Sense of Life. Articles in English. Do Not Be Afraid! (14/2009).
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Do Not Be Afraid! (14/2009)


“Do not be afraid! My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” These words helped me to overcome the sin of impurity. “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me,” said St. Paul; and I can testify to this by the example  of my life.

I do not remember when the sin of impurity first appeared in my life, but I know that I remained mired in it far too long. However, that is not what I want to write about. I want to tell you about my war with Satan, which began when a good friend of mine passed me his copy of Love One Another Magazine. In it I found testimonies written by people who had managed to overcome the sin of impurity. It was then I learned that self-abuse, which had taken root in my life a few years earlier, was a sin. I had not realized this before, for I had the impression from my friends at school that everyone did it. This, at any rate, was how I foolishly excused myself in moments of weakness.

When I realized how long I had been in a state of sin, I had a great desire to go to confession at once. That is what I did; and the moment is indelibly imprinted in my mind. For a month or so after that confession I managed to stay pure, but after that things got less pretty. I spent a lot of time reading about the Movement to Pure Hearts. I wanted to join it, but, as I saw it (wrongly, as it turned out) there was an obstacle: the sin of impurity, which I was unable to control. Still, I did not give up. I decided to make more frequent confessions — every two weeks. I knew it was my only help. I reached out to God’s hand so as not to sink in the mire.

At every confession I “touched” God’s mercy. I came to realize that God was love and that He loved me as I was. Only He could help me overcome my weakness. “I do not condemn you,” I heard Him say. “Go, and sin no more.” And yet I continued to fall into sin. The more I wanted to avoid it, the more I fell into the snare of sin. I even turned to pornography. More than that, I discovered I had same-sex attractions, which I had not realized before. Then I began to pray with even greater fervor.

I found a great grace in the fact that our parish has a shrine of Our Lady of the Scapular. There was no need to make long pilgrimages to pray to Mary, the Guardian of Purity, for she had come to me herself. Centuries ago, the Immaculate One had chosen this holy place to protect the inhabitants of our town. I knew she would intercede with her Son for the grace of my healing as well. Every month, at her feet, we had a Holy Mass offered up along with prayers for healing. I attended these services regularly. As the priest carried the Blessed Sacrament through the church and blessed the faithful, I would ask Jesus and His mother to heal me of the sin of masturbation. I went to other holy sites as well, always praying for the gift of a pure heart. I went to see the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in the hope that perhaps then God would hear my intense prayers and grant me a healing. The following week, while on a school trip “in John Paul II’s footsteps,” I attended Holy Mass in the Divine Mercy Basilica in Kraków-Lagiewniki. There I prayed over the relics of St. Faustina and begged for God’s mercy. At the shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, I prayed before the image of Our Lady of Calvary.

  By God’s providence I also found myself attending a two-week-long summer retreat of the Faith and Light Movement. That was a blessed time, for it brought me still closer to God. I realized that He was with me throughout every moment of my life. On returning home, on the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, I was invested in the holy scapular. I knew then that Our Lady would help me. And that is what happened. Two weeks later, on the first Friday of August, I was healed of the sin of impurity! Since I did not know this at the time, I asked two people taking part in a walking pilgrimage to Jasna Góra to pray for me. It was then I discovered the great power of intercessory prayer.

After five months of struggling with Satan, Jesus triumphed within me. Although Satan had won many battles, it was my Savior, who loves us all with a love that led Him to the Cross, who ultimately won the war. Ever since then, August has been for me a month of sobriety as well as of purity. To all those struggling with the sin of impurity, I say, “Do not be afraid!” I still experience moments of weakness and doubt. But at such times I find great help in saying the prayer, Under Thy Protection” or simply in the thought that Jesus will help me. I always keep the image of Our Lady of the Scapular beside me, for I know that she is watching over me all the time.

“Do not be afraid! My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” For all that has recently taken place in my life, glory be to the God!

Rafael

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in May 2016.




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