Dear Father Angelo,
I am a boy who is assiduous in prayer and who often attends the Eucharistic celebration.
I would like to consecrate myself to God, but recently I have been strongly tempted in the flesh.
I do not commit impure acts, but when I am on social media browsing I see nude photos and many times my eyes linger on them, but then I take them off .
I am torn within myself: there is no desire in me to commit impure acts, but my eyes keep lingering on those pictures.
Be sure of my prayers, I hope you will answer me soon.
Also, I ask you to remember me during the celebration of Holy Mass.
The Priest’s reply
1. I am overjoyed that the Lord has inspired in you the resolution to consecrate yourself to Him.
Over the years, you will understand more and more in depth how much the Lord has loved you.
Yet, just because of the greatness of the vocation the Lord is calling you to, and since by virtue of your ministry you will snatch lots of souls from sin, you must be aware that, in some respects, you are more tempted than others.
2. When St. Thomas Aquinas considers Christ’s temptation concerning which there are four points of inquiry he replies to, the second of which is particularly suited to your needs, here is what he says: “Christ wished to be tempted; First that He might strengthen us against temptations […]. Secondly, that we might be warned, so that none, however holy, may think himself safe or free from temptation. Wherefore also He wished to be tempted after His baptism, because as [Saint] Hilary says (Super Matth., cap iii.) «The temptations of the devil assail those principally who are sanctified, for He desires, above all, to overcome the holy. Hence also it is written (Ecclus. 2): Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation.»”(Summa Theologiae, III, 41.1).
3. This is why these specific words of the Lord: «Stay awake and pray that you do not fall into temptation» (Mt 26:41) ought to echo in your mind more loudly than in other people’s minds.
In order not to fall into temptation it is necessary that we strengthen ourselves in prayer, for without Christ we can do nothing. Above all, we cannot win.
But vigilance is also needed.
And, being vigilant means being ready to respond to the inspirations that the Lord always sends us, even by the ministry of our Angel,
Who secretly comes to tell us what Martha said to Mary when Jesus came to raise Lazarus from the dead: «The Master is here and He is calling you» (Jn 11:28).
In the holy writ we are not told why the Lord called her out, but it is easy to understand.
He did not have to tell her anything in particular , but He wanted to show her the power of His divinity and, at the same time, to bring Lazarus back to her.
4. The Lord also does the same to us when He sends secret inspirations, mostly to invite us to overcome temptations: He wants to give us a new sign of the power of His divinity, and, at the same time, He also wants to give us something great and precious.
For this reason also, on Christ’s victory over the temptations of the devil, St. Thomas Aquinas remarks : «So whoever overcomes temptations deserves to be served by the Angels».
5. Always keep in mind the motivation for chastity.
As a seminarist Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, writes these words in his «Journal of a Soul» : A globe of pure crystal, irradiated by the sunlight, gives me the idea of the purity of the hearts of priests
My soul must be like a mirror that reflects the image of the Angels , of Mary Most Holy, of Jesus Christ.
If the mirror becomes foggy , though slightly, I am worthy of being torn into pieces and thrown away. (“Journal of a Soul , Spiritual Exercises” 1902, no. 8). From now on, train your soul to be like a mirror that reflects the image of the Angels , of Mary Most Holy, of Jesus Christ.
May everyone sense this when approaching you.
I thank you for your prayers.
I will especially remember you in my prayers and in the celebration of Holy Mass.
I wish you a fruitful Holy Week and I bless you.