Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Q&A: On Keeping Custody of the Eyes, Avoiding the Occasion of Sin, Sexual Ethics, Mortification and Loving God etc.

Hi Jerome,
Just wanted to say thanks for the... essay on keeping custody of the eyes - how many souls are endangered by the hyper-sexualised society we sadly find ourselves living in nowadays?
Also, thank you for affirming - as I truly believe (but sadly few agree) that the marital act can only be used lawfully for the purpose of procreation and not for recreation. I believe this is engraved in the heart of all Christians - but sadly most refuse to acknowledge the truth. Our Lord, Our Lady and the beloved disciple lived their entire lives in total chastity - what greater example do we require to prove how highly God esteems this blessed virtue?

Answer: Hi, concerning the article on "Custody of the Eyes", it is adviced that you read it in its entirety if you have not already done so:

I hope you also have implemented the extensions listed and that you do not surf the internet with images enabled, and that you have youtube videos blocked etc. so that the screen can only be seen (without the movable images) and only the audio heard. It is important to make these implementations, but from experience, most people will not do so due to their evil attachment to images.
If you surf the internet causally with images enabled (such as various websites), or watch movable media such as television or movies or youtube, then you have not actually made any of the changes that was noted as necessary for salvation in order to avoid this occasion of sin(I am not accusing you of anything... I am just making sure whether or not you are a wise man; that you care for your soul and do not expose it to spiritual ruin as most fools do today, even those calling themselves Traditional Catholics who are totally addicted to watching even more secular and dangerous media, movies and tv series.)

Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters #61, March 4, 1679: “He can sometimes be absolved, who remains in a proximate occasion of sinning, which he can and does not wish to omit, but rather directly and professedly seeks or enters into.” – Condemned statement by Pope Innocent XI.

Since the Church condemns putting oneself in the deliberate occasion of sinning as a mortal sin (by being unable to receive a valid absolution), and the internet and media is full of immodesties and occasions of sinnings, this obviously means something must be done about it and that one cannot keep exposing oneself to this danger without making some changes.

Again, see the article for all the solutions:

Concerning your question on the damage done to souls by immodesty, this can only be fully known to God; but I think it is true to say that every man and woman that have ever get exposed to it (the immodesty), have been negatively effected. Most people have evidently fallen into some sin because of it, such as sins of lust in deed or thought, and immodest dress; and also by approving it (i.e., not condemning it), as can be seen in many apostate Vatican II churches, where so-called Catholic women and girls dress like sluts and the "priests" allowing it and hardly ever saying a word against it.

And yes, sex should be for procreation only since this is most pleasing to God and the best way since it seeks to please Him first and foremost, and not ourselves.

Indeed, God loves purity and holiness so much -- and that one tries to live according the flesh as little as possible -- that He will exalt those in Heaven who practice it in infinite degrees above those who indulge in fleshly pleasures yet manages to save themselves. Also, the more one loves God in this life, the more will one seek His consolations and caresses only: "A person worthy of the Holy Spirit's consolation is one who seeks no other consoler but God." (Words of The Blessed Virgin Mary, in The Revelations of Saint Bridget, Book 2, Chapter 22) That is why virginity, chastity, continence and widowhood is above and greater than the marriage state and sexual relations - and why mortifications and penances and seeking consolations only from God is of infinitely greater worth than seeking consolations and indulging in fleshly pleasures of the world and flesh.




It is not wrong or a sin to seek other consolations than God since we are weak human beings, but if we always prefer our own comforts from the world, we are missing out to find any true comfort from God, since this is only given those who fervently seek Him.
Monasteries and convents are usually called "lax" when they have fallen away from their first rule and started to give themselves lots of "comforts" contrary to the original, more severe rule, and not a few monastics have ended up in Hell in the end because of it -- as one can read in Sr. Josefa Menendez description of Hell -- since constantly pleasing the flesh leads the spirit further away from God towards self and sin. The same applies to worldlings:

"Today, I saw a vast number of people fall into the fiery pit . . . they seemed to be worldlings and a demon cried vociferously: 'The world is ripe for me . . . I know that the best way to get hold of souls is to rouse their desire for enjoyment . . . Put me first . . . me before the rest . . . no humility for me! but let me enjoy myself . . . This sort of thing assures victory to me . . . and they tumble headlong into hell.' " (Sr. Josefa Menendez, October 4, 1923)

Since seeking consolation from God rather than the flesh and the world means greater intimacy with Him even in this life, this obviously means that having "fun" here on earth thus means to have lesser glory and intimacy with God in the next life - and of more easily being damned by becoming negligent in the spirit. That is why suffering and mortification is the way of the saints, but since this is hard for the flesh, most people shun it (and I my self struggle! although, I force my self to move forward as detailed in this post https://against-all-heresies-and-errors.blogspot.com/2017/09/valid-confession-question-with-follow-up-on-avoiding-occasion-of-sin-and-penance.html).



Earlier E-mail Conversation & Questions and Answers

Dear Jerome...
I was wondering whether you might be able to recommend me a traditional Catechism, as the Geoffrey Chapman 'Popular and Definitive Edition' (Editio Typica) which I own is evidently aimed at a modern readership and is a good deal less than satisfactory.
Grateful thanks for your consideration, and thank you again for the blog...

