There is a marvelous chapter in the Book of Proverbs that ought to be studied by every young person who must live in this lustful world. It sets forth plainly the stance that any son or daughter of God should have regarding the lust so often celebrated by this age.
Many preachers and teachers wince at the Book of Proverbs on this topic since it tends to portray seduction and lust as coming from women.
However it must be recalled that Proverbs features a father speaking to his son. So the context is that of a young man experiencing seduction from a certain class of women (not all women).
The silence of this chapter of Proverbs on the problem of men seducing women should not be taken as a denial of this problem; it is simply not the context of the discussion. Any woman ought to be able to take the advice given here and translate it for her own sake as well.
With that in mind let’s look at this masterful advice from the Wisdom of God. The alliterations (on the letter “D”) are based on a talk by Rev. Adrian Rogers that I heard many years ago. While the alliterations are his, the content of this article is wholly mine.
I. The Discretion we should follow – 1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding; 2 that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.
As we have seen, the Book of Proverbs takes up the form of a father advising his son. One of the most critical roles a father or parent has is to teach and hand on the preserved and tested wisdom that comes to us from God and from experience. Hence a father should teach his children at length regarding all matters of life, including sexuality. He should also insist that his children both listen (incline their ears) and apply (attend to) the wisdom that comes from God.
With the modern breakdown of the family on a wide scale, this basic function of fathers, specifically, and parents and elders, in general, is poorly executed in many cases. Children today are often without critical moral instruction, at least of a healthy sort.
Add to this problem the concept of the “generation gap” that emerged in the cultural revolution of the 1960s. During that time, young people widely believed that “old people” were out-of-touch, repressed, and without any real wisdom to offer. While this is a somewhat typical tendency in adolescence, it was powerfully affirmed in the popular music of the time, which reveled in rebellion against authority, the use of drugs, and the celebration of “free love.” Young people were encouraged to break away from the repression and outdated notions of their elders. Rebellion (almost for its own sake) was the key to ushering in a new reality.
But without respect there can be no teaching. Thus many foolish and destructive tendencies (such as the abandonment of self-control and personal responsibly) were ushered in, ones that more functioning cultures learned long ago were dead ends.
The opening verse encourages the son to hearken to the wisdom of the elders so that he may keep discretion. In this case discretion refers to the ability to exercise good judgment and to having cautious reserve. Discretion is the ability to make responsible decisions. Sound teaching is meant to assist sound decisions.
The son is also encouraged to hearken to wisdom so that his own lips may preserve knowledge. In other words, one day he will need to teach others. What comes from his mouth ought to be the tested wisdom of God, not the passing and often foolish slogans of the world.
Sadly, when one generation largely fails to teach wisdom, the next generation is not only poorly instructed, it is ill-equipped to teach, and this allows the problems multiply quickly. What was once common sense isn’t very common anymore. It does not take long for the whole culture to start crumbling if good sense cannot be restored.
Hence there is a discretion, a received wisdom that ensures sound judgment that we must receive, keep, preserve, and pass on.
II. The Deception we should avoid – 3 For the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; 6 she does not take heed to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.
Here then is the description of “Lady Lust” by way of personification. Surely she is the antithesis of Lady Wisdom! Again let us recall that the personification, though feminine, does not mean that lust and seduction are unique to women (any more than wisdom is unique to women). Men, too, can seduce and surely can be lustful and draw others to lust. However, as a general rule, men are more immediately susceptible to lust, and even if you wish to debate that, recall that this book is a collection of teachings of a father to his son.
Note the description of sweet lips and smooth talking. Lust always plies her wares by emphasizing her sweet delights, never mentioning the cost. The bill comes later! And her smooth talk assures that this will all be OK, that those who object are sexually repressed, judgmental, and just don’t “understand.” She assures that “experts” have found “healthy” societies where free love is practiced. She cites statistics that almost everyone fornicates and thinks it is OK. And, after all, can the majority of people be so wrong? Yes, she’s a smooth talker all right.
But then comes the bill and the results are bitter as wormwood. Lust cuts like a sharp but jagged knife and in her deathly ways she drags souls to hell.
