Note: The following excerpt is from a very special, informative little book that every Catholic young lady and young man should read in their adolescence. It helped me so much when I read it in my youth.
I know it helped sort out in our own children’s minds what was a sin and what was not as they were growing up.
Let’s face it, those years of adolescence can get pretty confusing. And sometimes the kids are too embarrassed to talk about what they are going through.
This material needs to be read by those who are age appropriate and the parents need to decide when that is.
We must remember as parents that ignorance is not innocence. Knowing what they need to know, the kids are armed with the ability to fight against these temptations and learn not to be disturbed by thoughts that the devil would like them to believe are sins, in order to discourage them.
Devin and Theresa
Clean Love in Courtshipby Father Lovasik
THE SIXTH AND NINTH COMMANDMENTS
True happiness comes from God. It fills your heart if you live according to God’s plan and His commandments. Unhappiness comes from breaking those commandments by sin. Disobedience is the spirit of Lucifer: “I will not serve”;
“God can’t tell me what to do.”
Since mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God, it is the greatest tragedy in the world. The emphasis is on God.
You were made His child and friend in baptism. He gives you His life, the supernatural life through the sacraments, and then in a moment of selfishness you turn your back on Him.
Do not try to make yourself believe that hurting those around you is the only possible evil. God does not agree with that view. When you break God’s law, you hurt God—and yourself!
Sin is called mortal because it causes death to your soul. It is a complete turning from God. If you do not want God in your heart, He will get out. He will not force Himself on you.
And if He leaves you, He takes with Him the supernatural life—which means spiritual death for you, because without God there can be no spiritual life, no happiness either.
The apostle says: “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom.6, 23.) Breaking God’s law by impurity in company-keeping spells death: death of the soul through the loss of sanctifying grace; death of the peace of conscience through the crushing remorse for sin; death of the delightful consciousness of the possession of unsoiled purity; death of high ideals; death of the lofty esteem and sacred reverence two people formerly had for one another.
Spiritual death of mortal sin brings misery and unhappiness in this world and eternal damnation in the next. Sin and damnation seem to be out of tune with the spirit of our time.
Just because people have stopped talking about sin, do not let yourself be fooled into thinking it must not be so bad. Sin is just as nasty and just as harmful today as it ever was.
Do not excuse your shortcomings on the plea that everybody is doing it. Evil may never be done even if everybody is doing it. Because it is too much trouble to behave yourself, you cannot say it is all right to misbehave.
It is God, not people, who declares what is right and what is wrong; and He is right, and His Church with Him, even though the whole world may call Him wrong.
The misery of the world is due to that selfishness which puts our own pleasure ahead of God’s will.
It is important to remember that three things are necessary for a sin to be mortal:
I. The thing must be very bad, e.g. any deliberate thought, word or deed against the sixth and ninth commandments.
II. It must be done with the full knowledge that it is against God. You must KNOW what you are doing.
III. The wrong must have the full consent of our will. You must really WANT to do it. When one of these three conditions is missing, there is no mortal sin.
The Sixth Commandment
The sixth commandment is: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It forbids not only adultery, but also all actions which are contrary to the orderly propagation of the human race.
The faculty of sex has been bestowed upon man primarily for the propagation of the race. It is to be used only in the family and not for the benefit of the individual; otherwise it is a grievous crime against nature and a violation of God’s law.
All sexual pleasure outside marriage, alone or with others, that is directly willed or desired, intentionally procured or permitted, is a MORTAL SIN.
Therefore, it is grievously sinful in the unmarried to think, say or do anything with the intention of arousing even the smallest degree of sensual pleasure.
If, however, this pleasure has arisen and (a) there was no intention of arousing it, (b) and no danger of consenting to it when aroused, it is a VENIAL SIN only if there was at least semi-deliberate consent, otherwise there is NO SIN at all.
All impure actions that are directly willed, procured or permitted. (Sexual intercourse, intimate, passionate kissing and embracing which form the natural preliminary to intercourse; unnatural acts, such as self-abuse or sexual intimacies with a person of the same sex.)
All other actions performed for the purpose of arousing sexual pleasure. (To kiss improperly or to read a book, to look at pictures, to attend plays or see movies in order to arouse passion.)
All actions which are a near danger of performing an impure action or of consenting to illicit pleasure. (Kissing, reading of a particular type of magazine which generally leads you to lose control of yourself.)
In performing these actions you are practically certain to sin. If you knowingly court such a danger, you are already showing a will to sin. Ordinarily you are obliged under pain of serious sin to avoid such occasions.