Answer: 1. The Catechism of Trent and Penny Catechism, both available online, are better sources for learning the Catholic faith:

Catechism of Trent


Penny Catechism


They can also be bought online:


2. The "Geoffrey Chapman Catechism" seem to be a Vatican II Catechism. Are you aware of that Vatican II is a departure from Catholic teaching and that the Vatican II sect and its antipopes are not real popes?

See these important and related articles:


There's only one Catholic Church.  The Vatican II sect is not the Catholic Church, and Francis is not the pope.  That's covered in the material.  To be a true Catholic you must be a traditional Catholic.  One must not go to the New Mass.  It must be avoided under pain of grave sin.  There's no obligation to attend Mass in this situation, and those who have no non-heretical Traditional Catholic Church and Mass should stay at home on Sundays and become convinced on the issues.  One must reach the point where one is committed never to attend the New Mass again, rejects the Vatican II sect and its antipopes as non-Catholic, believes in Outside the Church There is No Salvation without exception (no “baptism of desire”, no salvation for those “invincibly ignorant” of the Catholic faith), rejects NFP, won’t support any heretical priests, etc.  We also recommend that you pray 15 decades of the Rosary each day and the Hail Mary frequently.


3. If you like the blog, check out the following relevant and important articles and information also:

If you want to be a saint and glorify God as much as possible and become holy and pleasing to God, first and foremost you must get a good prayer life and do your ordinary tasks even better. That can be done easily. Please consult the following important articles, books/audio books/booklets on this very topic:


Please consult these articles above, they are very good and important for the advancement of your soul.

And go through this blog for all the important posts on prayer and other topics concerning the salvation of our souls:

Also, please read these heavenly revelations, since they are one of the most important books today to read in order to break free from the world and start to love and fear God:

Also see:

1. The Great Apostasy and a counterfeit Church predicted in the New Testament and in Catholic Prophecy:

Also see these articles that deals more in depth with the Vatican II apostasy and the apostate antipope Francis:

An Antipope Francis video can be downloaded for free:

Also, one of the most important things you can read on the website is the following section from the Spiritual Info article:

I hope you look into the material...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Q&A: "Is it okay to go for confession at a Ukrainian Catholic Church?" with Follow up Q&A concerning important information on avoiding the occasion of sin and doing penance for sin -- which most people refuse to do -- which is why they are damned in the end

Valid confession question please help me

Question: “im just curious is it okay to go for confession at a [Vatican II] Ukranian Catholic Church that uses Byzantine Rites as long as the priest [is validly ordained] rejects the antipope... and dont use for Mass or communion?
thank you God bless”

Answer: If you adhere to MHFM's (or other Traditionalists') guidelines on "Where to receive Sacraments" and their teaching is according to your conscience*, then it is possible you could do so without committing sin. But if you follow the position as explained in the article (and I assume you have read it) "About receiving the sacraments from heretics and prayer in communion with heretics" and you find it to be more in line with Catholic teaching according to your conscience* -- then no, you can not confess to them and need to stay home, confessing your sins to some friend perhaps (or to me through email), or, at least to God for now.

*Remember to always follow your conscience concerning these and similar matters, since, according to Saint Alphonsus: “...an error, in which something is believed to be mortal that is not, binds to mortal sin by conscience.” This is why St. Antoninus says: “Unless one were to have express authority of Sacred Scripture, or a canon, or a determination of the Church, or at least evident reason, something will be determined to be a mortal sin only with very great danger. ... For if something were determined to be mortal, and it were not mortal [i.e., you think it is mortal even though it is not]acting against it he will sin because everything that is against conscience paves the road to hell.” (https://against-all-heresies-and-errors.blogspot.com/2017/08/st-alphonsus-moral-theology-book-2-requirements-for-mortal-sin.html)

Remember that avoiding the occasions of sin and having a determination never to offend God again is the essential requirement in order to put a person into a state of Grace again and God's friendship -- for many confess but end up in Hell anyway -- since they have no real intention of entirely ceasing with offending God.

Please consult these relevant and important articles for more information:

About the sacrament of penance and contrition and about receiving forgiveness without an absolution

A “venial sin is made mortal if a human being delights in it with the intention of persevering” according to Our Lord Jesus Christ

Bad confessions are the road to hell for many; and of persons who have made sacrilegious confessions


Understand that this position, if you adhere to it, also permit you to confess your sins to any priest (such as to a Vatican II priest) provided you do so as to a layman; but you need to make known to him in that case that you do not confess in order to receive an "absolution", but rather in order to make known your sins to someone (by confession) and by making penance for them. (Confessing is of course shameful and hence a form of penance in itself.)

Also the Ukrainian "Catholic" Church you referred to is part of the Vatican II sect and hence their "priests" may be invalidly ordained. One may never receive a sacrament from such a "priest", of course.

According to the position which to me seems more probably at present, it is only permitted to receive the sacraments from a validly ordained non-heretical, Catholic priests. Hence if you agree with this position, then you may not receive a sacrament from any priest that is not fully Catholic. This should answer your question.

According to some pre-Vatican II teachings, however, such as Holy Office replies and theologians, one could receive confession in danger of death from a heretic or schismatic (and one may argue, with a situation like ours today, that one is constantly living in "a danger of death" and of dying without the sacraments), but I am not sure if this teaching is correct since it contradicts tradition, as the articles explain.

