A running commentary by a former Anglican priest who was baptized Catholic,

kidnapped from the Church in his youth,

and found his way back through the blessings of Anglican spirituality.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fidelity

I attended a priest's workshop last year on the subject of The Theology of the Body (the series of lectures by Pope John Paul II), and was moved at the troubles that exist for men in the world today. I hear numerous stories of men who have fallen into pornography addictions. I see previews for movies that assume that all men have uncontrollable sexual urges and it is "only natural" for them to give in to these urges. These types of things give me a pit in my stomach because I realize that little is being done to combat this attack on the purity of Christian men.

I read stories about priests who have fallen into sexual sin (and various forms of sexual abuse). I have male friends whose marriages have fallen apart because they have indulged their lusts in various ways and thus driven their wives and children away from them. This is ugly and it only appears to be getting worse. Although I have always been faithful to my wife, I was not always a Christian, and can say that I know just how difficult this temptation is. The Devil wants to destroy us, and he is putting a concentrated effort into it through sexual temptation.

Our society is heavily pornographic (and this goes beyond movies, magazines, and the Internet!) and it appears that we are doing almost nothing to stem the tide. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of these men who are entrenched in this sin are trying to go through it alone. "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'", but we do not seem to have learned this fact. I am speaking to the men primarily here (but ladies, if you love your men, it would not hurt to point them to this fact in a gracious manner), but I also want the young men to be aware of this: we are created by God in a way that makes us better able to endure life's challenges if we approach them in unity.

You can call them accountability groups or men's meetings, or anything you want, but parishes should provide an opportunity for men to be together on a regular basis to encourage each other in being faithful to God. Single men need the help of others so that they do not fall to the world's approval of promiscuity, and married men need the help of others to keep themselves focused on fidelity to their wives; this is true for young men and old. Expect for the rare occasion where someone is granted a special measure of grace, there are only two kinds of men: those who struggle to resist sexual temptation, and those who are lying about it.

If there is already something happening at your home parish, get involved with it. If there is not, then see what can be done to get something started. We are being attacked, and in times of war we need the help of fellow soldiers if we are going to withstand the attacks of the evil one. Men, reach out to each other for help. Young men, ask for guidance and help from those older men who have learned faithfulness. Women, encourage your husbands and sons to seek faithfulness. Parents, speak to your boys about the challenges they are going to face, and check on them regularly to ensure that they are working to keep their hearts pure. Those who assume that they are doing fine, and have nothing to worry about, are the ones who fall the quickest because they are not prepared for the battle.

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