Brothers and Sisters in Faith:
These correspondences with which I disseminate a revealed truth to you in an effort to share the instruction and guidance of our glorious God and Father, must not seem to suggest an infallibility. For surely, as easily as I may compose these admonishments and directions, I fall away from them; I am as corruptible as the weakest of human souls.
But as we choose to adhere strongly to God (in whatever form His goodness takes), we are made aware of a more noble station – both on earth, and in the eternal Heaven. And so I profess to you I am at fault in that which follows, being an example of what not to perform, and realizing before experience what is malignant and debilitating, sharing as you will the profits these pronunciations take, so as the vast majority of citizens in this world may obviate the need for repentance on account of such moral disease.
I recapitulate to you my trial with the sexual self: that I am not one who has erred in physical intimacy when there is not first the most holy bond of love, but have been consumed by the advantages of what technology allows, and (if we may consider this one of its blessed advantages, and I do not) have permitted myself access by equivocation to lewd and unseemly caricatures of sexual pleasure for personal gratification.
So it is still, though I abjure its normalcy, and constantly dispute either its necessity or its neutrality in the realm of sin. For can we not say, sexuality is a natural, human thing? Surely we may consent to this, and as readily to our appetites, or our thirst, or desire for rest, or any other carnal essence which does make us human. But does God advocate licentiousness? Does He confirm gluttony? Does He permit lethargy? None of these things He would allow us, for the manifestation of faith and its works is the moderation in these things as they so fit the will of God. Therefore, sexuality is a natural inclination that should be bridled when it deprives the soul of peace and goodness, or else corrupts another’s innocence, or boasts depravity entirely. How simple it would be if the might and measure of sexual desire were the same in each of us! But so it is not: that we begin not as communal creatures, but those who must strive for communion (not in that sameness of physical desire, but in the understanding of its moderation and control according to the will of God).
And therefore, might we not look at sexuality in an amazingly brilliant light? For any means of founding a closeness with the Father is surely a blessing, though it appears a physical curse. For as we understand moderation is the blessed thing, but we know not how or why, yet we commit ourselves to understanding it, though we falter and fall, we continue and ultimately achieve God’s intent – that sexuality is a conduit for the love of God when embraced in spirit, and a scourge on the soul when physically adored with artificial impunity.
Let me digress, and consider again: twice I was in love, such that sexuality was to be let unbridled into the world of intimacy founded on the firm base of loving mutuality. But it could not be physical, as distance precluded it. And so by words, we entertained what physical intimacy could not immediately bring. This was, as I have been confirmed by God, a noble and necessary act which my heart and soul hold no guilt for. But here is the difficulty of the matter:
When those loves had become reserved, severed, ended in this temporary world, such that my access to those I adored was no longer allowed, permitted, or possible, I then took up a regular access to watching the pleasure of strangers. These instances were at first more often than I care to admit, and then less by cause of guilt, and then more, and so forth, until at this time they are comparatively rare. But nevertheless, I indulged my “physical desires” for gratification. And is that not a sin? As it was the same medium by which I shared myself with those whom I loved? Is it any the better than a man who shares himself physically with those he loves, and then when they have gone, gives himself to any person who would have him, regardless of their amity or emotional interest? I think it is not. And this is why: for the lust of a man begins not in his limbs or extremities, but in his heart and mind. This is why Christ said that we have already committed adultery when we have considered it in our minds. And was this harsh? Was this said, as I have professed before, for those who were spiritually infantile? Perhaps this is so, but I am against it: for we may consider these thoughts, and if we denounce them before they take shape, are we yet condemned? Is not the soul a higher faculty than the mind? Surely it is, as I have told you in my last letter. And so, if the soul upsets the demons of the mind, and pushes them out, it is an act of goodness. What, then, may we say prompted the thoughts in the first place? If it was a condition whereby we have stored up all our physical yearnings knowing that we aught to wait for love, but that this repression has infected our thoughts and made them often suggestive of this sort of behavior, should Christ condemn us for this, when its cause was a noble act? I should think not. For as we correct ourselves, we admit we know what is right. It is a terrible thing, I think (and as Christ was more concerned with) that we should think of these things and not denounce them. If we should think them not deviant images and diseased, but agree to them within ourselves (by both our mind and soul), then we have committed the act as much as if we had actuated our limbs to perform it. But if the soul fights the mind in such a case, we know there is good. And that if the thoughts come from those reasons that are good (such as I have earlier detailed), then we aught not worry what Mother Nature engenders.
So it is perhaps, the thoughts as I now treat them, are not my most violent enemy. But is it damning to seek gratification in secret? To furtively gaze at what is offered by technology? Some confess this is natural, and say that it is with far greater damage that one endures these things without release than to give them safe release in secret. And this is how I torture myself. For why not spur the imagination onto passionate arousals? It is possible! Though perhaps, we find more instant liking in the image than the imagination, and acquiesce to that more readily when the yearnings are overbearing. It is my opinion that the imagination should be tried to all ends to satisfy the cravings of the body – therefore giving release of what it conjures up in quiet moments when such sexual bluntness is distasteful and disruptive. But then again, we must consent in mind to wholly appropriate acts. If we are to ask: what then are appropriate? Who is to say so? I should contend: it is different for each individual, to a point. And we must ask as our guiding question in this way: does it disrupt the will of God or the good of others? Does it unleash depravity or in any way condone it? For these questions alone aught shape the temper of our sexual fascinations.