Follow up questions and answers

The same person replied a little later, indicating that he was determined to avoid offending God for the future. He also wanted to confess his sins to me and did so, and for personal and private reasons, I will not include his email to me. But I will give you my response:

1. Even though you are not required to confess your sins to me, a confession would be a little meaningless unless you confessed all your mortal sins, even the most shameful sexual sins. But it is always good to confess. [Note: I was not accusing him of withholding anything.]

There is really no sin that would surprise me, since I know how evil and sinful I am - and have been my self.

2. You should make some penance for your sins so that you understand that it is serious, and that you will have to suffer something if you fall into such sins.

I can recommend you some easy penances, and some little harder:

-If you don't pray 15 decades of the Rosary each day [see How to Pray the Rosary], pray all 15 decades (all 3 mysteries of the Rosary) for at least a week as a penance. (You may have to remove time from other things in order to achieve this). [Preferably one should always pray the 15 decades and pray a lot every day, but for people who do not do this, it is good to make them increase prayer first by penance, and then once they have grown accustomed, they may (hopefully) retain this custom. If a person values the things of God more than the world (and if he loves God more than himself and more than his own pleasures and ease), he will of course succeed in giving himself more time for prayer. I can easily see how a person that is addicted to media and video games will pray very little and priority the things of the world and hence almost certainly be lost in the end.]
-Fast only on bread and water for a week. If this seems too hard to you, eat normally but deprive yourself of everything you would like to eat for one week, and only eat the least desirable things and avoid making the food tastier than it already is.
-Punish yourself for a week by denying yourself your own will, by giving yourself pain in some ways, such as cold showers, and denying yourself things you like. Sleep on the floor etc.

It is of course preferable to always live like this, not only for one week, but often. No one is forced to live like this every day, but many people do the mistake to only live like this as a penance for a short time, and then never thinking about it again. I my self tries to live one week of penance, followed by a more "normal" week, every day of the year! [And my intention is to become even more severe as time progresses, and I have made vows to this effect since I am fully aware of that unless one forces oneself under pain of mortal sin (such as by binding oneself under solemn vows of always progressing more and more by word of mouth to God or the Virgin) one may never get anywhere, since self-love and the love of ease and pleasure is too strong to fight against, unless one had something that forced you to move forward against your will.]

3. If you start to pray the Rosary and Hail Mary frequently your oppression problems should go away; also, if you start to live a better life by avoiding the occasions of sin, your problems should go away. However, the problem is that most people don't want to better their lives, or avoid the occasion of sins like media. We shall see what is the case with you (see point nr. 4).

4. In order to avoid falling into porn and similar things, it is important that you start surfing the internet with ad blocks, image blocks etc, and that you stop watching media and only listen to the audios. If you don't surf the internet with ad blocks and image blocks, and if you watch media such as television causally despite being told not to do so, you commit mortal sin; since it is impossible not to see countless of immodesties every day.


As a penance* for your sins that in my opinion you must do for your sins (the penances above was only recommendations), is to read this section below -- and if I was a priest, I would tell you that you must do this:


*I only call it penance since it is long reading [i.e, the entire long section dealing with occasions of sin concerning the media and the need to surf the internet with ad blockers and image blockers], but even without reading it as a penance, it would be important and necessary for your salvation to read it anyway. [But most people sadly don't care about information like this and many, even if they read it, refuse to implement it or, if they do implement it, walk away from it after a while due to their evil and depraved and damnable attachment to seeing images and watching media.]

Follow up questions and answers 2

Question: “oh you mean i have to confess every single sin, not just the category, i honestly dont know if i can remember all of the times
literally thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands i dont know
ill try to make a list
...i do that already [some penance] I don't eat meat or dairy or eggs even though I want to, except occasionally never meat though
thank you for the advice”

Answer: You don't have to mention every case of similar masturbation for example, and you can say I have committed the sin of masturbation hundreds or thousands of times in my life. That would be valid and enough.

But perhaps you have done other forms of shameful masturbation that needs to be mentioned separately that is not similar to normal masturbation, and that are/or may be more sinful -- or at least, more shameful.

When things are added, the sin get a little different and hence, should be confessed separately.

It is good to make a list.

Many go to Hell because they are ashamed to confess their most shameful sins. If you have such sins on your conscience, please, you can speak to me about it and I can try to help you. It is easy to confess to a priest if one has already made up in one's mind to confess them, even to a layman, if necessary.

Follow up questions and answers 3

Question: “do you have Rosary to give away
I need one to help pray
i do the prayers i just don't know where to get one without supporting a an apostate church
...i feel like ive been opressed for a very long time my old house was very spooky, my sister and i both saw shadows run across rooms and stuff, i would sleepwalk once in a while, i just always felt scared im sure the sins let a demon into my life
that compelled me to do a lot of this”

Answer: 1. I have rosaries and devotionals to give away, also dvds and books -- provided you give me your address! [anyone can ask me for free items]

But it is not wrong to buy a Rosary, and you don't have to worry about buying necessary items from heretics, since this would not be considered as donating or supporting them; and that is true even if you would have to buy the rosary by clicking on a "donate" button.

2. If you start to get a good prayer life all negative spirits should be removed from your life; also your temptations will be diminished and you will be strengthened a lot in your spiritual life. The Hail Mary is a powerful prayer most pleasing to Jesus and Mary.

