2) THE REALITY
3) THE ANSWER!
Why Is Masturbation Sin?
Masturbation is a sin because a person consents in their own heart to take sexual gratification from impure thoughts. It is sinful to indulge in the sexual pleasure that is derived from the satisfaction of using one's imagination to FIXATE upon obscene images, or obscene actions, or forbidden sex. Lustfully fixating upon genitals, or sexual acts, is idolatry. This is called: the worship of obscenities. This is the sin of those addicted to pornography. That's often a "guy" thing. Alternatively, taking delight in the lust of another, or consummating a fantasy of forbidden sexual romance, is the sin of adultery in the heart. That's often a "girl" thing. The act of masturbation is an outward act that confirms that one's heart and mind has consented to an inward act of impurity. Only by consenting to an imagined act of impurity can one attain orgasm. To attain sexual release, a person's will consents to LOVE something that is sexually impure.
A sin consists in loving something that God hates, or in hating something that God loves. Because God is pure love, in one sense there is no hatred in God. But there are actions that God regards with a COMPLETE ABSENCE of love. There are many things that men can do that God does not love. In so far as God does not love a human action, according to our way of thinking it can be said that God hates it. These actions are sins. They are often as hateful to men as they are to God! What are some things that God does not love? What are some things that, according to our human way of speaking, we might say that God hates??
Above all, God hates falsehood. God hates any form of lie, rejoicing in cruel lies, or in telling harmful lies about others. He hates any kind of injustice perpetrated upon his children! God hates cruelty, or the defrauding of a worker of his just wages. God hates it when one person entices another person to do something harmful to himself or others: like to worship evil, or to steal, or to lie, or to take drugs. God also hates impure sexual lust because lust is a false pretense of love. It is a gross and disordered counterfeit of what should really be a sentiment of holy love. Lust consists in fixating on the body of another human being as a sexual object - solely for sexual gratification. When a person lusts, he is making no lasting commitment to the other human being. He is regarding the other human being's body as a sexual object to be used for his own gratification - but nothing more! Outside of marriage, a person who lusts is acting as if he would take another person sexually to be his spouse: but he has absolutely no intention of actually doing so. That is why LUST IS A LIE.
When the subject of masturbation arises, it always refers to stimulating one's self for the gratification of sexual lust, or in stimulating one's self sexually while fantasizing about the lust of another person. In impure sexual fantasy, a person uses his own imagination as a pornographic tool to give his body the ability to attain sexual gratification. In reality entertaining lustful fantasy is embracing a falsehood of the heart and mind, in an act of abuse of his own body in order to attain selfish sexual gratification. This is sexual idolatry! God hates falsehood - especially worshipping a false god! This is why God hates impurity in all it's forms.
God hates the worship of ugliness, or obscenity, or bestiality. A person who might sexually gratify himself while looking at bestiality is acting as if bestiality is a good thing - when it is a hateful thing! In the same way: lustfully fixating upon lurid sexual pornography is a behavior that pretends that some obscene sexual image, or a lurid posture, or an obscene action is a good thing, when they are nothing but obscene and hateful images! These images are used as objects of false worship. These obscene images, be they real, photographic, or imaginary, are the objects of the "worship of obscenities" specifically referred to in the Bible. Do not be deceived! Those who willfully, and habitually indulge in these acts of impurity, without repentance, will incur eternal damnation. (Rev. 21:8)
God hates pornography because it is used to degrade human beings: both men and women. The sole purpose of hard-core pornography is to create and inflame degrading sexual lust, or to invoke unholy gratification by the enjoyment taken in the degradation of another person. Indulging in impure lusts, or taking delight in the lust, or degradation of another person constitute the sins of impurity. Masturbation severely damages a person's ability to accomplish the intended purpose of loving marital sexuality.
Holy sexuality is the loving donation between a man and wife of their own bodies to one another. In marriage it may be enjoyed for holy procreation, or to express romantic love, or simply for the delight that the freedom marriage affords the spouses to release the tensions of life. It may even be an act of charity! But it is always a privileged act of special intimacy reserved for spouses alone. Masturbation, by it's very nature clouds and degrades the purpose and privilege of married sexuality. Masturbation is a solitary act of gratifying one's own physical urge. Performed as a solitary act, even in the married state, it degrades the place of honor of the spouse! It often serves to sexually replace the spouse entirely! This is because masturbation trains a person to abuse his own sexual powers outside the intended order of God, in a selfish solitary way.
