"Love One Another!" 17/2010 → True Love Waits - Pure Hearts
Although I was raised in a Christian home, at a certain point in my life I took a wrong turn and strayed from God. My faith was dead. Living in a state of sin for many years, I killed my spiritual life by warping my conscience, and thus destroyed my moral compass.
When I was ten or eleven years old, I was seduced by pornography. I sinned against the Sixth Commandment. It all began innocently enough. I started watching TV soap operas with all their love intrigues and interests. Then I began buying magazines like Bravo, which excited my interest in sexuality. These magazines caused me a great deal of psychological harm. Reading them only deepened my fascination with sex. After that, I sought out increasingly stronger experiences. I found it all very pleasurable, although I did wonder at times what I was doing. But I would always comfort myself with the thought that “no one knew about it anyway.”
At first I thought it was normal. I told myself I was growing up. My hormones were raging. Perfectly natural! But after a while I sensed I had crossed the line. I fell into the sin of masturbation, which lasted for six years. I knew I was addicted when after each moment of “pleasure,” I would experience sadness and sorrow for having “given in.” Gradually I lost all interest in life. It had no meaning. I fell into depressions and contemplated doing myself harm. All this I hid from others, which only resulted in my becoming a recluse. I was unable to talk to people. I was afraid of them. My self-loathing deepened.
I could never confess the sin of self-abuse. I fooled my conscience into thinking it was a normal thing. But then no one had ever told me it was bad. The magazines insisted masturbation was necessary for a good sex life in the future. My conscience grew quite to this sin. I can even say I lost my conscience, for the sin of impurity had totally warped it. At a certain point the life of constant sadness and self-loathing that I was living became more than I could bear. I wanted to free myself from pornography and self-abuse, but wherever I turned — TV, the Internet, newspapers and magazines — everything was saturated with eroticism!
Finally I wanted to take it all to the confessional, but I lacked the nerve. For several years I had been lying both to God and myself. The thought of what the priest might think tormented me. I was unable to make a confession; and I am still only learning to do so. After each confession I would walk away feeling no relief, but only greater sadness for having lied again. I saw only a priest in the confessional, not Christ!
Impurity was not the only sin in which I found myself mired. I had begun to see the world in a very materialistic light. I became very selfish. Faith for me was little more than dusty old tradition. I went to church, but I did not follow the Mass. My thoughts were miles away. My confessions and Holy Communions were frauds perpetrated on God Himself. I grew distant from Him and stopped praying. My talks with Him amounted to little more than, “God, if you exist, give me what I want!” Plain and simple selfishness.
Last year the process of my spiritual death reached its climax. I suffered real torments. All through the summer I experienced the darkness of hell. I began to have a horror of death, which seemed to be stalking me. With such sins, I told myself, I would go straight to hell. I feared going out of the house. I began to doubt God’s existence altogether. My faith reached its absolute low point. For a while, you might say, I lived without God.
Today I have no hesitation in saying that life without God’s love has no meaning. Fortunately, at my lowest ebb, I began to fight Satan, for I realized the great evil at work in my life. I got rid of the TV and computer — the “proximate causes” of my sinning. In a word, I got rid of the temptation. But I was still had my imagination, which was saturated with erotic images, and these flooded my mind against my will. Then I came across a notice for a coming local winter retreat with the theme, “My God and My All.” I saw it as an inexpensive way of passing the vacation — a new adventure and a way of finding new friends. In the event, it proved to be a great adventure with God and an opportunity for getting to know myself.
For the first time in my life I came to know who God was. I came — so very personally! — to experience His love, passionate, boundless, and beautiful. I felt His presence and realized His love was greater than my sin! I realized I had been pushing Jesus away all this time; that I was never alone, that Jesus was always by me, abiding with me regardless of what kind of person I was. When I fell into sin, He did not reject me, but loved me all the more. He waited for me in the sacrament of reconciliation; wanted to take me in His arms, embrace and kiss me! Only God could love so powerfully and disinterestedly.
Thus began my conversion. My faith and relationship with God changed drastically. A dry tradition became a living faith. I began to pray fervently and delight in the fact that Someone loved me with an “eternal love.” I understood what was most important for me in life and by what values I should be guided. I began to meditate on the word of God. But the knowledge that I had not come to terms with Jesus in the confessional continued to weigh on me.
My act of reconciliation with God came with great difficulty. In this, prayer and daily attendance at Mass helped me considerably. Several times I had occasion to make peace with Jesus in the confessional, but, alas, each time my fears got the better of me. I waged a constant struggle to free myself from the sin of impurity.
Finally, just before an Easter retreat at school, I swore to God and myself that I would own up to my sins. I know now that if I had not done this, things would be going very badly for me. I am not at all sure I’d still be living in this beautiful world.
A few days before confession I felt a great pain in my soul. My constant struggle with the devil had exhausted me mentally and psychologically. But I know that if I hadn’t hit rock bottom, it would have been game over. I had to come down with a solid thump in order to reach for God’s hand and be pulled out of the mire. That “happy fault” changed my life and my view of the world. Today I thank God for this grace of conversion. He has given a new life and I have no intention of wasting it.
Finally, I made my general confession and told Jesus everything! He drew me to His bosom, consoled me and absolved me of my sins. It was a great and miraculous birthday, for since then I have been a new person. During the confession I had the feeling the Holy Spirit was speaking through me. There is no way I could have told all otherwise.
Today I know that I live thanks only to the love of Jesus! He is my Lord and Savior. God pulled me from Satan’s claws, although I still have to wage a daily struggle with evil. But I know now that by clinging to Jesus and being a “positive warrior,” I will conquer every evil.
Today I stay close to God so as not to fall into sin again. I often receive Jesus in the Eucharist and deepen my knowledge of God’s word by regularly reading at least a few verses of Holy Scripture. I know it is God Himself who speaks to me, for the words of the Bible are living words. I have also joined a “Mission Oasis” group in my parish.
Another important moment in my life was joining the Movement of Pure Hearts. Belonging to this community helps me to persevere in chastity. In entrusting my sexuality to God, I know I am in good hands. Whenever Satan puts a temptation into my head, I reach for my rosary and pray to Mary, the purest of virgins.
I wish everyone such joy as now overflows my heart. There are many people who simply do not know that God loves them. But Jesus told me that He does. Now “everything tells me that Someone loves me.”
Open your hearts to Jesus, for He stands knocking at the door. He never stops loving you. Remember Him so you do not feel lonely. Alleluia!
The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in August 2016.
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