Author Topic: Lust  (Read 370 times)

Online Daniel

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Lust
« on: May 02, 2021, 04:32:58 PM »
I'm not trying to sound smart, but can somebody explain what "lust" is exactly? I thought I understood it, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe what I thought was lust actually isn't lust.
 

Offline james03

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Re: Lust
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2021, 05:15:42 PM »
I would say it is a particular type of entertaining impure thoughts.  If you are lusting after a girl, you are obsessed with sexual fantasies with that particular person.  That would be lusting after her.
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Lust
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2021, 06:41:34 PM »
"Lust" means that a person has consented to impure thoughts and desires in his heart for another person; the story in the Bible of Susana and the Elders is a good illustration of this sin.
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Online Daniel

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Re: Lust
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2021, 09:01:13 PM »
I think part of the problem, at least for me, is that I don't know how to distinguish whether the thought/desire is "pure" or "impure". Is there any objective criteria for this?

In many cases it also isn't obvious to me whether my thought/feeling is even sexual in nature. Usually I just feel a sort of general attraction towards the person or object. (It's not even always women either. So if this is lust, it's a particularly disordered sort of lust. But what I don't know is whether or not it is lust, and how to avoid it if it is.)

In cases where the thought/feeling is accompanied by a sexual bodily reaction, I take it that this is a clear sign of impurity? (But even then, these thoughts/feelings don't always seem to be sexual in nature.)


edit - And I forgot to ask, but what is meant by "looking on a woman to lust after her" (Matthew 5:28)? The impression I get, from listening to sermons, is that the lust is somehow built into the very act of looking. Hence priests say that we are morally required to keep "custody of eyes". Yet this doesn't sound right... and, in practice, it is impossible to keep "custody of eyes" always. So I am led to believe that it cannot possibly be a sin of lust every time we look at something. I mean, why did God give us eyes, if not to look at stuff? So I am now thinking that the "looking" is only a sin if it triggers (or is accompanied by) lust, or if it's a near occasion of lust. But this just begs my original question: what is lust? How do we distinguish "lust" from non-lustful thoughts/feelings?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 07:48:12 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Innocent Smith

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Re: Lust
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2021, 08:39:47 AM »
I think part of the problem, at least for me, is that I don't know how to distinguish whether the thought/desire is "pure" or "impure". Is there any objective criteria for this?

As I read the above I was reminded of The Law and all the instructions found in the Talmud about the most basic of activities including hand washing, having relations with your wife, and even how to properly have an evacuation. 

There is a big difference between having a look at a woman and glaring at her.  What are your thoughts attached to the look?
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Offline Gerard

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Re: Lust
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2021, 11:12:29 PM »
If you see a woman /or man depending on who is looking, and all you can think about is the roll in the hay, or the top thing you think about is the roll in the hay, that is lust. 

I saw a "red pill" guy describe it as "the Jezebel spirit" and he (far from a good Catholic in attitude) was telling men "stay away from this." So, if pick up artists can make the distinction, Catholic men can as well. 

If you see a woman and notice she's attractive and you notice everything else about her, bearing, demeanor, modesty etc. and you keep your wits about you, that's not lust.  That just means you're alive. Bring God into it with you, God and impurity don't mix well, so keeping Him close and making yourself aware by consciously addressing Him can help you. God's a good wingman.

I've seen married women at Church who are enchantingly lovely, also friendly and blessed with all sorts of delightful qualities.  I notice how beautiful they are and I congratulate God on such good work, say a prayer for them and their husbands and families and as a single man, I tell God to put someone like that on my wish list if He's okay with it.

Don't fret about a fleeting thought here and there, the more you worry, the stronger it will come back to haunt you.  Let it roll off you, anything venial will be washed away by a good act of contrition, the absolution at Mass, the reception of Holy Communion and Confession will keep strengthening you. 

Or...you can learn how to play Chess and love it, you can't think about Chess and nookie at the same time (unless you're Mel Brooks). 



 
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Offline Insanis

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Re: Lust
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2021, 01:43:50 AM »
I'm not trying to sound smart, but can somebody explain what "lust" is exactly? I thought I understood it, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe what I thought was lust actually isn't lust.

First, think of an ideal human: the person's animal desires and rational mind would be perfectly ordered. They would enjoy food and only eat when it was rational to do so. They would engage in sexual activity only when it was appropriate to do so. They would speak when appropriate and have emotions appropriate for the circumstances. They would be like Our Lord. Everything human, body and soul, would be perfectly ordered.