If a Catholic has committed sins of masturbation, he must confess these sins in the confessional in this way: "I have committed sins of impurity with myself (mention a specific number)." If a non Catholic has committed sins of masturbation, he must humbly kneel down and beg pardon for his sins, and pray to be delivered of such temptations in the future. Preferably, he would seek out a trusted person who understands this sin: and confess this sin or habit: as is appropriate. "Confess your sins one unto another, and you shall be healed." One must NEVER describe his sexual sins in such a way that it might be an occasion of sin to the confessor! One must never mention names, or details: just the generic name of the sin: and nothing more. If there are circumstances which make any sin more especially grievous, then one must mention WHY his sin is more grievous - but must never he be graphic or explicit about the acts themselves.
One must never provide images which would pollute the soul of a confessor. A trained confessor has heard these sins tens of thousands of times. He does not want graphic details: nor is the divulging of details appropriate at all! Rather - the confessor is there for the sinner who must honestly accuse himself before God, by submitting in humility to the witness of the confessor. Here, honesty is critical. Intentionally withholding any grievous sin renders a confession null. It is only the sinner who is healed by his forthright admission of his sin in the presence of a person who only acts as a witness of his remorse. There are many sins which, at first, seem to be most embarrassing to confess. But there is no sin that in it's nature is not common to all men. Every confessor has heard every variant of every sin hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. Absolution, and sacramental forgiveness comes only from Christ. For Catholics this is always assuredly accomplished by sacramental absolution given by the priest, who speaks not for himself, but for Christ - as an assurance to the person that his sins are indeed forgiven by his humble confession, and by the power of this sacrament.
This particular sin is the most frequently mentioned sin by men in the confessional. It IS a very common sin. Usually, it is a mortal sin. If a person is in a state of grace, and is striving to remain pure, it may not be a mortal sin if suddenly, almost spontaneously, one looses control at a moment of weakness. In such instances a person may not have given "full consent of the will." These unplanned venial wounds, however, are often followed by acts that ARE mortal sins. Once the spontaneous physical impulse has passed, a person may continue to masturbate only to satisfy unnecessary carnal lusts that are intentionally entertained! If these acts are done with decided forethought, then the will has certainly fully consented to commit them. As such, they are definitely impure and mortally sinful. Therefore, ordinarily, if Catholic people have committed sins of masturbation, they should NOT receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion until they have gone to Confession.
Holy Communion is a very private thing - and no one should ever feel compelled to receive Holy Communion: no matter what the circumstance. It is most inappropriate to ask another "why did he not receive communion?" Such questions are ignorant, inappropriate and absolutely outside the bounds of any relationship whatsoever. Such matters are between the soul and God alone. Even wondering about such things is absolutely ignorant and inappropriate. A teen who feels he should decline to receive Holy Communion in the company of nosey parents performs an act of heroic virtue! Attending weekly mass is always an obligation. But, receiving Holy Communion is not! In Hispanic communities, usually only about 1/4 of the assembly actually choose to receive Holy Communion. It is more ordinary for Hispanics NOT to receive communion, than it is to do so. Their reasons are their own: and their reasons are absolutely private and of no concern at all to anyone else.
To fully understand why masturbation is sinful, one must appreciate the holiness of one's own body, and believe in the true and sacred purpose of human sexuality. The "spiritual union" known as "a state of grace" consists in God's uniting himself with the body and soul of a human being. The sanctification of a soul by the grace of God is a spiritual divine union: it is as sacred as marriage itself! The hearts and minds of Christian people must not be defiled by gratifying themselves by indulging in impure sexual fantasies, or by abusing their own physical sexual powers. One's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit! One can no more masturbate in private without the defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit, than one could masturbate inside a Church without defiling it! If one believes that his own body is less holy than a physical building, then he does not at all understand the meaning of the holy gospel, or the awesome holiness of Christian grace.
The relationship of Christ with his Church is a supernatural marriage. Christ espouses his Church as a bride. The marriage of a man and a woman is but a reflection of how intimately God espouses a soul through the indwelling of his divine grace: which is the indwelling of his Holy Spirit. All are united to God through Christ, and through Christ all souls are united with each other. This holy union of souls is called: the "Mystical Body of Christ" - or- "The Church". Christ espouses his Church as a bride. Christian marriage is only a reflection of this more perfect, and eternal marriage: that of Christ with his Bride, the Church.
God is jealous of what our hearts and minds consent to indulge in. This is because his love is intimately personal! God longs to be loved with the affection and loyalty of a spouse! God desires and intends to enjoin in a spiritual, even matrimonial union with the soul. The union with God of a soul in a state of grace is a very real participation in God's own divinity! In a state of grace, the soul mystically participates in the divine life of God himself through the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. Like committing adultery within a marriage, acts of masturbation break the souls covenant of fidelity with God. That is why, usually, acts of masturbation are mortal sins.
