The twisted version of it did.
It took me years to come to terms that this seemingly harmless thing was poisoning my life from within.
Today’s society even labels pornography and its constituents such as masturbation, pre-marital sex, cohabitation, etc. as normal or part of a “healthy” outlook in life.
Such was the dilemma of today’s saint, Ignatius of Loyola.
Born in the ancestral castle of the Loyolas in Spain, he was the youngest of 13 children of a wealthy family.
By his own admission, the first period of his life was full of every sin and vanity imaginable.
But it was the next chapter that shaped him into the saint we know today.
It was in a town called Manresa where he encountered great spiritual trials as well as various visions.
Often, Ignatius encountered a form of a serpent with many points that glistened like eyes.
The more often he saw it, the greater the pleasure he derived from it.
But once the serpent left, he felt empty and sad.
It was a tug of war within his soul.
Very much like what I felt every time I fell into temptation.
It feels acceptable, good—and even right.
I was living a double life.
I was preaching during the day and watching porn at night.
Excitement during the moment but a heavy burden in my soul for days.
It was a cycle because it remained hidden, and I didn’t recognize it as a big problem.
Eventually recognizing that it was the devil, Ignatius chased the serpent away with a mocking gesture.
The devil can mesmerize you, but he can never bring you peace.
Like St. Ignatius, I exposed my sin into the light by having accountability, through confessions, and with the help of others as well.
Temptation will always be around us but we have a choice to expose them and rob them of their power.
In the end, the only thing that can mesmerize us eternally is the joy and peace that is found in Jesus.
- What is the thing that mesmerizes me right now? Do I believe that it’s within the will of God?
- In what ways am I still living a double life?
CALL TO ACTION:
- Look for accountability partners and open up about your struggles to them.
- Pray to God to lead you to a spiritual director, preferably a priest who can also be your regular confessor.
Have you ever wondered why Catholics pray with saints?