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Thanks! Looking forward to beating this addiction with God's help.
Anyone up for another prayer challenge?
Thanks Ambrose for your reply. I went yesterday and it had been six weeks sine my last. The Priest was great, and as you said, he skillfully administered the sacrament as a counseling opportunity. We discussed things like being constantly aware of ourselves, our actions, and the stuff we say. We also talked about recognizing trigger points that lead us into sin and anticipating these, avoiding them, or using prayer if they cannot be avoided.
Toward the end I expressed to him that it was "great to be back," and he replied that he has seen me at church services, and it is uplifting to him. This, I think, is what the sacrament of Reconcilliation is supposed to be like.
Again, thanks, Ambrose, and here's wishing you the Peace of Christ every day of your life!
Wow, Mickster, your post was so succinct and on target! Thank you! My thoughts mirror yours, and I aspire to being clean for 300 days (a milestone you are quickly approaching) and beyond. Obviously you know a thing or two about discipline, self control, and perseverance.
Again, thanks; and wishing you Peace.
Ok, I have a "confession" to make and with it, an implied question. My "confession" is that I am hoping, at some point, for a wet dream! Silly, I guess, but...there it is. I put confession in quotes because I'm not sure that's wrong. Is it?
I admit my attitude has been a little questionable: I'm thinking, OK God, I gave up porn, masturbation, fantasy, I'm avoiding things that might get me into trouble -- can't I at least have a dream I enjoy?
I've been thinking about dreams a lot, because I noticed, weeks ago, that my dream me has been refusing all temptations, just as I have been in real life. Admirable, but comically frustrating! So I've been telling myself, when I go to bed, "you don't have to refuse when you're asleep"!
Since I haven't had many awake struggles to deal with regarding chastity -- thank God! -- my nofap journal has been more about dreams lately. That's where the "action" is (but isn't!) so to speak.
I think today's Gospel speaks loudly to those of us struggling with the grave sins of PMO:
Gospel Lk 12:35-38
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”
On reading today's Reflection, the central point is further exemplified:
October 20, 2015 by Tomara Whitney Creighton University's English Department
Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Be vigilant at all times and pray.” The readings today set us up for preparedness. We never know what is going to happen. We never know when we will be called upon. We need to be ready for anything any time. We do not know the time, the hour or the day. The servants do not know when their master will return, so they need to be ready any time. Even if he comes back in the middle of the night, they need to be ready to do what he needs. If he comes in the night and finds them asleep, he will not be pleased to have to wake them. But if he comes in the night and they are waiting up, ready to do what he needs right away he will be pleased. He will be so pleased that he will reward them.
I’m editing a book now about a man whose wife was killed in a car accident. He didn’t get a chance to say good-bye. They had unresolved issues that now could not get resolved. They thought they had more time to work things out, but they did not. We may think we have more time to work things out. We may think we have more time to get our lives right. We may think we have more time to get our affairs in order, but we might not.
We need to be like the servants who are ready for their master at any moment, because we do not know the moment. When Jesus comes for us, we need to be ready. We need to be able to say, “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” We need to be vigilant at all times. We need to be ready when the Lord comes. We can’t be asleep; we can’t assume we have more time. We do not know the time, so we need to be ready anytime, ready to do his will.
We cannot afford to live in a state of grave sin for even one minute of one day. Sexual sins (and PMO) are for the most part Mortal Sins. How much clearer could it be? There is no wiggle room here! God calls on us to refrain from these sinfull ills completely and 100% of the time. I pray that the Lord may give me the strength to continue living a chaste and obedient life. A 90-day goal of staying clean is not enough of a commitment to Jesus Christ who died on the cross. I cannot afford to relapse, and I will put that possibility completely out of my mind.
May the Peace and strength of the Lord be with you, my friends
I don't think it's wrong to hope for it, Sep. The sin is when you take action and cause an orgasm to happen. I've kind of hoped for this also at times, but I think it is more likely to happen to teenage boys. I remember waaaay back when I was a teenager, and I dreaded that it would happen to me because of the embarrassment the next day. Lately I just try to put the whole thing out of my mind because hoping for a wet dream is to me pretty pointless.
Pointing out that there are women on this forum (and possibly on this thread), so it's not just a male problem. But good points.
What is the ruling on masturbation in orthodox Christianity? What solution does it have to stop masturbating?
The ruling is the same as in Catholicism, I believe. It's a sin, because it's sexual activity outside the Mystery (the Orthodox equivalent term for Sacrament) of Marriage. http://oca.org/questions/dailylife/churchs-view-of-masturbation
As far as solutions, the solutions proposed have been varied, especially since Orthodox tradition tends to be more diffuse than Catholic tradition, as the Orthodox Churches have a less centralized hierarchy (though still more centralized than Protestant Churches). For a mystical approach, check out the quote I posted above, by St. John Climacus. As far as a pragmatic approach, one teaching I've heard is that the human self has three "powers": the perceptive power, the appetitive power and the incensive power. The perceptive power is what deals with perception, and is supposed to reflect God like a mirror. The appetitive power is what deals with desire, and is supposed to desire good for all, love for God and neighbor. The incensive power is what deals with the drive to do things, and it is supposed to be dedicated to doing good works. When you get any one of them out of whack, various dispositions towards sin result. Note that this is not the explanation for why sin exists in the world, it's just an explanation of how our God-given faculties can be distorted and lead us astray. According to this teaching, lust is the result of a misguided appetitive power. The prescription for this is usually abstaining from the thing desired (which makes sense). Often it manifests as fasting, but it can and should be tailored to the needs of the individual. In our case, abstaining from sexual activity. I'm still looking for more wisdom from the Orthodox tradition, though, as to how to put this into practice.