Masturbating in public is a criminal act! Why is this so? Because It is a disgusting and grotesque display of lust which is morally offensive to all! Masturbation is no less morally offensive to almighty God when it is done in private. On the contrary, the marital act of sexual intimacy is holy, which means: "set apart". It is reserved for privacy precisely because it is holy, intimately personal, and sacred. But, how would YOU feel if you knew that your spouse was masturbating while fantasizing about being with someone else? If you are a Christian you would be offended! You would be jealous! You would be angry! God regards the idolatry of consummating lusts in much the same way. In a state of grace, God has espoused the soul in a precious spiritual divine union. This spiritual union is EXACTLY what a "state of grace" consists in.
The essence of the Christian Gospel is God's loving call to all human beings, to accept His complete forgiveness for past sins, and to enter into a new kind of life, sanctified and empowered by divine grace. This is truly a wonderful new life of spiritual union with God. The supernatural power experienced by souls who are truly come to know God in this way is awesome! This is why so many thousands of martyrs chose to spill their blood for Christ, rather than to renounce him. They were not choosing death - giving up their very lives - for some false, imaginary experience! When a soul is truly sanctified the supernatural power of divine grace: the soul is 'born again'. With every passing day, the soul is drawn ever deeper into union with God. This process of being born again is not something that happens only once: it is an ongoing process of supernatural sanctification through the continuous infusion of divine grace. The soul is renewed daily, as it is continuously perfected as a new creation. This 'metanoia', this rebirth of new life in Christ occurs by an ongoing renewal of the mind and heart, through continually increasing in the grace of God. The grace of God is first planted in the soul like a seed: then the soul continues to grow in the life of grace - in spite of blight, and freeze, and sin. There are many difficulties, and crosses, and sins - which confront the soul in it's spiritual journey.
Masturbation, whether it be done while watching a pornographic movie, or while fixating upon obscene pictures, or by using one's own imagination as a tool to focus upon a fantasy of forbidden sex offends God's sense of intimacy and decency: just as such actions would offend a spouse! God considers such actions infidelities, and they grievously offend him! For this reason such actions gravely jeopardize the soul's state of unitive grace. By "cheating" on God, the Holy Spirit is offended by an "adultery of the heart". He flees, offended by such sins - and the soul is left alone! The mortal sin breaks the bond of the indwelling sanctifying grace of God! This of course, supposes that the person has ever really understood, or undergone a true Christian conversion. Adolescents may still be "on the way." Adolescents should regard temptations against purity much like Satan's promise to Eve: "go ahead - eat of the forbidden fruit: you will not die." Satan's temptation is a false promise intended to trap them in obsessive compulsive behaviors: to which they are, in fact, extremely vulnerable - even though they do not realize this until after they have sinned.
Saint Paul is very clear about this: "Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments. Among you their must not even be mention of fornication, promiscuity, or impurity in any of it's forms! You can be quite certain that no one who actually indulges in promiscuity, or impurity - which is worshiping a a false god - can inherit any thing of the kingdom of God! Impure things that are done in secret, are things that people are ashamed even to speak of! Immoral behavior such as this brings down God's anger upon the children of disobedience. Make sure you are not included among them! You were in darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord! Be like children of light! The effects of this light are manifest by complete goodness, and truth, and right living. Anything exposed to the light will be illuminated, and anything illuminated turns into light. So, be very careful about the sort of lives you lead. Pray the psalms, and sing to the Lord in your heart! Everywhere you are, give thanks to the Lord! This may be a wicked age, but you can redeem it!" (Ephesians 5: 2-15)
The 10 Commandments are also very clear: "I, the Lord, am a jealous God!" "Thou shalt not commit adultery!" "Thou shalt NOT COVET thy neighbors wife!" Jesus said: "If a man looks at a woman with lust in his eye, he has committed adultery with her in his heart." In another place he says: "If your right hand offends you ... cut it off! It is better to enter into heaven with only one hand, than to sin with your hand ... and go to hell." He concludes this teaching in the book of Revelation: "I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will reward with eternal life anyone who proves victorious! Eternal life is the inheritance for everyone who proves victorious! But, the legacy for cowards, for those who break their word, or for murderers, or fortunetellers, or fornicators, or those who worship obscenities-- and all idolaters, or any other sort of liar: is the second death in the burning lake of sulphur. (Rev. 21:8)
Don't listen to some asinine teacher, or psychologist who tells you that: masturbation is "normal" and quite all right. Masturbation may be "normal" in a civilization where child rape and murder happen almost everyday. Masturbation may be normal in a society with hard-core pornography channels available on every TV cable or satellite system. Masturbation may be normal where lurid pornographic images are spammed constantly to every Internet user: But masturbation is NOT all right!
