Henri Nouwen, in his book “Clowning in Rome”, reminds us that our thought process is constant. We as humans “can’t help but think.” We, however, as humans can choose what we think about. When we choose to constantly think about and of God, we begin to pray unceasingly!
It works! Really!!!
Father Ken VanHaverbeke
Here's how you do it! Move through thought!
As Catholics we understand being in the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, the Presence of God! Would we dare look at pornography on a cell phone in the Adoration Chapel? Why not? Because we are in the presence of the Lord! Duh!!!
Would there be times when we might have a lustful thought in the Adoration Chapel? Sure! That’s normal. Really it is! So what do you do?
When you have a lustful thought in the Adoration Chapel before the Presence of God you would recognize you are having a sinful thought, be a little embarrassed, then simply move “through” the thought by talking to Jesus and moving to another thought. You would never think about acting on the lustful thought in the Chapel.
If you can do this inside the Chapel, then you can do it outside the Adoration Chapel. Praying unceasingly means we think and live in the presence of God both in and outside the Adoration Chapel.
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
“Pray always; Pray unceasingly”
The New York Times reported most people have 2-3,000 thoughts per day (that works out to about three per minute). In athletics it is well understood thinking too much or thinking negative thoughts will destroy performance, so a successful athlete will reduce the number of negative thoughts by holding positive thoughts longer.
Nouwen writes, “To pray does not mean to think about God in contrast to thinking about other things, or to spend time with God instead of spending time with other people. Rather it means to think and live in the presence of God.”
It is important to “think every thought” in the Presence of God, leading every thought of ours out of isolation into a conversation with God!
This kind of praying unceasingly requires us to break out of our monologue with ourselves and begin to tell God all of our thoughts, good and bad, pious and lustful, everything! Present every thought to God’s Presence.
"In temptations against chastity, the spiritual masters advise us, not so much to contend with the bad thought, as to turn the mind to some spiritual, or, at least, indifferent object. It is useful to combat other bad thoughts face to face, but not thoughts of impurity."
-St. Alphonsus Liguori