The opening lines of Pope Benedict’s encyclical on Hope was, “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24).”
There is hope! Really! The oppression, compulsion, and insidious snare of impurity can be overcome through cooperating with the power of Christ.
Hope is the theological virtue through which God sends His grace!
Father Ken VanHaverbeke
Seven Steps to Freedom:
- Eliminate the temptation. There needs to be a period of abstinence before you can make progress. This may mean unplugging from the internet! Yes, there was life before the internet!
- Limit your access to the internet through:
- Time Limits
- Site Limits
- Accountability Partner
- U-N-P-L-U-G it!!! Really!
- Go to Confession on a weekly basis to the same confessor
- Don’t do it alone: get help. A spiritual director and perhaps professional help
- Pray always; Pray unceasingly
- Increase your desire to be holy
- Be wary of sinning against the virtue of hope through presumption or despair
Seven Steps to Freedom: Focus on Step Seven:
“Be wary of sinning against the virtue of hope through presumption or despair.”
There are two sins against hope: presumption and despair. Here is an example of both:
“Oh, it won’t matter if I look at porn. God understands me and will forgive me anyway. I love Him, but I can’t stop. He will understand.” Presumption Number One!
“I can do it! I can overcome this addiction myself. I am strong enough!” Presumption Number Two!
“I will never be able to overcome this! Never! Why bother trying? I might as well as give in completely!” Despair
Hope is sandwiched between presumption and despair. There is a moral principle that says “virtue stands in the middle.” It goes without saying, both sins against hope are from the Devil.
“All serious and upright human conduct,” Pope Benedict insists, “is hope in action.”
What is “serious and upright human conduct?” Here’s a short list that might help. Sometimes people struggling with purity need a quick alternative game plan. Try some of these:
Breath! Sometimes all that is necessary is to breath, and breath deep. Oxygen is known to calm persons down. Breath!
- Call your mother? Call anyone who you have respect for or whom you honor. Call a relative who might be lonely.
- Get a life! Socialize. Go to a movie. Go out to eat with someone. There should be 1-2 people in your life that you can call at 2am when you are feeling low. If not, get out there and find 1 or 2.
- Get a hobby. One man learned to play golf. When he was tempted to sin, he picked up one of the many golf magazines he had in the house and the temptation went away. Find something you are passionate about: painting, writing, walking, running, or singing.