Catholic purity prayer

Jesus, Lover of chastity, Mary, Mother most pure, and Joseph, chaste guardian of the Virgin, to you I come at this hour, begging you to plead with God for me. I earnestly wish to be pure in thought, word and deed in imitation of your own holy purity.

Obtain for me, then, a deep sense of modesty which will be reflected in my external conduct. Protect my eyes, the windows of my soul, from anything that might dim the luster of a heart that must mirror only Christlike purity.

And when the “Bread of Angels becomes the Bread of me” in my heart at Holy Communion, seal it forever against the suggestions of sinful pleasures.

Heart of Jesus, Fount of all purity, have mercy on us.

www.catholic.org

St. Josemaria Escriva

“There is need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work.”- St. Josemaria Escriva

The number one, soul-destroying problem men face is attacks on sexual purity. Immodesty is ubiquitous, pornography is easily accessible, and every form of media, including advertising, is filled with sexualized images. I could cite all kinds of shocking statistics showing the increasing rates of pornography addiction, the number of sexualized images teen boys sees by the age of 18, and much more. But I don’t think I need to do that. We all know it’s a problem that men struggle with, now more than ever in our depraved culture.

I want to discuss this problem briefly, and then offer some rules for combating lust as a Catholic man. First, the tough stuff.

Take it Seriously

“Lust indulged became habit, and habit unresisted became necessity.” – St. Augustine

St. Bernard threw himself into an icy pond to preserve his purity.

Because moral standards are so low these days, we become numb to just how bad things have gotten. St. Therese of Lisieux, who lived in the late 1800s, said her father would not let her or her sisters leave the house if the sleeves of their dress were above the elbow. Now, young women regularly attend mass in mini-skirts that leave nothing to the imagination.

Just because standards of modesty are lax now, though, does not mean we should take purity less seriously. Purity is a matter of spiritual life and death. While the world will tell you lust is harmless and natural, it is playing with soul-destroying fire—it is the ultimate slippery slope, the ultimate powder keg waiting to explode.

Entertaining and enjoying a brief thought or glance can very easily lead to doing an internet search for pornography. One little indulgence in pornography can very easily turn into an addiction. And before you know it, your life is spinning out of control and you can never get enough. While it doesn’t happen to everyone, there is a very real danger of becoming the next Ariel Castro.

In short, never just mess around with pornography or even lustful thoughts. It can destroy your marriage, your family, your spiritual life, and ultimately send you to hell.

Don’t Make Excuses

“Don’t say, ‘That’s the way I am—its my character.’ It’s your lack of character. Esto vir!—Be a man!”  – St. Josemaria Escriva

Men, I want to challenge you not to make excuses when it comes to lust. Yes, it is undoubtedly a struggle to maintain purity in the modern world. Yes, the vast majority of women wear next to nothing these days, especially in the summer. Yes, pornography is easily accessible on your smart phone. Yes, almost every movie has a sex scene. But guess what—those things aren’t valid excuses for entertaining lust.

Today’s men are constantly looking to pass the buck on their sexual struggles. The Catholic Gentleman doesn’t make excuses, though. Take responsibility, man up, and confess your sins to a priest when you fail.

The Good News

St. Francis rolled in the snow to preserve his purity.

Now that I’ve beat you over the head, so to speak, there is some good news. And that is that there is a big difference between looking and lusting. While the ideal is perfect custody of the eyes, this is something we have to learn over time. Until we have mastered our eyes, however, we shouldn’t feel guilty about their being drawn to skin. In other words, it is very difficult to keep your eyes from being attracted to a flash of skin as a girl walks past in barely-there shorts. That is our natural concupiscence at work, and it isn’t a sin. What is a sin is that second, lustful glance—that willful choice to entertain and enjoy sinful thoughts.

Other than staring at the floor (maybe that’s a good idea sometimes!), it can be almost impossible to never see any immodesty. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up if you we look and see things we wish we wouldn’t have. Don’t be overly scrupulous about seeing things you can’t control.

