By Abd Jasu,
Love One Another! 4/2004 → True Love Waits - Pure Hearts
Please include me among those fortunate people who belong to the Movement of Pure Hearts. It has taken me a while to decide to be more than just a well-wisher, but this is too important a movement for me to remain on the sidelines.
I remember the day that all those who have struggled with sexual purity will remember only too well – the day one discovers the pleasures of self-abuse. The discovery elicited no defensive reaction on my part. Owing to my troubles at school, my various fears, and my lack of self-esteem, I found in masturbation a pleasurable flight from my problems. I was too young to know the difference between what is good and what gives pleasure. I did not know that things that brought delight did not necessarily make one a better human being, and that, in fact, the very opposite could be true. I began to know loneliness. Then I met a nice girl. I began feeling things I had never felt before. I called those feelings love. But at the time I was addicted to self-abuse. And, without my realizing it, the culture around me was only confirming me in my belief that unbridled libido was not only good but desirable. Foolish conversations with friends as immature as I was, and reading magazines (as of yet of the “soft-porn” sort) swept me further down this sewer.
After the magazines and films, it was just a question of time before curiosity induced me to check out hard-core pornography. Before long, I was arousing myself with pictures or texts with the merest suggestion of erotic content.
Finally, “love” prompted me to go to bed with my girlfriend. That was my first and last time. Our relationship broke up soon after, and I have been alone since.
Despite my blindness at the time, everything connected with my habit had made me uneasy. We ought to listen to such promptings! When we start to feel uneasy, we should step back! It is the final alarm bell. After that, the habit becomes an addiction. I did not heed the warning, and lived to regret it.
Even though all this took place a long time ago, those images that I flooded my mind with still come back to haunt me – even after six years! I am unable to see a woman as a beautiful creation of God, as His child, whom He loves as much as He loves me. But the process of my healing continues, and things are gradually improving.
There came that other day, also so memorable to many of us – the day we finally go to Confession. Fear. What will the priest say? How will he react? Shame. How can I tell a stranger such things? But then we mutter one last sigh to God and… “I absolve you of your sins. Go in peace.”
I have been chaste now for eighteen months. After all those years of addiction I still find it hard to keep a rein on my thoughts. But, despite my weak faith, I plan to go on following Christ. He heals the wounds that I tried to cover up with Satan’s old rags. Jesus cleans and tends my wounds. I’ll admit that this is a painful process! I have had to confront myself, to stare myself in the eye and weep like Peter. All that time I had been in darkness, separated from God and His Church. It was a time of rebellion, and, I might add, a time assiduously exploited by those who wanted to make money on me.
Now I smile more often, more sincerely, and more joyfully. I am still alone. But God has given me this time to come to understand who, and not what, a woman is; and to appreciate the great God-given gifts that conjugal love, fertility and sexuality are. I am beginning to appreciate how beautiful and marvelous these things are. Chastity deserves the effort it requires. It is worth fighting for.
If people laugh in your face, or tell you these are antiquated, outdated ideas – don’t listen to them. Christ is the Rock; nothing will shake it. The Church is the Bark of Peter; we abandon it at our peril. So let us be witnesses wherever God puts us and try to bring on board every person we meet. There is room enough for everybody. I do not worry that my faith is weak. I desire and thirst; God will do the rest.