See these related articles on this topic:

Also see:

3. I mentioned ad blocks and image blockers earlier and about not watching media like television and youtube. Since this is so important for salvation and in order to avoid the occasion of sin (since watching media is an occasion of sin and surfing the internet with images on also is an occasion of sin) I would like that you answer me if you surf the internet with ad blockers and image blockers, and whether you avoid looking at media, as we teach is necessary for obtaining forgiveness and salvation.

Have you read this article's section, or will you read it? Yes or no?

If you have not read it yet, I would simply ask you to do so as fast as possible and implement the changes, since it is absolutely necessary for salvation not to put oneself in the occasion of sinning like the media.

From personal experience: Most people sadly don't care about information like this and many, even if they read it, refuse to implement it or, if they do implement it, walk away from it after a while due to their evil and depraved and damnable attachment to seeing images and watching media.

Follow up questions and answers 4

Question: “thank you I read a lot of it last night
and I'm implementing changes now

Answer: I am happy that you are determined to go against your own will and start to surf the internet with ad blocks and image blocks. Most people at most may agree with an ad block, but skip the image blockers! But I hope and trust you will not be a fool and let the worst enemies, images, remain -- hurting your soul.

Also, as the information already have detailed, if you want to save yourself and be more certain of your salvation: you need to stop watching movable media. It does not matter how attached you are to it; you need to cut it off. If you don't you risk to be lost be lost, since it might lead you into committing other sins in the end -- or at least, you will be guilty of putting yourself in an occasion of sinning, which is also a mortal sin to do, if you do not stop doing it. You know in your conscience this is true also, since you are not unfamiliar with that bad scenes, immodest scenes, and women that are badly dressed and hence tempts us -- are not infrequently shown in the media.

Most people -- even traditional Catholics! -- are so attached and obsessed with images and media, that they will never move away from it or stop exposing themselves to it, and they will come with every kind of argument for why they need to surf with images on or watch media. I look upon such people as lost.

Follow up questions and answers 5

Question: “yes I'm very interested
God has been giving me so many signs that this is the correct path dreams, discoveries of ancestors who played a role in Catholicism etc
i agree but at the same time without youtube and media i would still be living in ignorance but i understand what you say and I'm going to try the HTML text only
I'll put youtube on kids mode maybe or do something to block thumbnails i would be living in complete ignorance without youtube and would not be talking to you now if it wasn't for the medium...”

Answer: Even though good can come out of evil, that does not mean one should continue doing evil when one has learned it is bad for one's soul.

Besides, one can still use youtube even with the information presented, the only difference will be that you will not be able to see the screen, and only hear the audio.

You don't have to put up kid mode (even though you can), all you have to do is read the article and install the add ons (extensions) for google chrome or opera that are mentioned, that automatically hides all images and the video screen (do you understand what you need to do?). These extensions hides all images and videos on all websites, and images should only be allowed on necessary websites, when they are needed, and it is deemed relatively safe to put them on.

You will have to use discernment when putting on images or videos* and only do it when deemed safe; initially you may feel tempted to put on the video screen often, thinking it is safe, but if you do this, you will evidently be exposed to seeing women. It is better not to even look at women at all and avoiding looking at people. And the more you expose yourself, the more dangerous it will be. The more you grow in your spiritual life, the more will you be glad to hide yourself from the world and people, and hence will be glad, and prefer, to not see the video screen or images! That is also why the saints preferred solitude with God, and hiding themselves from people, since they desired God and to keep their inner peace and virtue unharmed. They did not desire to see worldly people and indulge in the world, bur rather fled from it!

*Generally, you must always have them blocked and it is not lawful to surf the internet in a general way with images or videos unblocked. This is the problem with most people today, even traditional Catholics -- they reject the advice we give and willingly put themselves in the occasion of sinning by surfing the whole internet, even known bad sites such as youtube and daily mail, with images and videos enabled etc. and hence damn themselves.

Follow up questions and answers 6

Question: "thank you for all of the info also
it's very nice to not deal with lewd content"

Answer: Yes, and the more spiritual you become, the more you will even want to hide images and video screens and avoid people, since you will see them as distractions -- and as plain and simply harmful and dangerous, or at least, distracting.

Yet, despite this, many fools that call themselves Traditional Catholics, surf the whole internet, no matter what sites -- even daily mail -- with images enabled. They don't fear God, sin or Hell, which is why they will be damned in the end.

When people don't worry about immodesty or exposing themselves to it, this is an indication that they may already be living in mortal sin, and that they are living a lustful and/or gluttonous lifestyle, since, as St. Thomas teaches, lust and gluttony actually gives rise to "blindness of mind" concerning spiritual realities:


Follow up questions and answers 7

Question: "what do you do personally for confession? is there a priest near you that can use?"

Answer: I have confessed, and use to confess/talk to my spiritual brothers about such matters, as advice by St. Thomas Aquinas one can do in the absence of a confessor.

So you surf the internet now with images and videos blocked so they can't show themselves unless you allow them? Youtube also needs to be surfed with images blocked, and facebook also, etc.

I ask because even after people have told me they have done the changes, implemented the programs etc., they yet did not avoid putting themselves in the occasion of sinning by exposing themselves to images. Indeed, some people even hardly seems to care anymore about blocking images after "realizing" have much in love they were with having images, and how attached they were on seeing them, such as on news sites, or how more convenient (in the worldly sense) it were to have them on, such as on youtube.

