Brandon Vogt

The Saints’ Advice on Conquering Lust

Temptation

Whenever you’re tempted to sin you’ll find no better aids than Christ and his Mother. Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because he “has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Mary, conceived without the stain of sin, is “full of grace” and offers her pure heart and prayers to anyone in need.

But after Jesus and Mary, the most powerful advocates we have are the saints. This “cloud of witnesses” prays for us during trials and inspires us through their example. Many of them experienced greater temptation and sin than we can fathom, yet still emerged victorious. In a culture marked by pervasive temptations to lust, their encouragement is more valuable than ever.

Delivered by Matt FraddMatt Fradd has leaned on the saints’ wisdom over the years while helping men and women conquer addiction to porn. His latest book, Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned from Porn to Purity, is an encouraging testimony for anyone struggling with lust.

Today, with Matt’s permission, I’m sharing some quotes he collected in the book featuring advice from the saints on battling lust and other temptations.

Read them now, and return to them again next time you’re tested.

(And be sure to pick up your copy of Delivered!)
 


 

Purity

 

“Many live like angels in the middle of the world. You,…why not you?”

St. Josemaria Escriva

“Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.”

St. John Paul II

“To be pure, to remain pure, can only come at a price, the price of knowing God and loving him enough to do his will. He will always give us the strength we need to keep purity as something as beautiful for him.”

Bl. Mother Teresa

“Deep within yourself, listen to your conscience, which calls you to be pure…a home is not warmed by the fire of pleasure, which burns quickly like a pile of withered grass. Passing encounters are only a caricature of love; they injure hearts and mock God’s plan.”

St. John Paul II

 

Temptation

 

“To defend his purity, St. Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, St. Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush, St. Bernard plunged into an icy pond…You…what have you done?”

St. Josemaria Escriva

“Filthy talk makes us feel comfortable with filthy action. But the one who knows how to control the tongue is prepared to resist the attacks of lust.”

St. Clement

“Temptation is necessary to make us realize that we are nothing in ourselves.”

St. Josemaria Escriva

“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

“He said not, ‘Thou shall not be tempted, thou shall not be tried, thou shall not suffer,’ but he did say, ‘Thou shall not be overcome.'”

Julian of Norwich

 

Sexual Sin

 

“Whoever bids other folks to do right, but gives an evil example by acting the opposite way, is like a foolish weaver who weaves quickly with one hand and unravels the cloth just as quickly with the other.”

St. Thomas More

“Don’t say, ‘That’s the way I am—it’s my character.’ It’s your lack of character. Be a man!”

St. Josemaria Escriva

“When you have sought the company of a sensual satisfaction, what loneliness afterward!”

St. Josemaria Escriva

 

Mercy

 

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.”

St. Francis de Sales

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.”

St. Isidore of Seville

“God, at the moment of absolution, throws our sins over his shoulder. He forgets them; he annihilates them; they shall never reappear.”

St. John Vianney

“My mercy is greater without any comparison than all the sins creatures can commit. Therefore it greatly displeases me that they should consider their sins to be greater.”

St. Catherine of Sienna, recording the words of Jesus in a private revelation

“I glorify you in making known how good you are towards sinners, and that your mercy prevails over all malice, that nothing can destroy it, that no matter how many times or how shamefully we fall, or how criminally, a sinner need not be driven to despair of your pardon….It is in vain that your enemy and mine sets new traps for me every day. He will make me lose everything else before the hope that I have in your mercy.”

St. Claude de la Colombiere

“The good Lord is more eager to pardon a repentant sinner than a mother [is] to rescue her child from the fire.”

St. John Vianney

 

Spiritual Warfare

 

“We need to be especially alert to the evil subtlety of Satan. His one desire is to keep people from having a mind and heart disposed to their Lord and God…He wants to extinguish the light of the human heart, and so he moves in by means of worldly busyness and worry.”

St. Francis of Assisi

“The Spirit of God is a spirit of peace. Even in the most serious faults he makes us feel a sorrow that is tranquil, humble, and confident. This is precisely because of his mercy. The spirit of the devil, instead, excites, exasperates, and makes us feel, in that very sorrow, anger against ourselves. We should, on the contrary, be charitable with ourselves first and foremost. Therefore if any thought agitates you, this agitation never comes from God, who gives you peace, being the spirit of peace, but from the devil.”

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

“The devil only tempts those souls that wish to abandon sin and those that are in a state of grace. The others belong to him; he has no need to tempt them.”

St. John Vianney

“From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue.”

St. Teresa of Avila

© 2017 Brandon Vogt

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