And yet as the text says, Lady Lust has lost sight of her own lies. She has even convinced herself of her lies and deceptions. This occurs because of the way that sins, especially sins of the flesh, cloud the intellect. St. Thomas notes that the sins of the flesh (lust and gluttony) are not usually the most serious (sins of the Spirit such as pride are more serious), but they are the most disgraceful because of the way that they darken our mind. St. Paul says the same in Romans when he says that those who suppress the truth claim to be wise, but are fools and their senseless minds are darkened (cf Rom 1:17ff).
Thus, Lady Lust cannot even see for herself how foolish her own notions are. She believes her own lies and so do those who fall into her trap. Even middle school students can see how unhealthy promiscuity is. They can observe that homosexual acts violate the very design of the body and that the “parts don’t fit.” But this is because their hearts have not yet been blinded by lust, nor their minds darkened by it.
But Lady Lust and her followers soon become blind and fail to see even the most obvious facts before them; their minds are darkened. Jesus says, Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? (Lk 6:39) And so it is for Lady Lust: she is blinded by her lust.
III. The Distance we should keep – 7 And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house;
Yes, stay away. How many have been snared by her for merely coming too close! Today addiction to Internet porn has reached shocking levels. Many young men think it impossible to break free. Worse still, the addiction descends into ever darker and even unnatural places. What begins as sinfully looking at “ordinary” nudity soon descends to viewing depictions of some of the vilest sexual practices. Children today can find displayed before them practices that normal adults would not have even imagined just 50 years ago. Deeper and darker, many today descend into lust’s worst effects. Even animals do not do the things routinely pined for by those addicted to lust. There is a great debasement described in the literature and by experts who try to help those lost in lust. Even if they can break free, their minds may be sullied for years, even for life.
Hence, scripture says here to stay far away, to venture not even near the door of “Lady Lust.” Elsewhere, St. Paul writes, Flee Fornication! (1 Cor 6:18) There is to be no dabbling with her, no risk-taking, no testing of the limits, no teasing, no occasional looks at risky websites to satisfy curiosity. One must soberly, carefully, and prudently avoid any and all commerce with Lady Lust. Otherwise, she too easily gets her hooks in. And once that happens, for too many it is goodbye to innocence and healthy notions of human sexuality.
Keep a safe distance. Install web filters. Engage in prudent dating practices. There is a distance that we must maintain. If we do not, the damage that will come is powerfully described in the verses to follow.
IV. The Damage we will suffer – Many damages are described! 9 lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless; 10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of an alien; 11 and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, 12 and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! 13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. 14 I was at the point of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” 15 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you … 21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he watches all his paths. 22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is caught in the toils of his sin. 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is lost.
The following damages can be listed:
A. Dissipation – 9 lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless; 10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of an alien … 15 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you …
Practically speaking, many fornicators and adulterers find their income reduced by alimony, child support, etc. Those who flee these responsibilities are often pursued by the government and have their wages garnished. They must pay numerous fees and penalties for their lack of compliance. They assume the financial costs but without the benefits of a loving wife and children, a common home, and the shared joys that God intended to go with the challenges of marriage and family.
Hence the text speaks of the honors, strengths, and fruits of labor of the fornicator and adulterer going to strangers, to homes where he does not live or enjoy the warmth and love thereof.
Why should this be, O lover of lust, that your wealth and resources be scattered? Resist lust now or you will find your resources scattered to alien homes.
And this is the first damage that Lady Lust exacts: dissipation.
B. Disease 11 and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed,
Practically speaking, the text points to sexually transmitted diseases (from herpes to AIDS).
More spiritually and emotionally, the text can also refer to the emotional and spiritual damage that comes from giving your body over to strangers and to lust. There is the anger and depression of being used and discarded. Intimacy cannot be exchanged in a merely physical way; humans are just not made that way. Our soul and psyche are deeply connected to our body, especially in matters of profound physical intimacy. And to be joined in this way can never be as casual as the lustful say it is. There is a connection that sets up and is hard to break. There is a whole subset of deliverance ministry that is devoted to helping people break their “soul ties” to past sexual “partners.”
Add to this list of ailments the awful sorrow and gnawing guilt associated with post-abortion syndrome.
Many groan under the physical, spiritual, psychological, and emotional weight of their sins. And even for believers who know somehow that God has forgiven them, it is often harder for them to forgive themselves. It is a weight of guilt, embarrassment, and shame that for many is hard to shake. Lady Lust does not like those who have discovered her lies, and she taunts them with guilt and shame.
The verse also points to the end of life. And though at the end of our life we are meant to be surrounded by loving children and grandchildren, many who served Lady Lust will die far more alone than they should.