Response: "yes i do although tonight i was not using the browser and did see some lewd content i prayed for forgiveness and will be more diligent
once in images when I was looking at the image results for purgatory on google I was looking at paintings and the abstract model and an image from a degenerate theatre play was in it
once on Wikipedia when I was reading about Japan's history in nanjing
and once from a link on YouTube about Japan nanjing and nuclear weapon (this link was explicitly lewd, i closed and prayed after)
i wasn't thinking about occasion of sin I'll definitely remind myself now how serious it is, I'm still getting used to the concept
but yes no images is the only way to be innocent as an angel or saint would be
it does make education harder i find im a visual learner so i have to get used to it"

Answer: 1. Yes it is good to be more thoughtful, that is why I asked you to read this article, which I hope you did, since it deals in depth with the need to avoid the occasion of sinning - and how important this is for one's salvation:

Have you read all of it yet?

2. The saints became innocent and angels since they generally avoided looking at any people at all, men or women (but especially at the opposite sex, they avoided). St. Bridget, for example, made a confession for every face that she happened to see. This indicates that she tried avoid looking, but that she made mistakes.

3. When images are necessary or needed, they may be put on. But it is not lawful to surf with them on in a general sense in the ways you explained. Please install the image, ad and flash blockers as fast as possible.

Many educational images are without people and hence lawful to look at and enable if they are needed (otherwise, one could skip looking at them), provided one is fairly certain the image will be safe. In the beginning one will be tempted to put on images all the time, but as time progresses, the curiosity will diminish and one will find happiness in the peace of conscience in not exposing oneself to damnation or spiritual harm.

Enabling an image from curiosity -- such as religious images --, and provided the image is deemed safe, is also more excusable, although, it can be dangerous.

I have images blocked on wikipedia as well, although, I may occasionally enable on some image if it is deemed safe, especially on religious articles. Secular articles can always be dangerous, of course.

Some sites will show the image place-holder so you can manually enable the image(s) with wizmage provided the fast image blocker is disabled for this site. I tell you this in order to make you know if perhaps you needed to active an image in order to do some necessary thing put can’t see any image place-holders.


This information is somewhat relevant to what you wrote, and it deals also with the problem that happened with you in google images and about how one should act before enabling an image:

I read in their "Updates" section a while ago: “We ourselves do not watch any videos anymore except exclusively when for the sake of making videos [for our website]. We also try to avoid reading any secular news or other worldly websites. Now we only listen to audio, having all the movable images blocked. [See the Chrome/Opera/Vivaldi and Firefox/IceDragon sections on how to watch youtube while the video screen remains hidden (the video screen can still be activated easily with one click).] On youtube, when we watch something on youtube, we do not watch the videos but only listen to them by downloading them as audio (or video) and listened to them only in audio [as described in the links], or at least, by avoiding watching at the screen if we were watching it on youtube by scrolling down so that the player is not seen, or on other video sites [this was our approach before we learned that the video screen could be hidden with extensions]. Anyone who cares about virtue and about their eternal salvation and for those who fear not to offend God by viewing or seeing bad scenes or images, will of course do the same thing, since it’s almost impossible to watch anything today that does not contain immodesty or that will harm one’s virtue. Even purely Christian films, whether on tv or youtube, have many bad and unacceptable scenes, statues or images in them. What then could be said about more secular media, documentaries, or series?

“The same can be said about images.

“Before when we were more stupid we did search for images in Google Images for our articles (even more secular articles) or automatically included the images contained in other peoples articles and did not always surf the internet in a general sense with images blocked, which is a highly stupid thing to do and an occasion of sinning since the internet is completely filled with immodesties and occasions of sinnings. But we don't do this any longer and we usually don't even care about having any images at all anymore for our articles.

“Perhaps if we think some image have some necessity and is safe to look at we can include it or look at it, such as, for example, an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that can be viewed in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Wikipedia entry, which should be a more safe approach than searching for it in Google Images. Also some Windows 10 images have recently been used in the How to disable Windows 10 advertisements section and been searched for in Google Images in a safe way or been borrowed from other articles, but only because such images generally ought to be safe, and hence they would be more “excusable” to look for when one have a necessity. One generally can assume what topics and images ought to be safe and not include any people or women in them, and if one don't have this assurance, one must be absolutely careful or even avoid it completely since this could be an occasion of sinning.

“But even when an image or images are thought to be more safe or necessary, still, one should not look at such an image directly when searching for it or when opening it or enabling it with Wizmage in order that one may not get exposed to anything immodest directly to one's face. It also helps me personally that I have poor near sight, since this means I can look outside my glasses in order to try to discern beforehand (with bad sight) whether the image or images are deemed safe or not and whether it is just a normal Windows image without any people or women in it etc. When one don't know that a webpage and image is safe, one must be very careful before enabling it and looking at it.

“Yes, one needs to be careful if one wants to be saved, and those who are not careful about themselves and just expose themselves to all kinds of dangers (as almost all people do today, whether they be self-professed Traditional Catholics or not as detailed in this post) will not be saved, since they will be abandoned by God and fall into sin, as explained in another article.”

Related articles:
Q&A: On Keeping Custody of the Eyes, Avoiding the Occasion of Sin, Sexual Ethics and Mortification etc.

