I'm sure that everyone reading this article knows someone, either a friend or family member who struggles with sexual impurity. This problem is widespread and in a society that is so preoccupied with sex and sexual pleasure, many people, even good Catholics, can become ensnared in the trap of slavery to sex… through addiction. Lust in all its forms, including masturbation, pornography, promiscuity or adulterous relationships, is all a part of the attack on our society in what I call the “Trinity of Evil.” It includes abortion homosexuality and sexual lust. All of these are intrinsically linked to the preoccupation with sex and the selfish, contraceptive mindset of our modern society; a mindset that is destroying our culture at the very foundation.
We have been told by the spirit of the age, the Zeitgeist, predominately through the media, that it's what you “get,” that makes you who you are. All human beings are born into this world with certain innate needs that are instilled in us at birth. However, because of the effect of Original Sin, our broken nature, these needs can become twisted and disordered. We seek to fulfill these disordered needs with “things.” However, these things money, material items, food or sex are only an attempt to fill the emptiness in our hearts where God should be. Saint Augustine, who also struggled with promiscuity and lust before his conversion, understood this when he finally came to know the Lord and said “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.”
Lust is a huge problem in our world and is probably the greatest contributor to the destruction of marriages and families. With the abundance of technological advances and media outlets, the selling of the human body has become big, big business and it feeds on the brokenness of men and women. Lust is an inordinate desire for sexual pleasure and involves engaging in the sexual act outside the context of God’s intended purpose of marital communion. Saint Augustine teaches us that when we indulge in the sins of the flesh, as with any mortal sin, the intellect becomes darkened and God cannot be seen or recognized as Truth. In fact, the allure of lust will lead people to commit a wide variety of subsequent sins.
When a person is lost in lust, they become enslaved to this obsessive desire and their understanding of good becomes obscured. In his Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas said “this act (simple understanding) is hindered by lust, according to Daniel 13:56, ‘Beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thy heart.’ In this respect we have ‘blindness of mind.’.” Because lust clouds even simple understanding, this blindness will affect every aspect of a person’s life.
To illustrate this point, people often wonder how anyone could commit the sin of sexually abusing a child. But since lust cuts a person off from God and their intellect becomes blinded, that person loses their ability to correctly judge right and wrong. He (or she) acts out for one purpose that of sexual pleasure. As in any addiction, the addict will often neglect family, job, and any other responsibility in order to pursue the distorted desire, even when he recognizes the destructive nature of his compulsion. Simply put, lust destroys a person’s humanity.
It is important to point out that a person enslaved to this sexual sin does not start out to become as sexual addict nor do all who lust become sexual predators. Yet, even a person who only indulges in lust occasionally can have his life and relationships negatively affected.
To quote Catholic Pro-life speaker, Barbara McGuigan, host of the show Voices on Virtue on EWTN,
“Satan, the master deceiver, loves to feed himself on the hearts of children, as well as, the hearts of young people and adults. He knows the intensity of the sexual appetite, and how sexual impurity can prevent us from seeing the truth by clouding the intellect through sensuality. The deadly sin of lust is deadly because it kills our ability to truly love. How Satan loves to corrupt a soul by lust! He knows with his angelic intellect that lust causes a blindness of understanding. Fr. John Hardon explained, ‘When man is brought down to the level of a brute beast, he no longer possesses a sense of law, or conscience, or honor, or gratitude, or fidelity or friendship. When lust quenches the light of the soul, any advice, counsel, warning, or authority of parents is disregarded. The heart becomes hardened. A person steeped in lust has a hatred of all spiritual things, such as, prayer, sacraments, the Word of God, Catholicism and all who teach how to be holy. A lustful person has a hatred of all that is holy, which leads him to infidelity. He know longer believes in the God who loves him, in Heaven and Hell, and eternity. There is no God to judge him’.
“It’s not hard to understand that darkness of the mind, hardness of the heart, hatred of religion, and disbelief, lead to despair and sometimes to final impenitence, which of course, is a serious sin against the Holy Spirit. Could this be why our Blessed Mother at Fatima said that ‘More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than any other reason’?”
And I couldn’t agree with more! The time is NOW for all True Knights to rise up and spread the saving message of Jesus Christ and His Church. Only the Catholic Church, as established by Jesus Christ himself, has the means that can truly save marriages and families from the clutches of the devil. There is only one thing that can fill the emptiness that resides in the hearts of all men and women who struggle with lust… Jesus Christ, the Truth that sets all men and women free.
Education is the key. We cannot just sit by quietly and do nothing. Each and every Catholic needs to do what they can to learn more about this issue and what we can do about it. Just some suggestions, take a class on “The Theology of the Body” or a class on how you can protect your family from internet pornography that your diocese may offer. If no class exists, suggest it to your pastor or bishop. You can also invite speakers who specialize in this issue, like Jason Evert, Steve Wood, Christopher West or even me to come and speak to your parish, diocese, or conference. Ask your pastor to address this issue more often from the pulpit. I realize that many pastors may be uncomfortable with this, to which I would also suggest that they too seek education on the severity of this concern. Additionally, come to TrueKnights.org and learn of ways to get help. There are many articles, resources, and materials available to help educate you.
If you suffer from addiction to lust, the first thing you need to do is go to Confession… as soon as possible. Then find an accountability partner, someone you can call for help. At True Knights we have a recovery program available called Combat Training which is personal confidential purity coaching that includes accountability. However, space is limited for personal one-on-one purity coaching. To help reach even more people who suffer from this issue we have our Purity Corps recovery groups that are just in the beginning stages of being placed in parishes around the country. Perhaps you are called to form a group in your parish. Contact us to find out more.
The bottom line is that in this world of great darkness, it is imperative for all Christians to wake up, and by the grace of God, do what they can to bring the Truth of Christ to the world. We are called to intercede for and inform this world, a world that is so hungry for fulfillment, of God's divine and holy plan for human sexuality and destroy Satan's perverse and twisted grip on humanity. Lust is keeping many in the dark, perhaps even someone you know. We must shine the Light of Christ into this sick and dying world and send the devil running for cover into the pits of hell… like the nasty cockroach he is! The first move of any battle should always involve prayer. We are all called to pray, fast, offer up our sufferings and ask the communion of Saints to intercede for the lost souls of this world. Holy warriors, put on the Armor of God. Time is short and we have much work to do! Pray for God's grace, mercy and holy power in this War with eternal consequences!
(Kenneth Henderson is the founder of the True Knights apostolate which has the special mission of helping men and all people become free of addiction to pornography. He has appeared on EWTN’s Life on the Rock and The Journey Home and is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo. Ken is available to speak at your parish or conference on many topics such as the dangers of pornography, the authentic Catholic family life and Catholic apologetics. For more information visit TrueKnights.org, email Info@TrueKnights.org or call 800-950-2008.)