Sunday, July 06, 2008

Shameful Things

The more I read about St. Dominic Savio, the more I admire him. I wish I had his courage in a situation such as this (emphasis mine):

Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.

One day, a fellow brought a magazine full of bad pictures to school. In a minute, a group of boys had gathered around him to see it.

"What's up?" wondered Dominic, and he, too, went to look. Just one peek was enough for him. He grabbed the magazine and tore it to pieces! "Poor us!" he cried in the meantime, "Did God give us eyes to look at such things as this? Aren't you ashamed?"

"Oh, we were just looking at these pictures for the fun of it," said one boy.

"Sure, for fun," answered Dominic, "and in the meantime you're preparing yourselves to go to hell!"

"Oh, what's so wrong about looking at these pictures anyway?" another fellow demanded.

Dominic had a ready answer. "If you don't see anything wrong," he said sadly, "this is even worse. It means you're used to looking at shameful things!"

No one said anything after that. They all realized that Dominic was right.

I have gotten too used to "looking at shameful things." Not that the beauty of a woman is shameful, but when I take that beauty and pervert it so that it becomes all about me and my lust, it becomes most shameful. I can't speak for the women in the pictures.

I've written before about my lust, and I am ashamed of it. I willingly participate in things that I often deplore ("methinks he doth protest too much," anyone?). It's been my method of coping with stress, just zoning out and letting nothing else matter.

Really, it's just another form of spirituality, albeit a false one. I trust that the image of This Woman will make me feel better. If not her, then maybe the Next Woman. It's like alcohol; one is too many, and a million aren't enough.

AquinaSavio (get it?), a modern-day youth in the mold of St. Dominic, mentioned recently what I need in order to be victorious over lust: Prayer. As he cites St. John Vianney (emphasis again mine):

We can see too how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there is no moment of the day when he tempts us more than at prayer. He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer. However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he is certain to have him for himself. If you wish to understand this even better, consider since when you have been unable to resist whatever temptations the Devil put in your way and since when you have left the door of your hearts open to the four winds--is it not since you began to get careless with your prayers, or have been saying them from habit, by routine only, or just to get rid of them, and not to please God? Yes, my dear brethren, from the moment that we neglect them, we move with big steps towards Hell: we shall never return to God if we do not have recourse to prayer. Yes, my dear children, with a prayer well said, we can command Heaven and earth, and all will obey us.

Guilty as charged. May I find God now!


Anonymous said...

You are a strong person. If I may point out, even those who do not have your strength of faith and who have fallen much harder to the same false god are continuing to be strong (you know of whom I speak). You will do well in your ongoing struggle. Have faith.

It can be tough. I fight daily. Let us keep eachother in our thoughts.


paramedicgirl said...

Wow, that quote from St John Vianney, (who happens to be my favourite saint) is amazingly right on! If only more people could see it.

I am going to borrow this quote from you for my blog. I'll give you a link back.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Lust...every mans struggle... you are not alone my friend...

Cygnus said...

I thank you all for your comments and support.

As I have to be reminded constantly, my freedom from lust is just One Day At A Time. I've been looking for the Silver Bullet that would take away my lust, but I just don't think that's going to happen with me. For example, I don't drink alcohol, so I can't really pat myself on the back for something which doesn't tempt me anyway. For victory over lust, I will need God.

I have also appreciated the courage of women who have been stepping forward and facing their lust as well, such as excessive flirtation or dressing inappropriately in order to get attention. That being said, women aren't my problem: *I've* got the problem, and I would likely still have it even if all the women in the world were beamed to Venus next week.

May I want what I have (*smooch* to LC), rather than trying to get what I want.