God is Pleased with Penance and Mortification, and not Sensual Gratification

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Without solitude and silence it is impossible to preserve recollection and union with God

From "The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation"; or,
"The School of Christian Perfection"

By St. Alphonsus Liguori,

Doctor of the Church

"Having dismissed the multitude, 
He went into a mountain alone to pray."
---Matthew 14:23 

To preserve recollection of spirit or the constant union of the soul with God, three things are necessary: solitude, silence and the recollection of the presence of God. It was these three things which the Angel of God referred to when, addressing St. Arsenius, he said: "Flee, be silent and rest." In other words: seek solitude, practice silence, and rest in God by keeping the thought of His presence ever before you. 

Souls that love God feel a strong attraction for solitude, for they know that God converses familiarly with those who shun the noise and distractions of the world. "O blessed solitude," exclaims St. Jerome, "in which God with loving condescension deals familiarly with chosen souls!" God does not speak in those places where time is squandered in loud laughter and idle talk. "The Lord is not in the earthquake" (3 Kgs. 19: 11), but He says, on the contrary, in the words of the prophet Osee: "I will lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart." (Osee 2:14). God speaks to the soul in solitude, and by His words the heart is inflamed with Divine love. "My soul melted when my beloved spoke," said the spouse in the Canticle (5:6).

St. Eucherius relates that a person who desired to be perfect once asked a spiritual director what he had to do, and this was the answer he received: "Solitude is the place where man finds God. In solitude, virtue is easily preserved; in intercourse with the world it is easily lost." St. Bernard tells us that he learned more about God and Divine things in solitude under the oaks and beeches than from the books and schools of the learned. For this reason the Saints felt an irresistible yearning to leave the noise and bustle of the world and retire into solitude; for this reason the mountains and forests and caves were inexpressibly dear to them. In the prophecy of Isaias we read: "The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it; the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God." (Is. 35:1). In other words, for interior souls, solitude is the source of abundant delights, for it is there they look upon and contemplate the majesty and beauty of God.


In order to remain united to God, we must endeavor to keep alive within us a vivid recollection of Him and of the immeasurable goods He bestows on them that love Him. By constant intercourse with the world, these spiritual truths are apt to become obscured in the maze of earthly thoughts and considerations, and piety vanishes from the heart. Worldly-minded people shun solitude, and it is quite natural for them to do so; for it is in retirement that they are troubled with qualms of conscience. They seek the society and excitement of the world so that the voice of conscience may be drowned in the noise that reigns there. Those, on the contrary, whose conscience is at rest, love solitude and retirement; and when at times they are obliged by circumstances to appear in the noisy world, they are ill at ease and feel altogether out of their element.

It is true, man naturally loves the society of his fellow man; but what can be found more beautiful than the society of God? "His conversation hath no bitterness," says Holy Scripture, "and his company no tediousness, but joy and gladness." (Wis. 8:16). A life of solitude is not a life of sadness; it is rather a foretaste of Heaven; it is the beginning of the life of the blessed whose sole happiness is found in the love and praise of God. This is what St. Jerome said when he fled from the society of Rome and hid himself in the grotto of Bethlehem: "Solitude is my Heaven," he wrote. In solitude the Saints seem to be entirely alone, but this is not so. St. Bernard said: "Never am I less alone than when alone"; for when I am alone I am with God, Who gives me greater joy than the society of all creatures could afford. If the Saints seem to be sad, in reality they are not so. Because the world sees them deprived of all earthly joys and pleasures, it regards them as most unhappy; and yet the very opposite is the case.

According to the words of the Apostle, they enjoy a constant and immeasurable peace. (2 Thess. 3:16). Now, in order to find this delightful solitude it is not necessary to withdraw into a desert and live in a cave; you can find it in your home and in the midst of your family. Busy yourself with the outside world only in as far as the duties of your state, obedience, or charity require, and you will be living in that solitude that best accords with your circumstances and that God requires of you. In the midst of the weightiest affairs of state, King David knew how to find a solitude: "Behold I fled away and dwelt in solitude." (Ps. 54:8). 

St. Philip Neri for some time entertained the desire to retire into a desert, but the Lord commanded him not to leave the city of Rome, and to live there as if he were in a hermitage. 


Hitherto we have spoken of the solitude and retirement of the body; there is also a solitude of the soul, and the latter is more necessary than the former, for St. Gregory says: "Of what use is the solitude of the body without the solitude of the spirit?" Of what benefit is it, the Saint wishes to say, to live in a desert if the soul clings to the things of this earth? "A soul that is free from earthly attachments," says St. Peter Chrysologus, "finds solitude even on the streets and in public places." Of what advantage is it to remain quiet at home or in church if our heart is centered on the things of earth, and the noise of these earthly things prevents us from hearing the voice of God? One day the Lord said to St. Teresa: "Oh, how gladly would I speak to many souls! But the world makes so much noise in their hearts that they cannot hear My voice. Would that they might retire a little from the world!" In what does solitude of the heart consist? It consists in banishing from the heart all desires and inclinations that are not for God, and in performing our actions simply with God's good pleasure in view. The Psalmist expresses this truth in the following words: "What have I in Heaven, and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth? Thou art the God of my heart and the God that is my portion forever." (Ps. 72:25-26). In one word, the solitude of the heart consists in being able to say: "My God, Thee alone do I desire and nothing else." 