A Few Helps

While we all have our own spiritual walks and methods for combating temptation, here are a few time tested methods from the saints.

1. Run away  – “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

2. Ask for graces to be pure – “Holy Purity is granted by God when it is asked for with humility.” – St. Josemaria Escriva

3. Be humble – ”Humility is the safeguard of chastity. In the matter of purity, there is no greater danger than not fearing the danger. For my part, when I find a man secure of himself and without fear, I give him up for lost I am less alarmed for one who is tempted and who resists by avoiding the occasions, than for one who is not tempted and is not careful to avoid occasions . When a person puts himself in an occasion, saying, I shall not fall, it is an almost infallible sign that he will fall, and with great injury to his soul.” – Saint Philip Neri

4. Consecrate yourself to Mary – This is my own suggestion based on the lives of a number of different saints and my own experience. Give your purity our Blessed Lady. Ask her to safeguard it for you. On rising in the morning and before going to bed, say one Hail Mary for purity in your thoughts and choices.

5. Be radical – “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” – Jesus (An example from my life: I chose to stop going to the beach due to the immodesty everywhere.)

Conclusion

Every man struggles with purity, and it is harder than ever in our overly sexualized culture. The last thing we should do is be lax about it—it is far too serious a matter to take lightly. It’s literally a matter of spiritual life and death.

While we shouldn’t drive ourselves to despair with scrupulosity, we should strive to maintain our purity with everything we have. How do you combat lust? Do you take it seriously in your own life? 

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www.catholicgentleman.net

Jesus, Lover of chastity, Mary, Mother most pure, and Joseph, chaste guardian of the Virgin,

to you I come at this hour, begging you to plead with God for me.

I earnestly wish to be pure in thought, word and deed in imitation of your own holy purity.

Obtain for me, then, a deep sense of modesty which will be reflected in my external conduct.

Protect my eyes, the windows of my soul, from anything that might dim the luster of a heart that must mirror only Christlike purity.

And when the “Bread of Angels becomes the Bread of me” in my heart at Holy Communion, seal it forever against the suggestions of sinful pleasures.

Heart of Jesus, Fount of all purity, have mercy on us!

Amen†

(Pray The Rosary Apostolate)

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CATHOLIC NOVENA PRAYERS AND DEVOTIONS

www.sainttherse.com

The Temptation of Thomas Aquinas

These days, it is not so easy to get a black and white answer from our prelates on what is considered sexual sin ( Please God,  send us many holy priests).  Because of this, some of the faithful engage in sinful behavior without realizing the enormity of the sins. Maybe they delude themselves into thinking they are not sinning,  when the Holy Spirit is making it quite clear. You don’t hear a lot about prayers for sexual purity. In fact, you don’t hear a lot from the pulpit on purity, period.

A perfect example of fuzzy teaching is the flagrant disregard of masturbation as a sin by many priests.   The Church’s official teaching on masturbation is this:

“The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.” As I’m sure many can attest, some priests in the confessional will ask the penitent, “Who told you that masturbation is a sin?”

In a Catholic Q&A, a priest responded to the question of the sinfulness of masturbation by implying that it is perfectly normal.  In fact, his comments are in direct opposition to Church teaching.

“Can masturbation be sinful? I think the only time masturbation could be considered seriously sinful is if someone is using this activity to avoid one’s obligations to one’s spouse. Modern moral theologians tell us that masturbation is a normal part of one’s psychosexual development. Most people go through phases of masturbation, during adolescence, for example, individuals separated from their spouses in war time, the elderly, and others in unique situations of life. It’s hoped that individuals not become fixed or stuck in only this form of sexual expression, but rather develop a relationship with another person with whom one can express one’s own sexuality in an appropriate loving and intimate way.” Fr John Ruffo, “What is church’s stance on masturbation? Mortal sin in what circumstances?” Source.

