Lust is one of the sins people can easily fall into. In today’s society, various lustful acts such as pornography, masturbation, fornication, and adultery are normalized. When you look at your social media, you can witness how common sexually related content is. Girls dancing in a provocative way, guys casually talking about sexual experiences, and shows with unnecessary sex scenes to name a few just flood feeds. Sadly, these types of content get a lot more attention with hundreds and even thousands of engagements. Vulgarity is not vulgar anymore.
I remember how Our Lady of Fatima revealed to the visionary, St. Jacinta, “The sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.”
It is indeed scary!
Seeing how rampant impure acts nowadays, it is not surprising.
But, it is still not the end. There is still hope.
In this blog post, we will be discussing lust. And how this sin can be forgiven.
Here’s what the Catechism says about lust.
CCC 2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.
Lust is among the seven deadly sins. It is the counterpart of chastity.
CCC 2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.
Any action that goes against chastity is considered lust.
Here are the offenses against chastity.
These are some of the biblical passages that talk about lust.
“But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
“Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.”
1 Corinthians 6:18
“Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.”
“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”
The verses mentioned just highlighted lust as sinful and how one should avoid it.
Mortal vs Venial Sin
Catholic Church categorizes sin depending on gravity. It could be Mortal or venial.
These are the conditions for a sin to be mortal.
- It must involve grave matter (like inflicting grave harm to others)
- Committed with full knowledge that it is a grave sin
- Committed with deliberate consent
Let’s use one of the lustful sins as an example, a homosexual act.
If one had sexual intercourse with the same gender, aware that it is a sin but still committed it, then there is a mortal sin.
First, a homosexual act is a grave matter as it is against divine and natural law.
CCC 2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
Next, that person committed it in full knowledge. It means there was an awareness that it is a sin.
Lastly, committed it with full consent. Despite the fact that there was an awareness of how sinful it was, it was still deliberately carried out.
Note that all conditions must be present. If a sin does not contain even just one of these conditions, it will then fall as venial.
A person can commit lust not only through action. It is also possible that one can be lustful in thoughts such as having sexual thoughts.
Sexual thoughts can be a sin or not at all.
If one intentionally thinks of these impure thoughts, then there is a sin.
On the other hand, for those who have religious Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Scrupulosity), these thoughts are intrusive thoughts– unwanted thoughts that unexpectedly enter one’s head.
Having intrusive thoughts is actually a sign of scrupulosity that’s why these thoughts are ordinary for them. But, the moment they get into their minds does not necessarily mean they are sinning because there is actually no intention in the first place.
To know more about scrupulosity, you might want to check this out.
Now, let’s answer the question.
Can lust be forgiven?
Yes. Lust can be forgiven. Just like any other sins, sins related to lust are forgivable. In the Sacrament of Confession, God can grant absolution to these sins.
Now that you know that lustful sins are pardonable, the challenge is how to confess them.
A sexual act is probably one of the hardest sins to confess. Confessing it to a priest can be a little awkward, especially for those who are first-timers. But this is the reality.
To help you lessen the worry, I made this guide on how to confess sexual sins. It contains what to say inside the confession box to make the confession flow seamless.
In addition, if it is your first time on confession, here is a guide for beginners.
After confession, there is a tendency for people to go back to their old ways. We are human and we can fall anytime. It is understandable. But we must strive to be better!
Here are some of the resources that could help you in fighting against lust.
Pornography and Masturbation
If you are struggling with pornography and masturbation, you can check these.
Some Parishes have Office for Family Life. You can ask them for counselor recommendation.
For those who have homosexual tendencies, you might want to check Courage.
It is an apostolate offering support for those who experience same-sex attractions and to their loved ones as well.
For those couples whose in difficult relationships because of unfaithfulness, here is a Catholic resource for marital healing.
You can also check these Catholic Books on Chastity.
These books tackle how to achieve a chaste life.
From the challenges of being chaste as a single to homosexuality, this set of books can help you live a pure life.
Lust is one of the sins we should always be aware of. A lot of people fall for this. And they stop standing up because they feel there is no hope, that God won’t forgive them. If you are one of those, listen, God is merciful and compassionate. Even more importantly, He is forgiving.
In the Sacrament of Penance, you can attain the forgiveness you are asking for. It is a powerful Sacrament. Through this, God can free you from the bondage of your sins.
You only need to repent and change.
With prayer, Sacraments, and the resources above, let’s defeat lust! That we may be pure, fit for His kingdom.
St. Agnes, Patron Saint of Chastity, pray for us.