Good morning Father Angelo,
I feel really anguished. I deeply love my Lord and Most Holy Mary (they are very dear to me, I consider them true Father, Friend and Brother, and true Mother) and I want to be all theirs. Even though I do not think I am called to a priestly or monastic life, I would like to be it as a layman, in everyday life (since this is our mission as Christians). I strive to live as a true Christian every moment of my life, I regularly attend Holy Mass (I also try to go during the week beside on Sundays and Solemnities), I love to pray, to adore and to contemplate my Lord in silence, reciting the Rosary (I try to do it every day) is my opportunity to contemplate the Trinity and Mary, to talk with Her. I read the Bible very willingly (it is for me a source of comfort, courage, strength, hope), I try to confess at least once a month and I try my best to imitate Jesus and Mary by entrusting myself and consecrating myself to them: this is the only way I can really succeed. Everyone knows how much I believe and I do not miss an opportunity, when it happens, to give witness to my Faith, in the hope that it will be a spark for others, as much as it can.
Yet I fall into sin. It is human nature (it is impossible to be perfect), but there is one sin that hurts me particularly, the one I fight most by praying, confessing whenever it happens, and trying to avoid, that is masturbation. It does not happen often, but it happens, and I almost feel out of my mind when I do it. I am 18 years old, I am not engaged, unfortunately, indeed I really like a girl whom I think is the right one (at least for now) because she is beautiful, very similar to me in character, and a practicing Christian: she is committed, like me, in community life (it would be nice to have a girlfriend with whom to share the Faith as well). I entrust myself to the Lord even if he has left me alone for now. I do not miss having a girl, thanks to Him, because I often forget it, but I admit I am a handsome boy (after all, we all are his masterpieces and “wonderfully made”, as the Psalm states). It is true that sometime this loneliness makes me suffer, but I am 100% sure that He will give me a hundredfold, if not more, happiness at the right time in whatever way He has established for me.
Let’s get back to the point: I sporadically use pornographic material, sometimes homosexual, but I am 100% sure that I am not gay because I do not agree with this choice; I feel compassion for gays and I see them as sinners, like everyone else, who need love and forgiveness. Moreover, I do not like pornography for a lot of human and religious reasons: it is a lie, a loss of human dignity, surely caused by a great suffering and despair. Yet, it happens. I do not know what to do anymore, thereforeI think… I know that Jesus Christ loves me the same way, that nothing changes towards me, as for him…but I feel scared, I do not know why… I suffer if I disappoint Him and I do not want to deprive myself of Him, of the Holy Spirit, I am so well when He is there, what if I deprive myself of the Eternal Prize precisely because of this sin? I am terrified of not being able to enjoy God when this life will have passed, I have the great desire and the great hope of singing, together with the Angels, to God and the Virgin. Excuse me for the long enough outburst, but I needed it; I also feel a bit stupid, forgive me. Perhaps behind a screen I find better words to describe how I feel. I have always been too nervous talking about all this with my priest even though I love him very much, I talk to him about me and ask him for advice, or with other priests in general. It always ends up with me saying less and less, until I just stop talking.
Thank you, and sorry for the trouble.
May Jesus and Mary always support you!
Response from the priest
1. I would like to grasp the central point of your email: “I know that Jesus Christ loves me the same way, that nothing changes towards me, as for him… but I feel scared, I do not know why…”. It is true: the Lord loves us the same, infinitely, always, and madly.
The problem is not in his love, but in our willingness or ability to welcome him.
When you commit a mortal sin, you commit a serious action because in fact you close yourself to the love of the Lord.
And you immediately feel that the Lord ceases to be the life of your life.
Not because He does not want it, but because you have thrown him out.
2. Saint Thomas says: “Because grace is caused in man by the presence of God, like light in the air by the presence of the sun, as the prophet Ezekiel says: “And there I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory” (Ez 43,2).”
The same happens in our soul: the personal presence of God illuminates it and makes it shine.
With mortal sin this presence ceases. It remains without splendor and as in the dark.
If it was just that, patience.
But in mortal sin one remains exposed to the action of the common adversary and acts under his influence.
3. This is why I understand well why you write: “I suffer if I disappoint Him”.
Yes, for a dish of lentils like the ancient Esau, you feel discouraged.
Those who live permanently in grace, as it generally is for your life, know what this discouragement is.
They know what it means to feel deprived of Him and of the Holy Spirit, which is the blessed light of life that fills the inmost of our heart, as said in the Veni Sancte Spiritus.
4. Nor is the admonition read in the letter to the Hebrews to be despised: “Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace?” (Heb 10,29).
St. Thomas says that he considers the Blood of the covenant unclean whoever does not purify himself with that blood and considers it as the blood of animals.
Likewise, even those who “purified by Baptism sin by returning to their own vomit (cf. 2 Pt 2:22)” consider it profane (Commentary on the letter to the Hebrews, h.l.).
5. I recommend you to make your attendance at Confession more frequent, regardless of the presence of grave sins.
A person with a spiritual life as intense as yours deserves to go to confession at least fortnightly.
Yet, better weekly.
Confession is a source of divine energy, of grace.
Not only does it heal wounds, but it also prevents them.
6. If you will do so, I am sure that you will eternally thank God for having received and accepted this inspiration.
May the Resurrection of the Lord, that we celebrate tomorrow, help you to follow Jesus ever more closely, so that you never leave him.
May the risen Jesus fill you with the power of his resurrection.
I accompany you with my prayer and I bless you.
Translated by Chiara P.
Proof edited by Sara Bellei