People who do not understand that masturbation is sinful do not understand the true nature of grace. Nor do they understand the great dignity and spiritual power present in the heroic Christian life which results in eternal glory. They have no comprehension of the holiness, or the intimate spiritual relationship, to which human beings are called by God. Every opinion such people have may be tainted by this blindness. They may take the name of the Lord Jesus Christ constantly - and yet they imagine that they have some "enlightenment" about masturbation? Most people in this day and age fall into this category. At their very best they are simply ignorant. At their worst, they are vicious pornographers or sexual predators striving to corrupt the souls of others by their own slavery to sexual lust. Among these sexual predators are debaucherous young men who seek to seduce young women, or young women who seek to incite men to lust for the evil and impure gratification, which they, in turn, take from the lust of the men.
These average people do not realize that they are only one step away from being exactly like the predator who would try to corrupt a child with sexuality. No matter what age a person is, it is very sinful to incite another person to commit acts of sexual immorality. Molestation is more than a violation of trust, or a violation of social responsibility, it consists in the corruption and defilement of an innocent heart! For adults also, it is very sinful to attempt to incite another to lust. After adolescence, people may begin to practice the more commonly recognized sins of debauchery, and harlotry. The nature of these sins, consist in inciting a person of the opposite sex to lust. For children - or for adults: "It would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea, than to be responsible for leading astray any of these little ones."
Remaining pure is NOT easy. Living a pure life is the hardest thing in the world to do! So, it is NO surprise that people find it extremely difficult live up to Christian ideals. God is a loving father who understands this! He loves His children, and patiently nurtures them. He is very concerned with rescuing his children from traps, and powerfully leading them to spiritual maturity. To do this, he must be quick to forgive! So he always picking them up, forgiving them, renewing them, and empowering them with even greater graces. Still, it must be very clear what is right and wrong! Masturbation is wrong! If you could shoot heroin just once it wouldn't be so bad. But it does not work out that way. Likewise, masturbation is not something people just do "occasionally." If the urge is not resisted, it quickly becomes a habit. It's a nasty habit of continually consenting mentally and spiritually to acts of sexual impurity.
It is very true that sexual tension's can be almost impossible to endure! Sometimes they feel unbearable. But that's OK! This is life - this is human reality - like it or not! This is the most corrupted generation in human history for widespread, unbridled sexual promiscuity. Human beings ARE sexual creatures! The instinct for sex can be overwhelming for both men and women! Sexual images, pornography, and enticements to sexual vanity are everywhere! It is a slippery slope! From gorgeous fashion models, to the M-TV bare-belly dirty dancing culture: the whole civilization is enticed into pride, lust, fornication, adultery, vanity, addiction to pornography, masturbation, and consequently the complete loss of appreciation for the power of grace, or the true purpose of sexuality and marriage.
People who imagine that masturbation is 'normal', are woefully ignorant of the obvious reality that it is the devil himself who is the author of both lust and incest. Any internet search for "SEX" - has the unmistakable signature of degrading satanic impurity written on every page! The same people who would maintain that masturbation is normal - pretend that it exists in a world apart from the the disgusting, and degrading world of pornography? What do these fools imagine would happen to the pornography, or phone-sex industries: if masturbation was entirely removed from the equation? There would be no such things! Sexuality is the Achilles heel for struggling mankind - and the devil knows this well! Above all things, Satan is committed to constantly tempting men with powerful enticements to lust. Satan longs to trap men and woman by enticing them to honor what is false, vane, impure, self indulgent, ugly, or degrading.
God told the great St. Catherine of Sienna that if He did not uphold her by his grace, there would be no way that she could resist the powerful sexual temptations presented to her by the devil! It was revealed to the Spanish mystic, Venerable Mary of Agreda, that anyone who resisted a powerful sexual temptation overcomes a more difficult test than the test which caused Satan and the other angels to fall! Anyone who resists such a temptation gains more heavenly glory on that one occasion than the angels have! That's why the inheritance of the victorious is eternal glory! At the First Council of the Church in Jerusalem, there were only two things that were decided to be absolutely necessary for Christians: #1) Refrain from fornication -- (which means that Christians MUST remain pure in thoughts, words, and deeds); #2) Not to participate in diabolic pagan blood rituals. (Acts 15:29)
The saints teach that the grace of purity is only given to the humble! "Knowing" what is right-living, and actually living right, are two very different things. Conquering temptation against purity is the work of a lifetime! Everyone, married or single, young or old, is challenged in this area. People fall continually! You are not so great that you do not deserve to be tried in this area like every other human being! You will be tried. And, you may fall. But, your human vulnerability must not cause you to loose heart: for your very soul is at stake! You must fight this fight to the death against your fallen human nature! With the grace of God you will prove victorious over this difficult human challenge!