Most of us have struggled with not falling into sexual sin, especially those of us who are single and yearn for the embrace of a spouse. Fortunately, we have recourse to the traditional prayers of the saints, who left us a treasure of prayers for sexual purity. These prayers help us to combat the wiles of the devil. They are particularly effective in causing  the devil to flee, when we find ourselves growing weak and weary.

What Does Impurity Do to the Soul?

Regarding impurity, St Alphonsus says: ” It blinds the sinner, hardens the heart, and it leads to a multitude of other sins, such as anger, hatred, blasphemy, false oaths and perjury.  Demons delight in sins of impurity, because it is difficult for a person who indulges in impurity to be delivered from it.” Source.

He also says later on:

“Some heretics and servants of the devil teach, “Sins of impurity do not dishonor anyone.” Obstinate sinners often try to excuse themselves by saying, “sins of impurity are just little sins.” Or “because they are sins of habit, their gravity is diminished.” Ah what fools they are! They are so blinded, dearest soul, by their sins, that they do not see what terrible damage it does to themselves and to the body of Christ. You are a soul created in the image and likeness of God, a child of God, and an heir of heaven. Your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, and you have been redeemed by the blood of Christ! This is what impurity dishonors! The marital act is a sacramental privilege, reserved only for those united within the sacrament. Sins of impurity dishonor your soul because you lose God’s life of grace, they dishonor your body because you are a temple of the Holy Ghost, and they dishonor God because you are using the marital act, which the Almighty created as good, to commit evil.”Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Complete Aesthetical works Volume XVI, treatise on the sixth commandment. So now that we see how truly detrimental impurity is to the soul, let’s take a look at some prayers that are particularly effective.

Prayer for Chastity by St Thomas Aquinas

“Dearest Jesus! I know well that every perfect gift, and above all others that of chastity, depends upon the most powerful assistance of Your Providence, and that without You a creature can do nothing. Therefore, I pray You to defend, with Your grace, chastity and purity in my soul as well as in my body. And if I have ever received through my senses any impression that could stain my chastity and purity, may You, Who are the Supreme Lord of all my powers, take it from me, that I may with an immaculate heart advance in Your love and service, offering myself chaste all the days of my life on the most pure altar of Your Divinity. Amen.”

You can also join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, which has other prayers for sexual purity.

Official Prayer to St Maria Goretti

“Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth, with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.”
More about St Maria Goretti.

PRAYER TO JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

Prayer for Purity

“Jesus, Lover of chastity, Mary, Mother most pure, and Joseph, chaste guardian of the Virgin, to you I come at this hour, begging you to plead with God for me. I earnestly wish to be pure in thought, word and deed in imitation of your own holy purity.

Obtain for me, then, a deep sense of modesty which will be reflected in my external conduct. Protect my eyes, the windows of my soul, from anything that might dim the luster of a heart that must mirror only Christlike purity.

And when the “Bread of Angels becomes the Bread of me” in my heart at Holy Communion, seal it forever against the suggestions of sinful pleasures.

Heart of Jesus, Fount of all purity, have mercy on us.”

Armed with these prayers for sexual purity, we should all be ready to do battle with the devil, who will surely attempt to divert us from our goal to reach heaven.

One More Prayer for Sexual Purity

One of my readers recommended this prayer, from the traditional Collect prayer for the feast of St. Lawrence.

“Grant to us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to extinguish within us the flames of vice, even as Thou didst strengthen blessed Laurence to overcome his fiery torments.”

Are there any other prayers you find helpful to maintain sexual purity?

Additional Resources

Chastity

Free E-Book: The Porn Circuit

Angelic Warfare Confraternity,
Be Not Afraid: A Book of Quotes for Catholic Men

Saint Maria Goretti

The Life and Witness of Saint Maria Goretti: Our Little Saint of the Beatitudes

St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All RedSt Maria Goretti Necklaces

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas
Aquinas’s Shorter Summa: Saint Thomas’s Own Concise Version of His Summa Theologica

Saint Alphonsus

The Complete Ascetical Works of St. Alphonsus

The Glories of MaryThe Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori for All the Sundays of the YearThe 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation

Updated 2018.
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