When it come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I think its helpful to keep in mind the word “Reconciliation”. That word reminds us that Confession is about renewing, reestablishing our relationship with Christ, with God. How do we break this relationship? When we make a conscious decision to walk away , to turn our back on Christ. One thing I think we have to keep in mind when thinking about what this means, how we rupture our relationship with Christ , is to remember that He is ALWAYS with us. We know it is we that sever or damage the relationship, that He never leaves us. So, sometimes I think it is helpful to remember that God is always there with us, Christ is in front of us, behind us , to the sides of us, above and below us. When we are “IN Christ”, we communicate directly with him, we share back and forth constantly, and He guides our every thought and action. His presence could be considered like that of an ever-present friend, who is there with us where ever we go, whatever room or space we in.
Having presented our relationship with God as I have,when we sin, we tell Christ to leave the room, we reject His presence. Sometimes this is very unconscious thought, such as when we may tell a little white lie. However, now think of Christ being present in ALL our sexual activities. When we are married, how would we feel knowing God of the Universe is actually present? The Sacrament of marriage makes lovemaking to our spouse a holy and beautiful time that we for which we should have no shame in sharing with God. Now , can the same said when we masturbate?
Before America became a wealthy country, many families lived in one room homes. As married couples there was no shame in making love in the immediate presence of the family. Of course it was discreet and without visible nudity. Consider Medieval era when the consummation of the marriage was done with perhaps just a wall away from the entire royal court or at least some witness, since consummation was essential for a valid marriage, and a valid marriage was the concern of the state! Now say that witness was Christ. In the case of marriage, we have no shame regarding our sexuality.
Now consider masturbation. I dont think I need to say more. We know it means we turn our back on Christ! When this sin becomes habitual , think how many times we turn out back on Christ. Once or twice is not really the issue. However, when we regularly indulge in a vice that is powerful and addicting , which unchaste sex and masturbation are, we gradually turn our heads from Christ more and more. It is grave because it so pernicious in its ability to gradually leave Christ out of our lives entirely. Its not just that we cross the line for some forbidden fruit. We break our connection to Christ. Honestly, can one really be “IN Christ” , connected to Him, while masturbating? I really challenge you to think how that can be.
Having said that , dont beat yourself up either. Dont let guilt keep you from being with Him. Dont be afraid to seek forgiveness 7x700 times. And also remember that when something has become addictive, is something that is difficult to control, our culpability can be diminished. Sometimes even when we dont want to do something, our addictions make it very difficult to overcome that negative behavior
(masturbation) which pulls away from Christ. So, alone, I agree its not the worst thinh in the world, but because sex is so powerful, the potential to pull you from Christ is very dangerous! It is this reason it is a very pernicious sin and should be avoided, and the Church considers it possibly a grave sin.
Remember, it is something done because it is so pleasurable. There is nothing wrong with pleasure, but when it is done out of the proper context it can be dangerous. Sexual gratification can be like a drug that causes us to seek its pleasure even when there are dangerous spiritual side effects. And like drugs, sometimes we use sexual gratification to cover pain or to simply fill the time in our lives, cover our boredom. That alone is sin. Instead of covering our pain or filling in our time, we should be using that time to serve God.Of course very often we simply have hormones that are causing physiological reactions! Even in this case we are called to use our sexuality, our sexual natures to serve God. We should be using that energy to serve Him, to advance in our job, to find a spouse, to exercise , to fix our car! We can learn to transfer that energy toward other goals, including a finding a spouse with whom we can properly expend our sexual energy for making love and having children.
I hope this helps! Youre certainly NOT alone! But the Church calls us to live in HIM at all times and in ALL things.