If the occasion cannot be avoided, then you must find some means which will strengthen you against the danger.
Some things are practically always near occasions of sin; e.g., the modern burlesque show, obscene literature that portrays adultery or fornication in an attractive manner.
Impure actions performed without a good and sufficient reason. (Curious and imprudent looks and reading; pondering on dangerous thoughts through idle curiosity unduly prolonged; repeated kisses by lovers, even though they intend no passion; kissing from frivolous motives.)
Sexual actions performed with a good and sufficient reason. Your thoughts and actions are sinless when you have a good reason for them; you may ignore the sexual stimulation that may accidentally result. (Medical examination, dancing, slightly suggestive motion pictures, generally decent picture magazines, personal cleanliness.)
But sometimes sexual disturbances arising from physical causes, such as fatigue, from some local irritation, from nervousness, are apt to be pro longed and to be a source of very severe temptation.
They become mortally sinful only when you make them perfectly voluntary by deliberately promoting, approving of and enjoying them.
They are not sinful at all if you do what you reasonably can to yourself of any temptation involved in them.
This can be done by a brief, calm act of the will, “I don’t want it”; by saying a little aspiration for grace of a “Hail Mary”; by trying to divert the mind to something else that is interesting or humorous; by making a brief change in external occupation.
IN REGARD TO OTHERS:
In regard to others, you must always remember the great law of charity by which you are bound not to induce others to sin or to help them to sin, and you must also take reasonable means to prevent their sinning when you can do so.
In such things as kissing, conversation, and choice of entertainment, you cannot simply settle the matter by saying: “It doesn’t bother me; therefore it’s all right.”
For instance, in kissing, a girl should keep in mind that a boy is more responsive physically than she; but if there is some good reason for a decent manifestation of affection, she may presume that he has the proper control of himself, unless he attempts or suggests immodesty.
The Ninth Commandment
The ninth commandment is: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” It forbids all lustful thoughts and desires.
To entertain a bad thought willfully for the purpose of enjoying it or to entertain it willfully so that it becomes a near occasion of performing an unchaste action.
To think about sexually-stimulating things without a sufficient reason.
To think about sexually-stimulating things with a sufficient reason. He who wishes to keep his body clean must begin by keeping his mind clean. Indulging in morbid erotic thoughts will lead to evil deeds, and may also cause mental disturbances.
Temptation is Not a Sin
Temptation is not a sin; it is an invitation to sin. It is a fight between your duty to obey God’s law and your evil desires. As soon as you decide to give in to your evil desires and you want to disobey God’s commandment, the temptation is over and you have committed a sin. You must know what you are doing and you must want to break a serious commandment of God before a mortal sin can be committed.
The most violent emotional desires and the most pursuing evil imaginations do not constitute sin until your will gives consent. No temptation can harm you as long as you are sincerely seeking to retain the friendship and the love of God.
By turning your will resolutely to God and prudently avoiding occasions of sin, you can enjoy a good conscience peace of mind even in time of temptation.
If doubts should come as to whether you have consented to a temptation or not, remember that if you have the habitual will and determination to resist evil thoughts and if you have prayed, you may elude that deliberate consent was lacking.
Allay scruple or doubt to keep you from receiving Holy Communion.
Abstain only when you can put your hand on the Bible and swear that you are absolutely certain you are guilty of deliberate mortal sin.
Dependent upon the nature of the temptation, your disposition, and the circumstances, all temptation against purity in thought, desire, or act, must be met decisively either by directly opposing them or directly ignoring them. Be prepared to meet temptation:
I. By regular confession and frequent Holy Communion
II. By prayer
III. By self-denial, so that when temptation comes, your will may be strong enough to want good instead of evil
IV. By turning your mind away from bad thoughts becoming busy with other things; By avoiding whatever may lead you into temptation (the suggestive story, the smutty joke, the lewd picture, the suggestive movie or novel, bad companions, questionable places)
V. By fighting against temptations from the very first moment they come up
VI. By loving Jesus and the Blessed Virgin sincerely
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“No other work that God gives any of us to do is so important, so sacred, so far reaching in its influence, so delicate and easily marred—as our home-making. This is the work of all our life—that is most divine. The carpenter works in wood, the mason works in stone, the smith works in iron, the artist works on canvas—but the homemaker works on immortal lives. Whatever else we slight, let it never be our home-making. If we do nothing else well in this world, let us at least build well within our own doors.” – J.R. Miller