Love One Another! 3/2004 → True Love Waits - Pure Hearts
Jesus has given me new life. He can do the same for you and everyone. It all depends on you. Christ waits for everyone. In His boundless mercy He loves all people, and He loves you just as much as He loves me. Your superb magazine taught me that no one loves me more than Jesus. Thanks to Love One Another Magazine, I now have a tremendous Friend, on whom I can always count. He has set me free from the nightmare of self-abuse and other sins.
My nightmare began in grade school when I started reading Bravo magazine. It was there that I learned about masturbation. I decided to try it. I didn’t know that what I was doing was a sin, that it was wreaking terrible harm on me, that it was leading me down the path of ruin. I simply didn’t know! Meanwhile, Bravo’s “experts” were telling me that masturbation was not wrong, that it was a way of getting to know my body and preparing for “adult” sexual activity. Sadly, I believed all this nonsense, and day by day I became more addicted to the sin. Masturbation really means abuse — an abuse perpetrated on oneself, which wreaks enormous havoc on one’s mind and spirit.
At first, I masturbated once every few days. But as time went on, it got worse. There were periods when I would indulge in it several times a day. Later, even that wasn’t enough. I began watching pornographic movies. I imagined erotic scenes with various women modeled on those whom I saw in the magazines and movies. I devoured every smutty article I could lay my hands on. I abused myself in front of newspapers, the TV, the computer… I did it whenever I felt like it. Before long, I had mentally overcome every inhibition — such was Satan’s power over me. Masturbation was my consuming interest. Everything else fell by the wayside. Thank God I never had a girlfriend in those days. My friends at school boasted to me of their “achievements”, the “skin flicks” they had watched, their “first times” and succeeding sexual conquests. All this seemed quite normal. I saw nothing wrong in it, even though I was becoming a worse and worse person. I was rude, peevish, high-strung, I argued with my parents over the slightest cause. I fought — often viciously — with my brothers and sisters. I had no respect for anyone. At school, things went from bad to worse. I became very lazy. Of course, I went to church, but only because my family was Catholic and we all went together. Sometimes I skipped Mass, especially if there was a game or an interesting movie on TV. I watched a lot of TV in those days. And so my life descended into the gutter.
This continued until my third year of high school. One day, Father brought some copies of Love One Another Magazine to the religion class. That was the day Jesus gave me new life. When I read those articles about human sexuality, the moving testimonies of young people who, thanks to Christ, had conquered their weaknesses and overcome all kinds of addictions and sins, I felt saddened that I had been sinning for so long without knowing it. At the same time, I felt great joy that I wasn’t alone with my problem, that there was Someone Who wanted to help me, Someone Who cared about me.
I could hardly wait until Sunday when I bought myself a copy of your great magazine. I read its articles greedily like someone that hadn’t eaten in days and now had plenty of food, which he could eat to his heart’s content. But this fare could last only for a while. To have a healthy body, you need to eat the right stuff regularly. It is the same with our souls. To be strong and not succumb to the temptations of Satan, who keeps thrusting his alluring “Pandora’s Box” under your nose, you have to pray. You have to trust Jesus.
My struggle with sin lasted for more than a year and cost me a great deal of effort and self-denial. The early stages of my struggle were marked by frequent failures. It was a terrible feeling. I didn’t want to give in, but I couldn’t help myself. The sin was stronger than I. After each relapse, I would feel disgust and revulsion.
I promised Jesus and myself I would never do it again. But sometimes I would have a relapse the same day. I went to confession often. I made novenas to Our Lady. My longest period of self-control lasted six months. Then I fell, and the nightmare started all over again. But the wonderful thing was that after each fall, I could go to confession and tell Jesus I had wounded Him. He, in turn, would forgive me and give me strength to continue my struggle. I prayed earnestly and fervently.
Three months have passed since my last fall and I trust this time I will persevere. Now, I pray three times a day, in the morning, evening, and at 3 p.m., when I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. In the old days, the sound of people praying on the radio used to annoy me terribly. Right away, I would turn if off. I couldn’t see the sense of it. What was the good of this mindless chatter — I said to myself. Now I can say with conviction that prayer is not idle chatter. It has great power! Through prayer, Jesus has healed me, not only of the sin of self-abuse, but also of swearing, taking the name of the Lord in vain, laziness, and compulsive television viewing. Someone might say “Sins! My eye!” but such seemingly little sins, which we find so easy to dismiss, have an enormous effect on the quality of our prayer and our lives in general. The most important thing is to pray systematically and perfect our dialog with God.
It is not easy to walk with Christ in today’s materialistic, godless world, where money speaks louder than people. In propagating their message of “free love,” the mass media and their vested interests destroy the purity, trust and sensibilities of young people — and reap the financial benefits. They promote contraception, which leads not only to disease and sterility, but also to the destruction of our capacity to love. We cannot allow them to destroy our love and virtue in such a shameless way! Nor can we allow them to promote the killing of God’s most magnificent gift, the unborn child. To counter these trends is no easy task. It requires courage, effort and hard work on our part. We need to overcome our fears and weaknesses. To reach the top of a mountain means hardship and suffering, but how great will be our joy when we reach the summit! The going is tough, but Christ is with us. Our Lady is with us. If we will only trust Them, we will not forfeit our life or pass up our opportunity for eternal happiness.