behaviors. If you haven’t gone to the** “Moral Theology”** forum here yet I encourage you to go as there is a multitude of helpful information in combating sexual impurity and masturbation. It will be most helpful.

God bless you.

I think there are a few things to consider here.

First, the evil that is present in our lives is much like a finely tailored suit. The Enemy looks at our weaknesses and preys upon them incessantly. We are responsible for how we respond, and we have a God whose treasury of compassion is completely and utterly inexhaustible. Struggling with this sort of temptation should not necessarily come in the way of considering Religious life. Keep in mind that the saints are just sinners who fall down but keep getting back up.

It is of course important to pray on this. I will offer prayers for you for wisdom, for appreciation of God’s forgiveness, and most of all for discernment. You too can pray for this:

Am I called to family life? To love and know a woman, to care for her and my family, to raise my family in the Church and guard my wife’s Faith and Virtue with my whole being while she does the same for me? Or, am I called to Religious Orders? To love and to protect the flock, guiding them over rocky paths and leading them to safety?

:console: Regardless of what your path is in life, it is a narrow and difficult road to walk. The temptation is great, but the end reward in your Virtue is even greater.

Lustful thoughts are common for young folks like yourself. Why? One, because of the raging hormones that are in your body at your age. Second, because our society is saturated with lustful pictures, sounds, and thoughts. It’s like storing fire and gasoline in the same room. Not a good idea.

That being said, “having” a lustful thought is not sinful. Giving assent to it, though, is sinful.

There are many things we can do to fight this problem, including fasting, prayer, giving custody of your eyes to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, acts of self-denial, mortification, etc. The Rosary is especially helpful and recommended. Those who begin to pray the Rosary daily experience one of two things: 1) they grow closer and closer to the Lord or 2) they leave the Lord and quit praying the Rosary.

Remember, we are in a war, not between flesh and blood, but between principalities and powers; the powers of evil vs. good. This war makes all the other wars of humanity rolled into one look like a picnic in the park. In fact, this war is the cause of the other wars. Sometimes this war gets so intense that it sort of “spills over” into this life into our wars.

There is only one definitive failure for any human being, and that is the failure to attain eternal life. Everything else is nothing but part of our journey.

We should welcome trials and tribulations and suffering, because they are redemptive, if offered up (if we’re smart, to Our Lord through the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!).

I recall the story of a young seminarian who was sent to observe a goldsmith process gold ore into gold. The goldsmith would take the gold ore, put it into a crucible and turn the heat all the way up, as hot as it would go! The gold would melt out of the ore, and be collected into another crucible, where it was kept as hot as it could be. The impurities in the gold would float to the top and be skimmed off. They called these impurities slag. This process would continue, over and over till the gold was deemed purified. The young seminarian asked the goldsmith how he know when the gold was ready, and the goldsmith said that when he looked at the molten gold and could clearly see his own reflection in it, it was done.

God does the same to us. He allows us to be put into the crucible of suffering in this life, in order to purify us. When He can finally see His reflection of Himself in us, we’re done! :slight_smile:

Thank you for the recommendation on the Moral Theology forum. I’d most like to be a Camaldolese hermit really, since I don’t want to guide a family or the flock for that matter! I’m sure God only sees a bunch of muck when he looks at me, but I can tell he’s at-least trying to scrub it off while I seem to be letting the devil keep piling it on! So having a lustful thought isn’t bad? How can that be? Am I not in control of my mind? I could understand having an erection when dancing with a beautiful woman, because my control over biology is so limited, but thoughts too?

Actually, you are not in complete control over what temptations you may have, but you are in control of your will. A lustful thought becomes a sin when we consent to it. For example, say you see a really beautiful woman on a beach wearing a bikini, and “the thought” comes into your mind (not your fault, except perhaps you should avoid such places if you know it’s a near occasion of sin). You have two choices: 1) You can say to yourself (and mean it), “Boy, if I had half a chance, I would…!” That’s a sin. Go to confession. OR 2) You could say, “No! I would not do that. It’s a sin. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for me and help me.” That’s not a sin.

Without temptation, there is no virtue. But we should try to avoid places where we know we will be tempted. And we should be ready in case we’re tempted, wherever we go.

It would behoove you to be a little more discrete in talking about your sexuality, and especially past experiences. The entire world does not need the details you so readily give. Take it to confession, if indeed you have not already, and discuss it openly with a spiritual director. In terms of what you say in public perhaps, “I struggle with lustful thoughts” or “I sinned by fornication” might be enough. Perhaps even those things are things best left to spiritual direction. It is a sign of maturity to be able to filter what we say to whom…and maturity is needed in any vocation.

God doesn’t call the qualified… He qualifies the call. Keep fighting. Just keep fighting. I know how hard some of these things can be… it takes time. Heck, it took St. Augustine a looong time, and now he’s a doctor of the Church.

God bless you

Thanks for the constructive criticism Elizabeth.

Your very welcome. Thank you for receiving it gracefully! Happy Easter!

I recently read through “Catholic Sexual Ethics: a Summary, Explanation, & Defense.” I recommend it for every Catholic, especially those struggling with the aforementioned problem.

Whatever you were reading, it wasn’t true tantra. Tantra in the west, unfortunately, is only seen as sex, drug use, and hedonism, and IS NOT TANTRA. Please stop reading this trash.

Does talking to a therapist really help this problem?

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.