C. Disappointment – 12 and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! 13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors … ”
At some point, if the sinner ever wakes up, his disappointment with himself is often colossal. He feels foolish and regrets that he pridefully rejected instruction and regarded it as stupid or old-fashioned. I meet people like this all the time who “wish they had it all to do over again.”
It is so easy to scoff at instruction when we are young, and even when we are not so young. And in a culture fixated on adolescent rebellion, a culture that thinks it knows better than Mother Church, there are still some who finally grow up and realize what a mess they have made of their own life and that of others.
The promises that sexual and other sinful pleasures make are cast on the rocky shore of disappointment and betrayal.
D. Disgrace – 14 I was at the point of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.
Our private sins have a way of going public. The Internet porn addict discovers that his browsing habits are known by search engines, the FBI, and even prospective employers who do background checks. Security clearances are threatened. The adulterer is found out. The boyfriend running from his duties to the pregnant girlfriend is summoned to answer for himself. The sinful priest is turned in, arrested, and loses his parish and ministry. The sexually abusive stepfather is arrested. The public school teacher has her escapades with the teen boy displayed on the nightly news.
At some point it would seem that even Lady Lust and Satan himself tire of the sinner and like to see him suffer before Hell comes. Though Satan risks having the person repent and ultimately be saved, it would seem he can’t quite resist making an early “snack” of some of his followers.
And thus what is done in the darkness will be brought to the light.
Even a world that says sexual sin is “no big deal” turns on its own at some point. The sinner cannot escape the special shame and scorn that goes with sins of the flesh like sex, drinking, and gluttony.
On account of envy, many fellow sinners delight in pointing to someone in worse shape than they are. Somehow they think that this will make them feel better. Maybe, but only for a moment; envy is the sin that keeps on taking.
E. Domination – 22 The iniquities of the wicked enslave him, and he is caught in the toils of his sin.
There is an addictive quality to lust and especially to Internet pornography. Many reach a point where they feel enslaved. They want to stop, but feel incapable. And though their habit is costing them dearly in all the ways already described, even this cannot motivate them to stop. They are enslaved and dominated by Lady Lust.
F. Death – 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is lost.
The death described here is surely a spiritual death. However there are those, not few in number, who have physically died from syphilis, gonorrhea, and AIDS.
St. Paul says, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23). We were made to be alive in the Lord and free, but sin (in this case indulged lust) drags us to death and Hell.
Jesus also warns, but He advances a solution as well: Therefore I say to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Only the grace of God, working through our faith and God’s mercy, can cancel the death that will ultimately come upon the unrepentant slave of lust (or of any of her nasty sisters, cousins, and aunts). Scripture says, The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God … Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life … (Gal 5: 19-21; 6:7-8).
The text says that this death comes upon one who lacks discipline. The word discipline is rooted in the Latin word discere (to learn). In English, the word discipline also speaks to applying what one has learned as a way forward. And thus one can be said to engage in the discipline of learning or the discipline of science. To lack discipline is to reject sound teaching or to refuse to apply it.
The text adds that it is a great “folly” to do so. Folly is related to the word “fool.” Who is the fool? The one who refuses received and taught wisdom.
Make no mistake then, to refuse or reject God’s wisdom, handed on through the Church, is foolish, shows a lack of discipline, and brings death.
V. The Design that we should follow – 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 A loving doe, a graceful fawn–let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever. 20 Why should you be infatuated, my son, with a loose woman and embrace the bosom of an adventuress?
Yes, here is God’s design: that a man should leave his father and mother, seek for a wife, and having found her, cling wholly to her in an embrace of growing and fruitful love. This plan has its difficulties and requires sacrifice, mercy, and mutual forgiveness. But, unlike lust, God’s plan gives life. Fruitful, faithful, and lasting matrimony is God’s answer to a lustful world.
Lady Lust is no lady. And as another proverb says, Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised … An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain (Prov 31:30, 10-11).
27 Replies to “Sober Scriptural Wisdom on Avoiding the Whirlwind of Lust”
I would highlight the critical role of God’s forgiveness through confession in a lengthy battle with lust. I was a routine and casual consumer of online smut and porn, even in the full knowledge of its sinfulness, its fleeting and fake pleasure, and the emptiness that overcame me even milliseconds after use. Repeated and frequent confessions eventually worked to greatly reduce the nature and frequency of my sin (the Arlington Diocese’s “Bought with a Price” anti-porn resource was a great aid that helped me prepare for confession – I would recommend it to any pastor or anyone drowning in this sin).
