Impure thoughts revisited from Priestly Ponderings

Impure Thoughts revisited from Priestly Ponderings

A few people commented on this blog and I wrote it month ago before many of you had found this.  I figured it was a good time to re-post this after a few discussions on my trip and people sharing experiences in the confessional.  I think this is a topic that many of us struggle with and I hope this perspective can help people come closer to God instead of living in a trap.

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One thought on “Impure thoughts revisited from Priestly Ponderings”

  1. Making the distinction between being tempted and giving in to temptation is important in these discussions. Being tempted is not a sin, but to not resist temptation or to put oneself, unnecessarily into a situation where one knows that one is likely to give into temptation, is one. Jesus after all said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30) There is a story from the Desert Fathers (who have really practical advice on these matters, by the way) of a monk who was tempted and what he did to overcome the temptation. “There was a certain solitary living in Lower Egypt, and his fame was know to all, because alone in the church he dwelt in a desert place. And behold, by the operation of Satan a certain woman of ill fame heard of him and said to the young men, “What will ye give me if I bring down this solitary of yours?” And they agreed with her what they would surely give her. She went out at evening, and came as one that had lost her way, to his cell and when she mocked at his door, he came out. And seeing her he was troubled, saying, “How hast though come here?” And she answered him as if weeping and said, “I lost my way and so came here.” And he was shaken with pity for her, and brought her into the courtyard about his cell and himself went into his cell and shut the door. And the unhappy creature cried out, saying, “Father, the wild beasts are devouring me.” Again he was troubled, fearing the judgments of God, and said, “Whence cometh this wrath upon me?” And opening the door he brought her within.

    Then began the devil to pierce his heart as with arrows to desire her. And when he felt that these desires were from the devil, he said within himself, “The ways of the enemy are darkness: but the Son of God is light.”

    Rising, he lit the lamp. And when he burnt with desire, he said, “They that do these things go into torment. Prove thyself now, from this, if thou canst bear the everlasting fire.” And he put his finger into the flame, and when it burnt and scorched he felt it not, for the flame of, lust that was in him. And so when daylight broke, all his fingers were burned. But when the unhappy woman saw what he was doing, she became like a stone for dread.

    In the morning, the young men came to the monk, and asked him, “Did a woman come here last evening?” He said, “Yea, see there she sleeps.” And coming in they found her dead. And they said, “Father, she is dead.”

    Then, turning back the cloak that he wore, he showed them his hands, saying “See what yon daughter of the devil hath done to me, she hast cost me every finger that I have.” And telling them what had come to pass, he said, “It is written, ‘Render not evil for evil.'” And he prayed, and raised her up. And she turned from her sins and lived in chastity for the rest of her days.”

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