Many complain that they are unable to find God, but to such St. Teresa replies: "Tear your heart away from everything else; then seek God and you will surely find Him." If a crystal vase is filled with earth, the rays of the sun cannot penetrate it. The light of God cannot illumine a heart that is full of attachments for the joys, the pleasures and the honors of this world. "When thou shalt pray," says Our Lord, "enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret." (Matt. 6:6). In other words, to be united to God in prayer, man must enter into his own heart --- which St. Augustine says is the chamber mentioned by Our Lord --- and shut out all earthly attachments and inclinations. It is not to be supposed that solitude and retirement are synonymous with idleness. Many live in retirement, but it is an inactive and useless retirement of which they shall have to render an account. Devout souls, on the contrary, are like bees that are never tired preparing honey for their cells. No time must be lost, but every moment employed in praying, in reading or in performing the duties of your state of life.

"Idleness is the mother of vice," says the proverb, and the foundation of this proverb is the words of Holy Scripture: "Idleness hath taught much evil." (Ecclus. 33:29). According to St. Bonaventure, the idle man is tortured by a thousand temptations, while the man that is busily occupied has comparatively few. We cannot pray all the time; therefore, we must devote ourselves to work. In the life of St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi it is said that she did more work than four lay sisters together. 

It would be an error to suppose that work is injurious to health; on the contrary, it is very conducive to our bodily welfare. Work is moreover an effective remedy against temptations. One day St. Anthony the hermit was assailed by numerous temptations and with a sudden aversion for his solitude; he scarcely knew which way to turn. An Angel appeared and led him into the garden; thereupon he picked up a hoe and began to cultivate the ground. Afterwards he prayed for a while, and then returned to work. From this the Saint learned how he was to act, and the subsequent interchange of prayer and labor made his solitude very agreeable, while at the same time it protected him from many temptations. 

But even labor need not prevent us from prayer. One day St. Bernard saw a monk praying while doing his work. "Continue in this way, my brother," said he, "and after death you will have no Purgatory." While our hands are occupied with external occupations, our heart can be fixed on God. The good intention we make in performing our labors sanctifies them in the sight of God and even makes of labor a prayer, for prayer has been called "the raising of the mind and heart to God." 


Silence is one of the principal means to attain the spirit of prayer and to fit oneself for uninterrupted intercourse with God. It is hard to find a truly pious person who talks much. But they who have the spirit of prayer love silence, which has deservedly been called a protectress of innocence, a shield against temptations and a fruitful source of prayer. Silence promotes recollection and awakens good thoughts in the heart. According to St. Bernard, it forces the soul, as it were, to think of God and heavenly things. For this reason the Saints of God were great lovers of Silence. In the prophecy of Isaias we read: "The work of justice shall be peace, and the service of justice quietness, and security forever." (Is. 32:17). On the one hand, silence preserves us from many sins by removing the occasion of uncharitable talk, rancor and curiosity; on the other it aids us in the attainment of many virtues. For example: What an excellent opportunity we have for the practice of humility by modestly keeping silence while others speak! How well we may practice mortification by refraining from relating something we very much desire to tell! What a splendid chance to exercise meekness by not replying to unjust accusations and insults! 

Unrestrained and immoderate talking, on the other hand, has many disastrous consequences. If devotion is preserved by silence, it is certainly lost by much talking. A person may be ever so recollected at meditation; if afterwards he does not restrain his tongue, he will be as distracted as if he had made no meditation at all. 

If you open the doors of a furnace, the heat will escape. "Guard against much talking," says St. Dorotheus, "for it puts to flight devout thoughts and recollection in God." It is certain that a person who talks much with creatures, will converse little with God, and on His part God will speak little to such a one, for He says: "I will lead her into the wilderness and will speak to her heart." (Osee 2:14). "In the multitude of words," says the Holy Ghost, "there shall not want sin, but he that refraineth his lips is most wise." (Prov. 10:19). St. James says that "the tongue is a world of iniquity" (James 3:6), for as a learned author remarks, very many sins are occasioned by talking or listening to the talk of others. 

Ah, how many souls will be lost on judgment day because they have not watched over their tongue! "The man full of tongue," says the Psalmist, "shall wander about without a guide" (Ps. 139), and go into a thousand and one byways with no hope of returning. "He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his soul," says the Wise Man, "but he that hath no guard on his speech shall meet with evils." (Prov. 13:3). And St. James writes: "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man." (James 3:2). For he who for the love of God keeps silence will likewise be given to meditation, spiritual reading and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. It is impossible, says St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, for one who does not love silence to take pleasure in Divine things; before long he will throw himself into the very midst of the pleasures of the world. 


The virtue of silence does not consist in never speaking, but in keeping silent when there is no good reason to speak. Solomon says: "There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak." (Eccles. 3:7). In reference to these words, St. 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. St. Chrysostom gives the following rule: "Speak only when it is more useful to speak than to be silent."

St. Arsenius acknowledges that he often regretted having spoken, but never, having kept silence. St. Ephrem says: "Speak much with God but little with men." If in your presence unbecoming and sinful language is used, leave the company if it is possible to do so. At least cast down your eyes and remain silent, or lead the conversation to some other topic, thus making a silent protest against such unsavory talk. Be not over eager to hear the news; curiosity leads to many faults. The Abbot John used to say: "He who would hold his tongue in check, must close his ears by suppressing the desire to hear the news." And when you do speak, weigh well what you intend to say. "Put your words in the balance," says the Holy Ghost. (Ecclus. 28:29). St. Francis de Sales quaintly remarked: "To avoid faults in speech we must have the lips buttoned together, so that while unbuttoning them we may think of what we are going to say."