I’ll pray for your continued strength Jamie… God Bless you always…
The power of the Holy Rosary is also helpful with regards to lust. Mary is the model of purity and she will help us with our own purity as well.
Great article, Msgr. For women, the idea of NOT being that Lady Lust that we see all the time everywhere around us (T.V. and movies and the music industry revel in it) has to be learned. The problem is we can see men look, and sometimes even pursue, this type of women (even those we thought were good men), and we are left at home alone. The temptation is to then spruce ourselves up to be “sexy.” You hear it all the time on the talk shows, the woman looks like a drudge but now with a makeover she’s “sexy,” and everyone applauds, and she beams.
The attitude is so unlike my image of Our Lady and the women in my family who were my role models who were lovely descent women, in dress and deportment, whom I could really look up to.
On another note, I just read a really great article on The National Review by Jonah Goldberg who observed that the rich can often times afford their sins! http://www.nationalreview.com/article/397088/perils-hypocrophobia-jonah-goldberg
He says in part, “But the most infuriating problem with elite culture is its refusal to understand that it can afford its sins — or if you prefer something more secular, its mistakes.
People with lots of financial and social capital can afford to make bad choices that would be devastating for others. Rich single parents can afford nannies and tutors and play groups and summer camps. And parenting is only one aspect of it. The elite can afford rehab. If they get a DUI, they can afford a good lawyer. If they lose their license, they can take Uber. In terms of social capital, they get second and third chances from judges, schools, employers, landlords, et al.”
What I think is important here in his insight is that often what we see being done by the social elite is monumentally destructive to those of us who don’t have the “capital” to mitigate the damage.
This is a huge insight to me, and I believe the observation would be very helpful in the instruction of the young: that they should not think they have the “capital” to get away with their sins the way they see happening in the culture around them. Kids seem to ignore the wisdom of parents because they see, even in their own schools and among people they know, the elite often don’t have to “pay” for their wrongdoing. Who doesn’t know a kid whose parents buy him a car and pay his tickets, or pay for the lawyer to get him out of a DUI? So kids believe their own parents are wrong about the consequences of sin, not recognizing the fact some have some kind of “capital” that gets them off. It’s something important for young people to understand.
What an odd world we live in! We tend to limit our understanding of lust to sexual sins–and with good reason, given the culture’s celebration of promiscuity. But there is the lust that leads to drunkenness and alcoholism, the lust that leads to obesity and the early death that it brings, the lust that leads to the accumulation of material possessions and the emptiness of the heart that these possessions entail, the lust for position and power that leaves so many people in self-pitying disappointment.
It will be interesting, Monsignor, to see how many people respond to this wonderful posting of yours on the Book of Proverbs. I have noticed that your readers respond eagerly to web postings that arouse our lust for controversy and argument, not so eagerly to sober warnings. Thank you for the sober reflection here, especially on the weight of guilt and regret that lust brings. Even the hoary old Council of Trent warned us against dwelling on our old sins and guilt, lest we think that our sins cannot be forgiven. Self-pity is a form of lust, isn’t it?
Your blog today would be a great teaching tool for teachers of high school students.It could be broken into segments and used in addition to other tools available in ‘some’ Catholic school.
Thank you.Very well done.
Your blog today would be a great teaching tool for teachers of high school students.It could be broken into segments and used in addition to other tools available in ‘some’ Catholic school.
Thank you.Very well done.
I work in a public school. Good luck with that one. As for most catholic schools and Catechism or CCD programs pushed by our American catholic conference of bishops as charlie said in “some” good luck with the most.
Lust is dangerous because our visual input is stronger than any other way we get information.
While you have pointed out how truth is in the hearing, not seeing, this problem with Lust points to the need to fill our vision with Holy Things.
While we cannot make a person want to look at the Bible or watch ETWN, we through our example, can show others the joy of living in God. Sure it’s not flashy and will not produce immediate results, but in the long run, if we keep the light burning brightly, it will draw people out of the darkness.
