A Greater Hope

Jesus says: “On the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot.” This is a call to radical detachment from earthly things.

A good strategy developed in a recent men’s group discussion is to answer the question: “What is it that Satan wants to remain hidden?.” I found that it led to a much more involved and intimate conversation, and seemingly fueled fruitful discussions throughout my week, so in that spirit, I write this reflection.

The Flesh

As a young man, one of the things the world has taught me is that nothing should come between me, and my secret desire for sexual pleasure in any way it presents itself, especially in pornography and masturbation. The deep original heart of this desire matter is good and beautiful, as a natural desire for a holy marriage, intimacy, and family life has been developed in me throughout my whole life, and I know these are of God. But as I have seen, without a courageous and loving instruction in these desires: the spirit of the world, the fallen flesh, and the accusing devil work together very effectively to coerce originally well-meaning desirers like me into having a hardly acknowledged, unspoken death grip on the disordered coping mechanisms which falsely represent the fulfillment of those desires.

At its root, this disorder is just a reflection of the greater disorder of accepting the lie that we need to be dependent on ourselves. In our question of whether we are to be satisfied, we can imagine without much effort Satan muttering in our corner: “Did God really say?….” In the habitual acceptance of this lie, one is not satisfied, but rather is starved, becoming hungrier, and as a result many sinners encounter the paralyzing fear that no one will ever be able to satisfy them, including God. This is the opposite of true, demonstrates our injury by original sin, and is just grounds for eternal damnation. Using fear and ignorance as their primary tools, Satan and the other fallen angels seek to trick every child of God to get down on its knees to be eternally degraded and destroyed.

A serious undertaking to become detached from our enslaving sins needs to be undertaken by so many if we are to let Jesus Christ into our lives. If I am unwilling to offer up all my desires to God and wait on Him to take me where He wants me to go, then I am unwilling to stop doing what I am doing and respond to the Son of Man revealed when He comes, and that is a concerning thought.

Turn to God

One thing which makes me so grateful is the fact that through my addiction to pornography and masturbation, with much recalibration continuously, I have learned how to turn to God. In bringing, very honestly and explicitly, what it is that I am yearning for directly to the one who is in love with me, I see a previously un-encountered stream of living water from which I can drink from and lay beside in trusting adoration and gratitude towards the most beautiful One. Without Him, I would be dead, but with Him, if I am willing to continuously turn to Him, I will be satisfied.

In learning this, I have seen a slow unfolding of a great transformation into a life of more Faith, Peace, trust, healing, friendship, diligence in work, vulnerability in conversation, desire to pray, patience, desire for perfection, ability to consistently communicate with people, planning ability, capacity to experience intense emotion, etc. It is amazing. Nonetheless, I am still a sinner, and there are still many problems, but it is so absolutely inspiring and gratifying to know that those will be consumed in the tempering heat of the love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, if I always offer my heart’s yearning to my Father as a valuable gift I give to Him first.

Union with God

Though at times in my life, I see the death-grip of mistrust tightening, that fearful hunger grows, I now have a teacher to go to, someone who I have faith will adequately fulfill my yearning, though maybe not in the way I expected. I now know what my mission is, and that is to convince myself and others of their sin, and to encourage them in their efforts to fight it tooth and nail, so as to be brought to an intimate relationship with the Holy Trinity.

Yes, the path will be long and painful, but it will be meaningful and delightful, because it will be with others and on a trajectory towards final satisfaction in union with God. Let us experience the foretastes of this union now on Earth in virtue, and let those great experiences be what causes us to Love God and others for real all the way to death and into eternity.

[Readings: Wis 13:1-9; Lk 17:26-37]

Matthew Kelly

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