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And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire.                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.                And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off: it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.                And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out: it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell;                where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.               
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I Want to Live

Author: Testimony,
Love One Another! 13/2009 → True Love Waits - Pure Hearts

I want to live a pure life, but for several years I have had to struggle with the problem of self-abuse. Impurity took hold of me even before I realized it was evil. I began to have erotic fantasies in grade school. Then, thanks to my getting involved in the spiritual live of the parish, the fantasies left me. But in highschool the impure temptations came back to haunt me with a vengeance. My pious ideals gave way to sin.

I began to masturbate, infrequently at first, but then increasingly more often. I changed highschools, which required that I live away from home. I was now in a better environment, but still I could not rid my heart of its impurity. Difficulties in studying, the strangeness of my new milieu, and lack of contact with my old friends — all this drove me to masturbate as an escape from my daily difficulties; and this, in turn, resulted in frustration and a troubled conscience. I believe that my self-absorption robbed me then of my belief in God’s love for me. Of course, I know now that God was always with me during those difficult moments. Despite my lapses into sin, He always loved me, and still does.

One day I happened on a copy of Love One Another Magazine. It was then that I began to pray the Prayer of Pure Hearts. Unfortunately, a week later, I fell into sin again. I felt seized by a sense of self-loathing, futility, impotence, spiritual sloth, and terrible despair. But that same day, which happened to be February 5 (the Feast of St. Agatha, the virgin-martyr), I went to evening Mass. After Mass I asked the priest to confess me. That confession changed my life. Behind the confessional grating, I met Jesus Christ Himself. And once more He affirmed his love for me. Filled of emotion, I opened up my heart to Him. “Why do I keep sinking into sin, when I do not want to?” I asked. Jesus poured new hope into my heart. “Do not give up!” He said. “Keep on fighting, for our life is a never-ending struggle!” Never before had I felt Christ’s love touch me so deeply. I realized that He had always loved me, even when I sinned.

From that moment on everything changed. I began to see the world in a different light. I stopped wallowing in self-pity. I entrusted everything to Jesus and began to work on myself under the care of a regular confessor. I still succumb sometimes, but at such times I try not to forget God’s love. I am learning the lessons of humility and want to be grateful to God for everything — even my sins. I want to use every experience — good or bad — to advance my spiritual growth. Christ humbles my pride. He dislodges selfishness from my heart, so that He may live and act in it. He weakens me, so that I may allow Him to reign over my life. I want to be free from the addiction of self-abuse. But I know that what God desires most is for me to love Him in return. I trust that He will enable me to achieve my dream of purity. Every day I consecrate myself to Him in the Prayer of Pure Hearts.

My wish is that Christ may seize everyone in His love, for it exceeds all our weaknesses and hardships. May Christ reign in all your readers’ hearts and constantly bathe them in His love. Please remember me in your prayers as I do you.

A fellow pilgrim

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The above article was published with permission from "Love One Another!" - April 2016

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