A powerful aid in preserving recollection is the remembrance of the presence of God. Not only does it conduce to recollection of spirit, but it is also one of the most effective means of advancing in the spiritual life; it helps us to avoid sin; it spurs us on in the practice of virtue, and it brings about an intimate union of the soul with God. 

There is no more excellent means of quieting the passions and of resisting the temptation to sin than the thought of the presence of God. St. Thomas says: "If we thought of the presence of God at all times we would never, or very seldom, do anything to displease Him." According to St. Jerome, the recollection of God's presence closes the door on all sins. For, if in the presence of our rulers, our parents or superiors, we do not care to transgress their commands, how could we violate the commandments of God if we remembered that His eyes were upon us? St. Ambrose tells us that during a sacrifice which Alexander the Great was offering in the temple, a certain page who held a lighted torch allowed it to burn his hand rather than be guilty of irreverence by letting it fall. And the holy doctor adds: If respect for the presence of the king could overcome the impulse of nature itself in this boy, how much more ought not the thought of the presence of God to prevail with a faithful soul in overcoming temptations and in suffering every imaginable torture rather than offend God before His very eyes. 
Men fall into sin because they lose sight of the presence of God. "The cause of all evil," says St. Teresa," lies in the fact that we do not think of the presence of God, but imagine Him far away from us." A man who loses sight of the presence of God will easily become a prey to sinful and sensual desires and have no strength to resist them. 

On the other hand, by the thought of God's ever vigilant eye upon them, the Saints have had strength to resist and overcome all the attacks of the evil one. It was this thought that gave the chaste Susanna courage to spurn the wicked advances of the men who tried to seduce her and even threatened her with death. "It is better for me," she said, "to fall into your hands without doing evil, than to sin in the sight of the Lord." (Dan. 13:23). The same thought converted a wicked woman who dared to tempt St. Ephrem to sin. The Saint replied that if she wished to sin, she would have to go with him into the public square. "But," she inquired, "how is it possible to commit sin in the presence of so many people?" "And how is it possible," rejoined the Saint, "to commit sin in the presence of God, Who sees us everywhere?" At these words the poor sinner broke out into tears, threw herself at his feet and begged the Saint's pardon, beseeching him to lead her into the way of salvation. The Saint secured her admission into a convent, where she led an edifying life and bewailed her sins to her dying day.

Something similar is narrated in the life of the Abbot Paphnutius. A certain sinful woman named Thais thought she might induce him to do wrong by saying that no one but God would be a witness to the deed. The Saint replied in a very earnest tone: "You believe, then, that God really sees you, and nevertheless you wish to sin?" These words made such an impression on her that she began to conceive a horror of her wicked life. She brought all the jewels and clothing she had secured by a life of sin, heaped them together in the public marketplace, and set them on fire. Then she entered a convent and fasted for three years on bread and water, constantly repeating the following words: "Thou Who hast created me, have mercy on me." At the end of three years she died a holy death. It was shortly after revealed to a disciple of the Abbot Anthony that the happy penitent had merited a crown of glory among the Saints. Therefore St. Chrysostom says: "If we keep ourselves in the presence of God we shall neither think nor say nor do what is wrong, convinced as we are that God is the witness of all our thoughts and words and actions." 


As far as the practice of the Christian virtues is concerned, the recollection of God's presence affords us a powerful stimulus. How bravely will not soldiers fight in the presence of their general! The thought that his eyes are upon them, and that he will either reward or punish them, animates their courage and strength in a high degree. If we, too, would bear in mind that in all us to admire the wisdom and beauty and sanctity of God and return Him thanks for permitting His creatures to share in His holy attributes. 

The most perfect method, however, of keeping alive the thought of God's presence consists in beholding God within our very selves. It is not necessary to ascend to Heaven to find the Lord God; we need only to recollect ourselves, and we shall find Him within us. He who, at prayer, pictures the Lord at a great distance from him is preparing for himself a source of abundant distractions. St. Teresa says: "I never really knew what it meant to pray well until the Lord Himself taught me the proper way to converse with Him. I entered within my very self and found this practice exceedingly profitable for my soul." 

God is within us in a different manner from what He is in other creatures; in us He dwells as the Lord in His temple and in His house. "Know you not," says St. Paul, "that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16). And our Divine Saviour Himself has said: "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." (John 14:23). Endeavor, therefore, to reanimate your faith in this consoling truth. Humble yourself profoundly before so exalted a Majesty Who deigns to dwell within you. Excite yourself to frequent acts of confidence, of oblation and of love towards the boundless goodness of God. St. Catherine of Siena tells us that she built a little cell in the innermost part of her soul; there she entertained herself in loving converse with her God. Once, when speaking of this presence of God in our heart, St. Teresa said: "Those who withdraw into the little heaven of their soul, where He Who created them is enthroned, can be certain that in a brief space of time they will have advanced far on the road to perfection."

The happiness of the elect in Heaven consists in seeing and loving God. Our happiness here on earth must likewise consist in loving and seeing Our Lord, not indeed face to face as the Saints and Angels do, but by means of the light of faith. Thus we begin in this valley of tears, this earthly exile, the life of the blessed in Heaven, a life of endless joy in the fruition of the vision of God.

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