Now, think of fallen human: our nature is corrupted, but the same. We have the same faculties, but weakened and disordered. Instead of being guided by reason, our baser feelings are prone to being the guiding force of action. It is disordered. What is good is being misused, either used too much, at the wrong time, not enough, or not the right way.

The general term for a "desire for good things" is "concupiscence". In most contexts, it refers to the inordinate desire of the lower appetites (animal desires) against reason.

Lust is the vice (bad habit) concerning venereal pleasure, which should be rationally present and pursued in the properly ordered application of procreation with a partner agreeable to the design of humanity by God.

In terms of categorization, it is under the virtue Temperance, which governs our behaviors dealing with human life (other vices similar to it are gluttony, (sinful) curiosity, immodesty, drunkenness, etc).

I hope this explains in part what Lust is exactly: it is the disordered pursuit and desire for venereal pleasure. It turns procreation and acts appropriate to it into mere recreation or perverts the acts in some way to be out of alignment with what is proper.
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Online Daniel

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Re: Lust
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2021, 01:43:29 PM »
How do we know whether any particular instance of pleasure is "venereal" or even improper? Sometimes this is obvious but it usually isn't.

Could it be the case that lust really isn't very common, and priests are making a bigger deal out of it than they ought to be? I really need to figure this out. Either I commit a lot of lust on a daily basis, or else I very rarely commit it and am just paranoid (perhaps as a result of listening to too many trad sermons over the years). Not sure if I should go about my daily life untroubled, or if I should go "all in" with the burdensome adblockers and custody of eyes. (This is especially problematic for me if I am to continue pursuing art, since it's kind of hard to be an artist or an art enthusiast if you're not allowed to look at anything. Seems also problematic when it comes to establishing friendships and relationships in general, since you can't really do that without looking at the other person, nor can you be sure that the other person isn't actually an object of lust...)
« Last Edit: May 15, 2021, 01:57:24 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Insanis

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Re: Lust
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2021, 02:19:10 PM »
How do we know whether any particular instance of pleasure is "venereal" or even improper? Sometimes this is obvious but it usually isn't.

It is not a very subtle vice usually, so if you are in such doubt about it, and you didn't specifically intend to excite yourself by your thoughts and actions, then it is not a grave matter usually.

Temptations and occasions of lust are extremely common, and are not sins in themselves.

Sins require at least some knowledge of the act and a deliberate choice to commit it.

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Could it be the case that lust really isn't very common,

It is the most common vice to the extent every philosophy and religion tends to have something to say about it, as well as it being prominent in all moral guidance from the Church and her saints, and even in private revelations throughout time.

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and priests are making a bigger deal out of it than they ought to be?
I imagine that priests who hear confessions, who went to seminary with a lot of other men, and who are aware of how things are in the world are extremely aware of just how prevalent it is.

But be sure to separate mortal sins from venial sins and mere temptations and occasions from human acts.

Quote
Not sure if I should go about my daily life untroubled, or if I should go "all in" with the burdensome adblockers and custody of eyes. (This is especially problematic for me if I am to continue pursuing art, since it's kind of hard to be an artist or an art enthusiast if you're not allowed to look at anything. Seems also problematic when it comes to establishing friendships and relationships in general, since you can't really do that without looking at the other person, nor can you be sure that the other person isn't actually an object of lust...)

You should ask a priest about this for more details, but remember that sins are acts that you will, not just the occasions to commit them or temptations. The gravity of a sin varies on the matter and the will and knowledge behind it.

I don't know what is particular troublesome for you (it can be quite different for different people), but if you know of anything that grabs your attention and gets a reaction when you are conscious (assuming you are male, that is "if it moves"), that is 100% to be avoided. To knowingly and deliberately pursue that would be a mortal sin. If you know of occasions which lead to this based on past experiences, avoid them as well, as you know of the occasion. If it is something which doesn't lead to anything like that, then you can relax a little bit, and then focus on the purpose and risks and other factors as needed.

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Offline Tennessean

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Re: Lust
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2021, 05:34:13 PM »
If you're constantly day dreaming about a girl, you're probably lusting. If you are just thinking a girl is cute and you like her, you aren't lusting. You'll have to be the judge and take it to your priest, if in doubt.

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