If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Knowing my Limits

You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

I know my limits. Take chocolate. I can't eat just a small bag of chocolate chips. I go for a bowl. And sometimes a second. That's why I ask my wife not to buy more than a small bag at a time.

Chocolate is bad enough, but lust – that's an entirely different story. That's a potential killer. I'm embarrassed to admit it took so long, but I eventually learned my limits there, too. And while I might fudge now and then with chocolate, I am meticulous to avoid situations where my eyes can open my mind to unholy images.

That's why I don't go to the beach or pools. I refuse to place myself where half-clothed women routinely stroll. I avoid cable television. Most of what networks broadcast is bad enough – but it's impossible to avoid R-rated commercials. I keep my gaze under tight control when I pass magazine racks and keep my eyes from wandering when a fashionable woman crosses my path.

The Holy Spirit will live only in a pure heart. That's one of the reasons St. Paul told the Corinthians " . . . let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)

As for me, I've discovered part of perfecting holiness is knowing – and living within – my limits. Which is why I often pray something like this:

Lord, how can I keep myself pure unless You reveal my weaknesses – and then strengthen my heart to obey You? Oh, Holy Spirit, make this the desire of my heart.


np67gto said...

I think this is a struggle for most men I know it is for me. It's the main reason that I removed television from our house. It is near impossible to watch without sex being in your face all the time on almost every channel. It's wonderful spending time with my Wife and kids learning about them instead of just sitting with them. As for all the other places that we encounter this it remains a struggle and I asked the Lord to help me with it every morning and every night.

Richard Maffeo said...

Thanks for your honesty. And thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Richard, it is beautiful that you know yourself so well and that you humbly ask for help from the Holy Spirit. We can't fight these battles alone. I was teaching our 8th graders last night and we watched a video that spoke of Jesus' temptation in the desert. The presenter said that if Jesus wasn't tempted, how could we trust that he really knew how we feel when we are tempted? How could we go to him and trust him? We must pray for others so that they can resist their temptations.

Richard Maffeo said...

Which is why, I am sure, God places us in community . . . to pray for one another.

Anonymous said...

If men come unto the Lord, he will show unto them their weakness. He gives unto men weakness that they may be humble; and his grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before him; for if they humble themselves before him, and have faith in him, then will he make weak things become strong unto them.

Richard Maffeo said...

Anonymous, I agree.