Note: I am not a priest, so don't take my remarks as complete or definitive. I'm only repeating what I've learned about from conversations with my other Orthodox friends.
Wow, Ze'ev, your knowledge in these things is impressive! I am trying to become much more educated on all things Catholic, and I know that I have a long, long way to go. That's why we pray to the One who knows all!
Thanks, Dom! My knowledge comes primarily from a lot of studying over the last few years of discernment leading up to my catechism. I am less informed on the Catholic tradition, but I'm eager to learn more. God is our wisdom.
Pray for me, a sinner
I failed again. It's been difficult. I was really, really tired today since I stayed up until two in the morning working on school work. Furthermore, I've been in kind of a general slump lately. My spirituality has felt more penitential, rather than relational or devotional, and I'm not sure why. Penitence is, of course, useful and important, but true repentance is wrapped up in joy and love, and right now faith just feels like a burden.
I thought the below Reading from today was pretty applicable to what we are all trying to do here. I think that the essence of being freed from sin doesnt mean that we won't struggle or even fail but that there is a way out. I know for myself sometimes I feel I will never be free from PMO but that is a deception of the devil.
We can be free of this but it takes work.
Now you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature.
For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity
and to lawlessness for lawlessness,
so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.
But what profit did you get then
from the things of which you are now ashamed?
For the end of those things is death.
But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God,
the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,
and its end is eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
hmmm I've noticed a theme with spirituality and absence from masturbation, all forms of Christianity, Islam and even Buddhism encourages one to leave his private parts. Perhaps these old teachings are not leading us in the wrong direction. I want to be improve my spiritual side since I've never sat down and practiced anything in my life, every religion has an act of sitting and prayer while clearing your thoughts which is basically meditation. I've excised my body for half my life, maybe at this stage I should also think about the mind too. You know what they say, if you can conquer the thoughts that go into your mind then you can conquer your own body, as your thoughts control your actions and manifest energies which are either positive or negative. Not trying to be deep or anything but its just something that just occurred to me as I read your posts. Also I've read in post on here in an Islamic fapstranauts thread and in scientific research that fasting is really beneficial to the human body in many ways but the main thing it does it improve the immune system, its really fascinating to me. A fitness instructor at my old gym was the one who pointed this out to me and said he does it every month towards the last week of the month and says it also promotes healthy muscle growth without adding excess fat.
Also, I should note that Orthodox fasting (except on Holy Friday/Good Friday) is not abstaining from all food, but only from meat, dairy products and sometimes wine and oil. So it may not be quite what you're thinking, but yes, fasting does have its benefits.
A particular saint who's been helpful to me lately is St. John the Long-Suffering of the Kiev Caves. I'll post a link to his life, but basically he was a monastic who struggled with lust from his youth. To be able to fully kill his passions, he became a hermit and buried himself up to his chest in the earth. He prayed and prayed to be delivered, and finally had a spiritual encounter (which I won't fully describe because I've forgotten the exact details) in which he was delivered.
I'm working on writing an Akathist to him (for those unfamiliar, and Akathist is a form of poetry/prayer-hymn that can be prayed/chanted by laity and is traditionally addressed to either the Theotokos, Christ or a particular saint (though I have also seen Akathists to the Trinity)). I'd be happy to share it if people would be interested once it's finished.
All good truth, but I have trouble with St. Paul. He's kind of like the contrarian uncle of my Heavenly family (if I may speak slightly irreverently. I believe God and the saints in Heaven have a sense of humor). Everything he says is true, but I have trouble finding grace for my journey in his words. They embody the Christian struggle well, but they lack that gentle clarity and insight of St. Peter, or even the slightly more firm but deeply loving tone of St. James the Just.
Hello my brothers and sisters,
today, 28th of October, is Saint Jude feast day and I'd like to share this moment with you all.
St. Jude (the man in my avatar) is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes and one of Jesus’ original twelve Apostles. He preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he made profound differences in people’s lives as he offered them the Word of God. I paray Him every day and He's my personal patron saint who is powerfully helping me in my fight against PMO, social life and professional career.
These are my brief testimonies: After making a 9-day-novena I got a job offer for a decent position in a place I had always dreamed to live in. Today, on His feast day, I received a phone call for an interview with a big big company for a really interesting position. With His sacred help I reached almost 70 days clean without PMOing (my only best streak was 21 days).
If I think about these situations i can only smile and say him "thanks". That's way I always mention him in my words and spread His name among fellow Catholic and not.
If you're struggling against something difficult, you feel desperation or hopelessness in your life, need help for something seeming impossible or simply need divine protection, call for His help and He will be there for you in every moment. Here you can find an English page with prayers in His honour: http://www.stjudenovena.org/index.html
I'm faithful Saint Jude will change our lives for good.
God bless you all!