Another member was expressing to me a sadness and fear regarding their suffering with impure thoughts while looking at a crucifix and other holy images.I decided that this deserved it’s own thread.
The mind has a way of thinking about the very thing we fear the most. What can be more frightening than having impure thoughts about nuns, statues, The Blessed Virgin, and even… “you know who”… (I can’t even bring myself to type the words). Especially people who suffer from scrupulosity can suffer from the most blasphemous, impure thoughts during prayer.
Should we therefore avoid holy images? No! We should face the fear head on and realize that God knows about this too. He knows that these thoughts are unwanted. He is far more upset that there are people who never pray or go to Mass. He knows your heart and your struggle with unwanted thoughts. He loves us even with all of our defects!
Fr. Thomas M. Santa, author of “Understanding Scrupulosity”, calls these unwanted thoughts “mosquitos in the mind”. These thoughts are in no way sinful and they are far more common than you might think. Fear of punishment and sin working in the back of our minds does this. What happens is that while looking at a crucifix our sins are brought forward in our mind.
It doesn’t take the brain long to attach this fear to our sins of impurity and the holy image. The careful person who is always on guard against sin… trying their best NOT to have an impure thought about Holy People and here we go! …that’s all it takes!
Suppose I offered you a million dollars to NOT think about carrots for the next 24 hours. What is the FIRST think you are going to think about? … uh… carrots! You might even start to obsess about them.
Good devout people have denied themselves Holy Communion for decades because they are too embarassed to bring this up in confession and they believe that they are in a state of mortal sin. Satan thinks this is extremely funny, This isn’t even a sin because the thoughts are unwanted. They are driven strictly by worry and fear!
The best thing to do when this happens during prayer, whenever… is to immediately ask God to help you. "Dear Lord, please tell that knuckehead Satan to knock it off, he’s at it again! "
People are really embarassed to admit that this happens to them, but it is far more common than you think.