Hello, brothers and sisters in Christ!
First of all, I would like to say… thanks be to God for all of His graces and blessings! He has been so good to me even though I don’t deserve it! It is truly humbling and beautiful, and I just know that if I surrender to Him and open myself to His will, then all obstacles can be overcome. May I turn to Him now as I pick up my cross to follow him, even unto the necessary death of myself.
Here is my story, and I will make it short. About two years ago, I came back to the Faith at the age of 21. In reality though, I should say that I was coming to my faith for the first time, as I don’t think I ever had it to begin with. Growing up, watching pornography and turning to self sexual gratification were part of my routine, until one day I decided to quit but found I could not. And how frustrating it was! There was nothing, it seemed, that I could do, to rid myself of my obsession, even though I was trying my hardest. During the past two-three years, in fact, it seemed that it was getting worse, and I was despairing. Not even God, again it seemed, could deliver me from my situation! Yet thanks to working the 12 steps, I came to acknowledge that I wasn’t letting go, that I wasn’t surrendering, that I wasn’t putting God first in my life, that I was being a fake. What wasn’t I letting go?
Well, ever since I came back to the Church (and even before), I began to have a growing sense that I was being called to the priesthood. I tried to ignore it, tried to rationalize my way out of it, tried to push it away by picking up my shield of sin, but it wasn’t leaving me alone. It was there no matter what I tried to do! Yet I was scared, scared to let go of the beautiful girlfriend I was dating, scared to let go of my dreams (start my own business, becoming financially free, etc), scared to let God in my life in such a radical way. Well, thanks be to God, almost five months ago I was able to do just that (with a spiritual director, of course), and life has never been better! It is as if though the door that I had neglected to open to God for so long had finally and honestly been open, and a flood of graces was washing over me. Now I am finding life ever more beautiful, and every day it just keeps getting better.
In terms of my problems with impure images and self-gratification, there has been a dramatic change. I have not turned to either of them ever since I said Yes to God (whatever His Will may be), and the obsession has been dispelled (not that the temptations do not come every now and then, but these are brushed off with God’s help). I am beginning to experience a freedom I never knew existed, and I breaking forth into life. Thanks be to Jesus and His Mother!
However, I am in need of your prayers…
I am having the most difficult time at night wrestling with impure fantasies. Unfortunately, I did more with my two ex-girlfriends that I should have done, but thankfully never went all the way. Now, at night, I find myself taking it to those steps I didn’t dare take it to. As soon as I catch myself, I turn to prayer and offer it up, but it seems that almost as soon as I am done, I am doing it again, perhaps for a few minutes before realizing that it is happening again, and the cycle continues. I guess this goes to show that deep down I am still attached to that grave sin of lust, and that more surrender needs to take place. I can’t do this alone, my brothers and sisters. I know I can’t. And so I am asking for your prayers, that I may surrender to God fully, and that I may always be willing to offer to Him whatever is not pleasing so that it may be uprooted and thrown into the fire.
The thing is, the following morning, I don’t feel great about the whole thing. Even though I don’t give in, it bothers me that I end up fantasizing for minutes before realizing what is happening, and that I end up slowly backing away from it rather than running full speed towards the arms of My Mother (how good she is!). I feel like as I’m falling asleep I linger in that mode because a part of me may want to, even though another part of me wants to be rid of it. And so I wrestle, and then I wonder whether I wrestled hard enough.