I am suffering for the sins of my past. Before I became a devout Catholic, I was at the pinnacle of all that secular life offered…primarily money, women, and a lot of partying…life couldn’t have been better (or so I thought ). When I got my head screwed on straight…I left all of years of sinfulness behind, joined the Catholic Church and haven’t missed that life one bit. I gave up my high paying job to move back home and manage a small family owned restraunt…so now I live modestly. In addition, I left my partying days behind and I rarely touch the bottle now and if I do so, it is usually during games or special occasion and I do it in moderation. With those two problems being cured…That leaves us with women. My problem with the ladies is not that I am having pre-marital affairs (like I used to do before I became a devout Catholic)…it is the desires and impure thought I get when I see a beautiful girl. I think about the old days and I find myself being disgusted with myself, yet I can not control the thoughts that pop into my head. I am living a chaste lifestyle now…I have been doing so for quite a while and I intend to do so until I am married…however, my mind gets bombarded with lustful thoughts, desires, etc. when I see a beautiful woman and I do my best not to entertain these thoughts and I try to pray and shut them out and it works temporarily…but it always happens again. Anyone else suffer from this problem? Anyone have advice on it? I know this is a result of my former life where I would indulge my lustful desires whenever I pleased…now those sins are starting to come back and bite me. Any advice?
Are you sure you’re not confusing a temptation with sin? If I understand it correctly, an impure thought that’s sinful involves the will. If a thought just pops into the mind without our willing it, then it’s not sinful.
As hard as it is sometimes, I try to look at temptations as an opportunity to grow in holiness. Pray for the person who pops into you mind. That will get us involved in that which non-Catholics often have problems with: merit.
And it also is helpful to keep in mind that even when the temptation is violent, we don’t have to sin, if we don’t want to. That’s how powerful Grace is.
Another thing that’s interesting: you say that you’re suffering from the sins of you past, as all of us do. It demonstrates, I think, what Catholics believe about “temporal punishment” for sins already forgiven—which explains Purgatory and Indulgences.
Every time we sin we develop a disordered attachment to creatures—in this case, sexual desire. It’s a good reason to fight the good fight, live virtuously, stay away from sin and avail ourselves of indulgences to deal with the temporal punishments for sins already forgiven.
Father Corapi says that thoughts are only sinful when we allow them to flourish. In other words, if I think about someone other than my husband in a lustful way, involuntarily mind you, and I immediately shut out those thoughts, I have not sinned. However, if I continue in that vein to what some would call fantasy, then I have willfully allowed my thoughts to go into a sinful realm. I have cooperated by furthering the thought. If I think about taking some thing that is not mine, I have not sinned if I immediately follow that thought with the reminder to myself that stealing is a sin. But, if I think well, how could I do it and get away with it, then I have sinned. Do you see the distinction? I think that Satan knows your weaknesses and is using them to undermine you as you try to live a life of faith. Just keep shutting him out and try to stay away from images, music and conversations that would lead your thoughts to these things. Men are supposed to be attracted to women, there is nothing sinful in that. But, when you see a woman as only a thing to satisfy a lustful urge then you have a problem. God Bless you as you try to lead your life of chastity. In this world it isn’t easy to combat the sexuality blatantly thrown at you every day. I pray that you will overcome. And as a priest told me when I first went to confession after 20 years away from the church, God has forgiven you, now forgive yourself.
Congratulations on your efforts to honor God through chastity.
Sure - your thoughts and desires may be “leftover” from your previous lifestyle - but it isn’t like you probably would have been “free” from these problems had you never engaged in that life.
This is probably a common temptation for men - as men respond to visual stimuli moreso than women.
Satan understands this about men and uses it to his advantage.
Keep up the good work. The more difficult you find it - the more you have to offer up to God for penance and sacrifice for others.
Keep a dialogue going with your priest about this.
Just the fact you posted this shows you’re on the right road.
I recently caught my teenage son looking at Playboy and told him "remember that every woman you see is somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, and someday will be somebody’s mother - therefore she should be treated with the same respect you would give to your mother/sister/ or daughter.
I personally think men find it very difficult to recognize pretty girls as authentic “real” persons deserving of dignity and respect as opposed to simply being eye candy or sex objects.
As pointed out earlier, it is important to distinguish between impure thoughts that enter the mind spontaneously and cultivating those thoughts once they are there. All men that remain above the sod will sometimes have these thoughts. You might get some encouragement from reading about Francis of Assisi and the Cure of Ars. Both of these men fought these temptations throughout their lives. It’s a battle, but what you have accomplished so far should be of great encouragement. Pray always. Use every spare moment that would otherwise be spent in idle thought to be used in prayer. Also guard your eyes. Never take the extended view or second look at a pretty woman. This will help.
I really liked how you handled the situation with your son. That is the gentle and holy way to lead your son to looking at women as persons rather than sexual objects. I wonder how many women would have handled the matter the way you did?
Thank you - of course this isn’t all I did.
He did get grounded from the computer and from outings with his friends for a couple weeks.
He did get the stern look and “I"m disappointed” routine.
So - I don’t know if I can take credit for being gentle - but thank you!
Good work…you are the MOM