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Lust vs. Love, Pt. 3: The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Face of God

St. Thomas says that the only thing strong enough to overcome an evil passion is an even stronger good passion. Sex addicts seldom have a clear picture in their minds of the beauty of continence, as Augustine has here. They see continence as merely negative, as the mere absence of sex. Similarly, addicts to war and violence seldom see peace as the positive thing it is for Augustine…

That is why a close relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary is so effective an antidote to both of these poisons of the modern world, lust and violence. IN her, both chastity and peace become positive and beautiful. (Peter Kreeft’s commentary on Confessions, Book 8/Chapter 11/Paragraph 27)

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God does not tell Augustine how to conquer “the flesh”. He tells him, through the Apostle Paul, to ignore it (“make no provision for the flesh”), to look at the face of God instead.(Peter Kreeft’s commentary on Confessions, Book 8/Chapter 12/Paragraph 29)

—from the book I Burned for Your Peace: Augustine’s Confessions Unpacked by Peter Kreeft (from the section titled The Romans 7 Experience)

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Lust vs. Love, Pt. 2: Pleasure Alone Is Not Enough

C.S Lewis says:
For me the real evil of masturbation [would] be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself….After all, almost all the main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided [which] retard this process. The danger is that coming to love the prison. (The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, 758-759)

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We are destined for ecstasy. (The word means, literally, “standing-outside-yourself”.) That is why we become addicted to substitutes: drugs, alcohol, sex. Pleasure is not enough. Even happiness is not enough: it gets boring. Nothing less than joy will do. That is why Scripture lists joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit, but not happiness or pleasure.

—from How to Be Holy by Peter Kreeft, Ch. 17: Unselfconsciousness

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Lust vs. Love, Pt. 1: The Definitions and Differences

Lust is not true love for three reasons. First, it is selfish: what we love is not the person but the experience. Second, it is only animal love; it does not rise to the level of reason and free will. Third, it is not subject to God and His will and does not intend to be. The fact that most people today do not clearly know this explains part of our fascination with Augustine. This “old stuff” is radically new to us. (Peter Kreeft’s commentary on Confessions, Book 2/Chapter 2/Paragraph 2)

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I was not yet in love, but I was in love with love….I sought some object to love, since I was thus in love with loving….For within I was hungry all for the want of…Thyself, my God. (Confessions, Book 3/Chapter 1/Paragraph 1)

Not in love (with a person) but in love with love—exactly the typically modern subjectivism that defines the differences between true love and lust. True love starts with vision: a vision of the beloved as a good person who deserves and/or needs my love. Lust starts with desire, with my own need for an object to elicit the pleasurable experience of love, which is the thing I crave. It is like the difference between appreciating a good wine—that particular unique one—and alcoholism, which is addiction not to a wine but to an experience. (Peter Kreeft’s commentary on Confessions, Book 3/Chapter 1/Paragraph 1)

—from the book I Burned for Your Peace: Augustine’s Confessions Unpacked by Peter Kreeft (from the section titled Adolescence: Lust and Pears and also the section titled Young Adulthood: Carthage)

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“But who do you say that I am?”

The central problem of the century is also the central question of our lives. The problems of poverty—like the problems of keeping peace—will never be finally resolved in this life. But we recognize the central question: the question that allows for a simple, definitive, declarative answer. “But who do you say that I am?” [Mt 16:15]

—from the online article The central problem of the century—and of our lives by Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org

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That Abortion Is Wrong Is Not a Matter of Faith

There are those—including those running for political office—who consider abortion to be a matter of faith. They will even say that they are personally opposed to abortion but that they have no right to impose this religious belief on other people. But this is clearly wrong. That abortion is wrong is not a matter of faith—it is a matter of reason… A matter of faith would be something such as God is a Trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; or that Jesus is God and man united in one Person; or that He is Present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. That life in the womb is naturally destined to become life in the world is not a matter of faith—it is a matter of reason: it is self-evident. No expectant mother gives birth to anything other than a boy or a girl: a human baby. It is naturally destined to be so from the moment of conception… Like every living thing there is a natural progression of development that, if left uninterrupted, will continue until natural death.

from the article The right to life is a self-evident truth, knowable by reason itself by Fr. Michael Miller in The Catholic Servant, Vol. XXIV, No. I, January, 2018

SEE ALSO: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/staudt/abortion-is-not-a-religious-issue

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A Quiet Place to Keep the Darkness at Bay

And what is most marvelous to behold is that, in this prayerful, quiet, pre-modern atmosphere, even with the threat of imminent death constantly looming, a generous and mutually self-sacrificing family flourishes. The parents care for and protect their children, and the remaining brother and sister are solicitous toward one another and toward their parents. The young girl even regularly risks her life to pay silent tribute to her fallen brother at the spot where he was killed.

Monsters and beasts in the more reflective horror movies are evocative of those things that frighten us the most: illness, failure, our own wickedness, death itself. How wonderful that a Hollywood movie would suggest that what is needed to keep the darkness at bay in our time is silence, simplicity, a return to the earth, prayer, and care for one another.

—from the online article by The most unexpectedly religious film of the year by Bishop Robert Barron

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If Man Wants to Imitate Christ

196 Christ’s public life is rooted in and supported by the silent prayer of his hidden life….

If man wants to imitate Christ, it is enough for him to observe his silences.

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The virtue of silence does not mean that we must never speak. It invites us to remain mute when there are no good reasons to speak up. Ecclesiastes says: “There is…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” (Eccles 3:7). Referring to these words, Saint Gregory of Nyssa remarks: “The time to keep silence is mentioned first, because by silence we learn the art of speaking well.” When, therefore, should a Christian who desires to become holy be silent, and when should he speak? He should be silent when it is not necessary to speak, and he should speak when necessity or charity requires it. Saint Chrysostom gives the following rule: “Speak only when it is more useful to speak than to be silent.”

Saint Arsenius acknowledges that he often regretted having spoken, but never regretted having kept silence. Saint Ephrem says: “Speak much with God but little with men.”

—from The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Robert Cardinal Sarah (from Pt. 2: God Does Not Speak, But His Voice is Quite Clear and Conclusion, p. 239)