“Truth” could be seen in the parish church building and in the mass prior to Vatican II. Before all the sacred art, communion rails, sacred vessels, and pious actions, and especially the decent attire of the congregation were all removed. Holiness (truth) was visible in the man dressed in suit and tie as he genuflected reverently to the tabernacle, the woman in modest attire and head covering would do the same, then they would kneel and pray until mass began. Silence was everywhere. Today we see men dressed like slobs, and women in those tight “yoga pants”, mini-skirts, and low cut tops, who simply head nod (sometimes) slip into pews (or chairs), then sit and chat aloud. In those reverent days the Tabernacle was prominent, people knelt and received Jesus on the tongue, genuflections were frequent, the music was sacred, and the sent incense enhanced the visual. Truth is “seen”. Back then we were catechized by the visuals that no longer exist except in very few places.
Yes, although to be fair, the denuding of Churches began in the 1950s. The first churches in the round were built then too!
Why is it always all about porn? Why not for fornication, that is more prevalent
Our lustful ways will blind us, darken our minds and our conscious. I know from past experience as well. Only by the grace of God and the straight talk of evangelical preachers along with Mother Angelica got me off the path of destruction. Our culture is so immersed in lust and most Catholics are going along for the ride as well. All Catholics, especially the leaders, have to confront our perverted culture. The devil loves to keep our sins in the dark, but the light of Christ is needed to break the bondage, whether personally or for our nation. The silence on sexual sins within the Church does not help the sinner or the culture. And the root on the explosion of our wayward sexual ways is the silence on contraception. I know it is not vogue to confront the sinner or the culture these days within the Catholic Church, but confrontation is definitely needed with regards to the culture and our own personal sins. Who or what nation will repent if not confronted with our sins? For example, I have not known one Catholic politician who has repented from either supporting abortion or unnatural marriage with the love and mercy approach only. Where is the mercy for the unborn? Where is the mercy for the faithful spouse or children affected by our lustful ways? Where is the mercy for the innocent within our culture affected by sexual revolution sowed by adults and reaped by us all to include the children? As with all sin, our sexual sin not only affects us, but our family, our community, and our country. There is no sin which we can only keep the affects to ourselves. We can seek the mercy of Jesus Christ now, or the justice of God will come upon us, whether personally or as a nation.
This is a very important topic, because it leads many astray and potentially ruins lives and marriages. However, during my thoughts on this topic, I have to ask the hard questions. It wasn’t us who gave us our human nature. It wasn’t us who gave us original sin. Why do we all have a sinful nature because Eve induced Adam to eat an apple 5000 years ago? Things like this are either logical or illogical, and the whole original sin, sinful nature thing is illogical if we are going to be continually blamed for being bad.
Did God put us on this earth do decide who to send to heaven and who to banish to hell? Why it is convenient to say that all could be saved if they wanted to, I believe a sociologist would disagree after reading book after book about human behavior. This is the real world, after all, not some thinktank at the Vatican.
Are we just sent to heaven to worship God for eternity? Descriptions of heaven are rather vague in the Bible. Just a paradise and everything is great. Well, it is cookies and milk great or can we have some “adult fun?” After all, we are in heaven, and have already passed the test. Is everyone going to walk around in robes singing for eternity? Boring!! Maybe God just wants to be praised, and to heck on our free will by the time we get there.
Why does God allow the devil to temp us on earth? Shouldn’t the devil be banished to hell? Does this mean the devil and God are in cahoots? Well, does it? There is no reason for the devil to be waltzing around earth.
In some way, if we make it to heaven, we will be divinized. You can see a potted plant and know it to be such. That is the essence of a potted plant, in the act of knowing, can be in your intellect without effecting the existence of the potted plant. This is because the existence of the potted plant and the essence of the potted plant are separable in thought–as the act of knowing a potted plant, as such, clearly demonstrates. Now, God’s essence is the same as God’s existence. So, it is impossible to know God’s essence, in the truest sense of the word ‘know’, without being part of God’s existence–because the two, in God, essence and existence, are the same. And yet, we will still be ourselves, though changed, if, by the grace of God, we get there.
If anything in the above doesn’t make sense, I ask for correction from anyone.
I have to jump in here. There’s a lot to your thinking that is leading you away from God.
First, you imply God is to blame for giving us our weak human nature, then punishing us for falling into sin. You say, “It wasn’t us who gave us original sin.” What you are NOT saying is that the teachings about original sin only show us where we start, and how we are, and what the challenge is. The doctrine of original sin forces us to look at our unredeemed state. However, we are not to stay that way. we are told there is a solution: by having recourse to God and grace, we can overcome our worst tendencies and live decent lives and overcome sin.