But then what if we say, these strangers’ actions and pleasurable images are not so superficial to us – that we see superimposed on them, the images of those we love? So is it not a happy fantasy with more sensual participation? So I say, we cannot confer good on what is done – for the act which you witness has been accomplished, and you may not make it good by your own thoughts. But as for your own conviction in the matter: if you need ask yourself this question, are you not grasping for equivocation? Do you not admit confession that there is guilt lurking in the foundations of this act? And if it is so, you should not be doing it. Yet there are those with a dearth of scruples, and would abandon guilt for the most vile of acts. Is it good, then, for them to do what does not provoke guilt? Certainly not! For by this measure, there is certainly a universal law that guides us: and if it is not contributing to good in any measure, I advocate its abandonment and adherence to more benign imaginations. Let this sexual desire not detract from our wholesomeness – for if it is set in the will of God that we are to be given one to love, with whom we may in great freedom and awe consummate that bond, then it is so. But if it is not, we may not say that we deserve an equal release. For that is not what God supports; the trials of one are not the trials of another. And if you recall, sexual potency and temptation for one, being the struggle toward God, is perhaps for another the hardship of relational compromise. As I say, to each individual, go different struggles in life. But these should not be viewed as comparative to others who have their physical desires fulfilled. For if you are content with being single, and a married couple detests their relationship, should they then leave each other that they may enjoy what you possess? No one would endure this unholiness – least of all God. So it is with sexuality: do not feel left behind when you have not the blessing to consummate a relationship you do not have. For you have other blessings indeed, and your energies should be spent on discovering, utilizing, and sharing them with those in need.
And so, what are we to say of sexuality? Is it a curse or a blessing? For the happily married, it is a wonderful blessing that has provided them with a fruitful progeny. And they are therefore to be thankful. And for he or she that has not this happiness in matrimony or companionship, they aught be thankful for the opportunity to surpass the physical yearnings for sexual satisfaction and elevate themselves to a spiritual level on which they may commune with God. For is it the physical purity of virginity we praise, or the strength of spirit? Certainly we would say the latter is true, and the former only because of the latter. This is why Augustine says, the pure of spirit have no need to concern themselves with what others may do to their person. For if it is not consented to by the spirit, they shall remain in body and soul an innocent disciple. So it is with our thoughts and desires in sexuality – if we agree to it as a pathway to God (either in struggle or enjoyment). Or again, if it profits the self and no other, it is not a holy thought we assume. But if we know this to be unholy, and abandon it, we are free of charge in judgment. If we acknowledge it and press onward with our concupiscence, we are most guilty of sin, regardless of our actions relatable to them. And if we act on such lewdness, as in the pleasure of imagination – imagining a loving consummation, we are free from condemnation. And if we act in deference to the physical alone (and are content with it), we are surely at fault. But let me not say one act in this manner is our doom – for this is why the resurrection is our grace. In our souls is locked the everlasting knowledge of good. Let us align our hearts and minds, therefore, that we may act as our spirit dictates, and speak as our mind accords with the soul. For even in ourselves there are disparate persons: so let sexuality be our call to personal communion, and forward to communion with God and all His persons.
So I have elaborated far too long on merely some contingents that complicate the flesh. But they are important, as they are the entertainments of our society in the modern world. Let us not be inculcated by what profits deem acceptable, lest they be the profits of the Almighty God. For we are first and last His creatures and servants; this life is our journey into perfection, and reconciliation with Him who gave His life for the remission of sins. Accept the challenge, then, brothers and sisters, however this world may deem your state in fairness, to prove to God your faith and love. Do not act by the motivations of reward, or in hopes that by goodness for some period of time, you may at once be given leave to indulge. This is not the point; follow the salvation and power of the spirit to God and cleave to Him in righteousness – He will decide for us what our lives will hold, and we shall be given the chance to live it in determination and choice (or the absence thereof). We are always, then, to remember that this life is a transient one, and true eternity is our appointment (if we so desire and live appropriately). Christ, as we recall, did not come to call the holy and faithful (for they have already been called), but the sinners – let us heed His call and enjoin our mind and body to emulate the greatness of the spirit.
As I struggle, so do we all – but it is for the glory of God within each of us that we so enact this fervent crusade. Therefore, as we preserve our dignity as human beings in tempering our sexual lusts and finding their power in goodness, so let us as well recognize the glory we give our Father in trusting, believing, knowing in spirit above mind that we shall prevail above the temptations and ruinations of the flesh, preparing our spirits for a virginal procession into the Kingdom of God. For surely, as we once understand in spirit, whatever our body has endured, it will become pure and whole in the eyes of God.
In utmost hope and faith, I remain
Forever yours in Christ,