Thursday, July 18, 2013

Praying away the... you know...



Lust.

Some saints did it.  Remember the story of St. Francis who threw himself into the thorn bush and rolled around in his effort to resist temptations against chastity?

Many today mock the very idea of praying and fasting and doing violence to oneself to drive away any sort of disordered passion. 

I found the story of another extraordinary saint who resisted temptations to lust to a heroic degree...
Venerable John the Much-Suffering pursued asceticism at the Kiev Caves Lavra, accepting many sorrows for the sake of virginity.
The ascetic recalled that from the time of his youth he had suffered much, tormented by fleshly lust, and nothing could deliver him from it, neither hunger nor thirst nor heavy chains. He then went into the cave where the relics of St Anthony rested, and he fervently prayed to the holy Abba. After a day and a night the much-suffering John heard a voice: “John! It is necessary for you to become a recluse, in order to weaken the vexation by silence and seclusion, and the Lord shall help you by the prayers of His monastic saints.” The saint settled into the cave from that time, and only after thirty years did he conquer the fleshly passions.
Tense and fierce was the struggle upon the thorny way on which the monk went to victory. Sometimes the desire took hold of him to forsake his seclusion, but then he resolved on still greater effort. The holy warrior of Christ dug out a pit and with the onset of Great Lent he climbed into it, and he covered himself up to the shoulders with earth. He spent the whole of Lent in such a position, but the burning of his former passions did not leave him. - Finish reading here.

St. John the Much-Suffering came through his struggles successfully.  However, today spiritual directors would naturally warn people against becoming too 'tense' or too 'fierce' in their struggle against vice, no one wants to be discomforted or sad of course, but sometimes we really do need to 'do violence' to ourselves to avoid sin.  Especially in the summer.

Pray it away.  You can do it.

Apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5

19 comments:

  1. Personally, I have learned to call upon the Holy Name of Jesus-over and over again as long and as many times as it takes. Simply praying it or saying it out loud..."Jesus", no matter the temptation.The enemy cannot withstand the sound of the Holy Name. It also gives a fresh annointing of healing grace and protection.

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  2. I think we sometimes definitely need to do violence to ourselves when battling lust. This may not include diving into a bunch of brambles, nor going under a cold shower but I think neither can be excluded. I think you have to arrive at the point where you can say that you'd really rather die than commit a mortal sin in thought, word or deed. Now, granted most would think you were mentally unstable today for saying such a thing. Holy water works wonders. As Mari Kate said, calling on the Holy Name of Jesus. I find saying, "By Thy Precious Blood O Jesus wash my mind and cleanse my heart of all disordered desires and affections" helps a lot.

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  3. Terry,

    '"I generally avoid temptation..unless I can't resist it!"

    "Especially in the summer" Oh my friend your lucky then..fall hikes..apre ski, fireplaces, red wine, bourbon...the year is full of em!

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    1. Because I don't think I did.

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    2. Terry,

      The first quote was from Mae West...(cause it just isn't gay enough that I am posting to a Catholic blog about praying the gay away, I had to use a quote from her...) and the summer quote was from you.

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  4. BTW - this post is just a take off on 'pray the gay away' - and people who disparage that.

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    1. I'm confused, is the gay person supposed to pray away his/her/its own gayness or are straight people supposed to use prayer as gay repellent?

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  5. If you could do that by yourself, why would Jesus have had to die for you? Not being snarky, here, just wondering.

    Me, I need a Savior because I don't even know the depth of the wickedness of my heart. I know I can't save myself through will power,because I've tried it and failed numerous times. Thank God, I don't need to, because Jesus did it and continues to do it for me. I'm with Mari Kate.

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    1. Oh T - no one can do that by themselves - of course we need a Saviour - did I give another impression here?

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  6. I think the "doing violence" to ourselves, whatever physical form it takes, is just the avenue we use to open our minds and hearts to cooperate with whatever grace our Lord chooses to give us. We show by our actions how we want to dispose ourselves to work with our Lord in His grace. I too often have failed in this regard, being so attached to myriad sins. I've been meditating since my last Confession a week ago ... just what do I need to do to truly amend my life? Am I serious about amending my life? Change is hard.

    I like both Mary Kate and Servus' suggestions.

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    1. I'm tempted to become an alcoholic.

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  7. One added note - I was just trying to offer helpful advice to Mercury.

    What?

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  8. I probably should add a clarification. The lives of the saints demonstrate the power of prayer and obedience to the Gospel. Prayer and fasting is a way out of sin - in no way does this mean relying on ones own strength - what a wild misunderstanding of prayer that is! Prayer, fasting, the sacraments are the means. I'm not at all suggesting that people bury themselves in the dirt as this saint did. However, the saints demonstrate the efficacy of prayer and fasting and penance as a way out of sin. Matt Talbot never had AA or therapists, he relied on the power of Christ.

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  9. Hey, Terry! I'm a mother of 9 children. How about keeping busy to combat such things -- good old manual labour? As St. John of God was advised, instead of whipping oneself to blood in order to overcome your faults, why not do oneself violence and go visit some dear old men and ladies at a nursing home, and hold their hands, wash their feet, and listen to their stories? How about good old friendship -- getting out of yourself to combat this noon day devil? What about getting married and having nine kids! I assure you you'll never have time to be tempted in this regard, if you have nine kids, and keep busy. You'll be lucky if you get a wink of sleep and you'll be happy as Larry... whoever he is. "Happiness consists in being fruitful" Mother Teresa.

    I met my husband on http://www.straphael.net Great way to be chaste!

    God bless you!

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