Everyone sins. Every human being who has ever lived has suffered identical problems or temptations. Sexual impurity is something that should be rejected, but it is not something to be horribly ashamed of. Lust is the natural consequence of the disordered sexual instinct of fallen human nature. Men must be strengthened by divine grace. Masturbation is just a very common sin! Like all sin it must be conquered! But it can only be conquered with the help of the grace of God. If someone has contracted the habit of masturbation, sometimes the sudden physical impulse is unavoidable! But consenting to a life style of sin IS avoidable! Consenting to a lifestyle of sin, is damnable! The object is to fight the fight! Don't just give up, and resign yourself to an eternity in hell for being a mealy-mouthed masturbator! If someone has contracted a habit, they simply need to recognize it, admit it to themselves, to God, and to another human being.
Most importantly, a person must then target this area of their life with continual prayer that they be delivered from temptation! No one can resist such temptations if they entertain them! Sexual temptations become overwhelmingly powerful. One must learn to reject the even the slightest occasion of sin. People must learn to practice strict custody of their eyes in public; and they must learn to recognize the evil spirit of lust who constantly creeps at the door of their imagination. Demons can incite feelings of lust in the most saintly of souls! St. Francis DeSales said that every other temptation must be fought - but the only victor in the war against impurity is the coward - who quickly rejects the tempter himself, and runs away from the temptation as fast as he can! Your guardian angel will warn you - but only once. If you do not immediately heed the warning and reject the temptation: you will fall. (This applies to unmarried couples playing with fire as well. You must push away, get up, and go - NOW! No rationalizing. No begging. No bargaining. Just give a quick smile, and say: "I HAVE to go!" Then GET GONE!)
St. Therese the Little Flower stated that whenever she felt tempted, she would immediately turn away from the temptation and RUN to Jesus! She would immediately, and desperately call to Jesus, and tell him that the enemy was attacking His kingdom! She regularly called upon him to come and defend his kingdom! That "kingdom" was her soul. The "kingdom of God" consists inside the souls of his children. Therese said that Jesus would always drive the tempter away, so Therese never fell! St. Faustina said that she was finally delivered from temptations against purity only after many years of advanced holiness.
God's grace will prevail ... if a person will fight the fight! A person must be prepared to fall a hundred times, and to confess their sins each time. They must completely acknowledge and admit to their own human weakness, and then continually pray not to be put to the test. As people become convinced of their own weakness, they grow in sincere humility. Then, Gods grace prevails! Remember, the grace of purity is only given to the humble! To "prove victorious" in anything, one needs to continually pray to be delivered from temptation! Human beings are dependent upon God in every aspect of their emotional lives. As one grows in his dependence upon God, one will learn that he can only be victorious when God himself delivers him. This applies to all temptations, anxieties, or addictions! Vigilance must remain the work of a lifetime! People must never stop seeking the forgiveness and grace of God, asking for his help, getting up and trying again. God forgives a million times a million times! He anticipates men with his grace. He continually gives new strength. He perfects men one step at a time! Not in a month, or a year, but in a life time!
"What ever you are sure of, be sure of this: that you are dreadfully like other people" - James Russell Lowell
"Humility is to make a right estimate of ones own self" - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
"Good people are good, because they've come to wisdom through failure." - William Saroyn
"I am a man. Nothing human is alien to me." - Terence
"There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives to his life by the correct use of his powers." - Eric Fromm
"My offenses: truly I know them." - Psalm 51
"We find peace only by resisting our passions, not by giving in to them." - Imitation of Christ (Chap.6)
"If you would conquer the world, then conquer yourself. There is nothing more a man can do, and nothing greater." -Unknown
"If you yourself live in continence, do not judge the one who lusts. For if you do, just like him you disobey the law. The one who said "do not lust" also said: "do not judge." - A desert Father
"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but to believe that you may understand." - Saint Augustine
"Turn to me and be safe all you ends
of the earth, for I am God - there is no other. By my own self I
swear it, uttering my unalterable decree: to me every knee will bend,
and every tongue shall confess saying, 'only in the Lord are there just
deeds and power'." - Isaiah 45:20
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