Secondly, what God’s plan is or why He created us is not clear. He made all creation for His own purpose. What that ultimate purpose is we often don’t know. Whatever the case, He created mankind different from all the animals on the planet, and gave us a soul that is immortal, so that we may never die, and that we may live with Him forever. Since a soul never dies, the person who is that soul will either live with God forever or be banished from Him forever based on the choices the person makes for or against God’s ways on this earth. He created us to love, honor and worship Him in this life, and be with Him forever in the next. That is the purpose of life on earth. You can accept His invitation to live for Him, or reject Him, but the choice is solely your own. That is where your free will comes in. Many things about life you cannot choose (such as your eye color, or your talents, or your age) but you are free to choose or not choose God. And that choices has consequences.
Lastly, in heaven God Himself is our reward. We cannot even imagine what that life will be like, but things of the flesh we enjoy here on earth will not be a part of it, because those things pass away. They are not eternal. Sex is for procreation here on earth. I doubt it has a use in heaven. If you imagine heaven to be some kind of Elysian Fields of pagan mythology (a sort of good times only rendition of life on earth) then you think you’ll just be living life like on earth without any suffering or sadness, with a constant Hallelujah Chorus Sunday service in a 24/7 day, you have a very pedestrian and mistaken view of heaven.
If you are so flesh bound you cannot imagine any other joy besides the pleasures of the flesh, you surely have not met Jesus Christ and do not have a relationship with Him. You should pray much and ask God Himself to help you to understand the answers to your questions asked in sincerity. He can enlighten you so that you will understand the nature of heaven, and what you must do to get there.
As to the devil, God permits the devil’s actions to allow our free will to be really free. How can mankind be free if sin (choosing against God’s will) is not really and actually possible? If there was no devil, we would not have to make real moral choices that have real consequences and require real sacrifices. So we would not really be independent beings who have the power to accept or reject God. That is the terrifying power of our free will. We can actually reject God and choose hell.
God bless you. I’ll say a prayer you will come to know God’s plan for you.
Well, I read “The Happiness of Heaven” and “The Four Last Things.” I’ve also read countless of accounts which say we will be happy beyond our wildest dreams in heaven, and that we can’t imagine in our current human form what heaven will be like. We’re also supposed to get idealized bodies at some time. For those who continue to spout that we won’t be able to do this or that in heaven, then what are we supposed to do with these idealized bodies when all the women up there look like Miss America? I think I’m the one who dares to think outside the box, as the kids say today. I’m probably also one of the few people who have read the Bible, The Life Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich and Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta. That’s an extra 6400 pages of reading for those out there counting. Sorry, there’s no perfect answer in those books. I think of the cute story told by a priest who said a women asked if she would have her pet dog in heaven. “If that will make you happy, then your dog will be there”.
R Francis: Well, if you read all those books, then you should actually be asking God your questions while in prayer to Him, because if you are sincerely wondering, and ask with sincerity, I am positive He will answer you, either by something someone says or something you read or even with an illumination of your intellect. Yours are not goofy questions or doubting questions, but childlike questions you are sincerely puzzled about, and God does not mind if you seek answers to questions that bother you. God bless you.
Wow, too many hard questions for an easy response, 🙂 especially re. the mystery of evil and concupiscence, but this is why we need a Savior. We were created to know and love God. Because God is perfect Love, all creatures are given free will to say “yes” or “no” to this invitation of love. The fallen angels chose the latter, placing themselves beyond God’s Mercy. We have the chance to say yes, by God’s Grace, to repent, to receive mercy and to hope toward our resurrection in Christ. As to what Richard posted, ‘at present, we see indistinctly’. For God, Eternal, all is simply present. Mysterious! And no, we will neither ‘marry nor be given in marriage, but be like the Angels in Heaven.’ Remember this, Hell is much more than the absence of all that is good and holy. Heaven is much more than we can imagine. God bless.
You have done a fine job making a Human heaven and blaming God for all of our choices with your questions.
I have found that people usually don’t actually want the answers to the questions you posed, they just want to lay blame. Is that you as well?
Do you think your spouse, children, friends, parents all care for you out of obligation? Would you trust it if they did not have the choice? Are you responsible for every bad thing that has ever happened to them? Why did you allow your child to be tempted to do something bad with a friend? Certainly had you clamped down on that child with your parental control that would not have happened, right? That child living under your totalitarian regime would be blissfully happy, too, agreed?
No one is better for having everything handed to them and love not freely given is not love. Understand?
Amen. Good song too.
“Lady Lust and even Satan himself tire of the sinner and want to see him suffer before hell comes.” What form does that suffering take? It is the shame and the degradation that leads many to despair of forgiveness. The devils induce us to commit the vilest sins, but eventually, they stand before us as our accusers, and persuade us that we have placed ourselves beyond God’s mercy and forgiveness. This leads many to despair, and they take what they see as “the only way out.” This is precisely how Judas Iscariot’s fate was sealed.
just before “lust” engulfs you, and it stands st the doorway, tempting you, immediately offer the “struggle and suffering” to jesus for the conversion of sinners, keep on doing it again and again, it works
This is a great article and I wish I had had this instruction when I was young though I am not sure I would have been mature enough to appreciate it. Nevertheless, even if the wisdom does not penetrate the consciousness at the time, if one absorbs the wisdom then it is a great thing to fall back on in times of temptation. I think this article is a must-read for all young and not-so-young souls. God bless.
Amelia is onto something. I have found that whatever struggle comes from evil, turn it on itself, by using it for good. Offering it up for others defeats the evil. The temptations soon leave, because the Devil is defeating himself, it turns the table on the Devil. It makes the suffering useful, not wasted. It is the key to overcoming any suffering. And to multiply, or purify it even more than our little offerings, we can first give them to His Mother, Our Lady, who makes them even more beautiful, and she gives them to her Son. To Jesus through Mary we offer all these sufferings of the flesh, to be used as she desires. I tell you, the Devil will stay away from you if you do this every time. He is harming his works, because he is giving you something to used against him. He will flee and stay away from you. Also we must flee from those occasions of sin. Magazines with adds, Football games on TV, TV other than EWTN of course. Do not fool yourself, you can not handle even these “little” temptations. FOX News, and other news channels are using sexualized women to pull you in. Turn it off! Even the weather channels are using immodesty to dry viewers. Turn it off. Stay away from it. Any TV other than EWTN, turn it off. Otherwise you will be weakened by the adds, or camera shots. I stay away from football on TV because of the adds, and camera shots. Do not fool yourself, you can not handle it. Give it too Our Lady, pray and beg God to keep you pure. Avoid those things and places that draw you in.
The bold assaults each of us encounter so frequently as we engage with the media are serious. I am appreciative of the wisdom of Monsignor’s reflections, and the good sense and charity conveyed by the commentators. An octogenarian contemplative monk once said to me that the difficulties surrounding the practice of chastity never really all go away. My experience says that is true. But the battle is here in order to draw us closer to our deepest desire, to know the Lord. Mitigation of the imperative Our Lord has left us only serve as an impediment to intimacy with Him. Let us not be deceived by the wickedness and snares of the Adversary, or indulgent and misguided pastors.
Your points are well taken Msgr. and very well expressed. I would only comment, and I sense you yourself realized it when commenting in the wisdom being passed from father to son [generation to generation] concerning Lady Wisdom, that ‘the Woman’ to be avoided at all costs here is Lady Folly (the nemesis of Lady Wisdom). This does not undermine any of your comments on sexual lust-certainly real issues in today’s sexualized culture in the West. However, and again you actually touched on this as well, the lust (which can and often does include sexual lust) is the lust awakened in the Garden: the disoriented desire to become like God without God, as Saint Maximus the Confessor put it. This ‘lust’ does indeed incorporate sexual lust but is even more problematic and destructive ‘to the younger generation’. Those ‘adolescents’ in the 60’s who believed in free love, no responsibility, do not trust tradition, wisdom or authority, seek change for the sake of change-all became subject to, enslaved to this lust.
In other words, what Proverbs is really about is what broke down in the 60’s [not in the whole generation however] and has taken hold of hearts, minds and bodies leaving us with what we witness today. It is that lust that “Solomon” was attempting to warn the younger generation to avoid
On the father’s guidance to the children, or not as the case increasingly is of late, there’s the Malachi’s Law Legislation. I suppose this likely refers to the last chapter of the Old Testament where Malachi speaks of one final chance by re-uniting fathers with children and children with fathers.
The most grabbing part (I find) is an alarming sky rocketing in suicides by young children.
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