Originally posted on RooshV.com
When a man begins repentance, his heart is tender, contrite, and humble. He is ready to follow God’s commandments, obey Church teachings, and begin a new life in Christ. The problem is he is not yet fully healed, and still has elevated pride that is automatic for those who grew up in the West. Very soon, he may begin to make exemptions for himself concerning various sins or practices that he rationalizes as “small,” “temporary,” or serving the “greater good.” Satan’s foot is back in the door and will use his desire for exemptions to launch a strong attack that steals away the seed of new faith.
In Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the character Raskolnikov believes he is superior to his fellow man—so superior that he should have the right to kill someone if that person poses an obstacle to him.
Raskolnikov goes on to murder someone he thought was a detriment to mankind, and in the process of that murder he ended up killing a second person who happened upon the scene. By usurping the mantle of God, Raskolnikov thought that his intellectual powers gave him the ability to dispense with a perceived miscreant and scourge to society, but very soon he is overcome by a crushing guilt that he cannot silence.
Before my repentance, when I was living in Catholic Poland, I adhered to the concept of “cultural Christianity,” meaning that I saw the overall good that Christianity was doing to those who practiced the faith, but believed it was an “opiate for the masses,” a tool for merely average men and women who needed external rules to have peace in life instead of ravenously following their worldly desires and carnal passions. Since I thought I was an exalted man, bestowed with innumerable gifts, including intellectual, I was not required to follow Christian morality and could instead live without any limits to my behavior or actions. My feelings and will were supreme, just like Raskolnikov, and I created wholesale exemptions for myself to God’s law even though I saw moral benefit in it for mankind. I did not murder anyone physically, but by teaching sin so vigorously through my books and videos, I was an attempted murderer of the souls of men who used them to fornicate, and I aided in the corruption of women who had relations with me and the men who followed me. What peace did I have in this time? What calm entered my soul? I was a dopamine junkie, a slave to bodily pleasure, prone to anger, unstable in emotion, reeking of disgusting pride, and deluded into thinking that I could operate my mind and body in a way that was not intended by God. It took a family death to wake me up from my demonic delusion.
It’s common to meet unmarried Christian men who are in sexual relationships with women. They justify it by saying that they are “monogamous” and “will get married eventually,” but will such self-justification suffice upon Judgment Day? God’s law is clearly against fornication, adultery, and harlotry. No man is given a divine imperative to exempt himself. Do you really believe that God is pleased that you’re fornicating with “only” one woman at a time? From what I learned in the Orthodox Church, such a man must stop fornicating until he gets married within the Church.
Even after I was received into the Church, I still made an exemption for myself that I can be the star of a popular live stream, one that spiked my adrenaline and led to numerous sins stemming from pride. It took me months to follow the basic Church teaching of halting that which causes you to sin.
God did not exempt me. I’m not exalted above others. I’m not a special boy. Without God, my natural gifts are more likely to be harnessed for evil than good. The morality we get from God is objective, clear, and for our eternal benefit; it’s our fallen weakness to shade it gray and think that God really wants us to transgress His law because we are somehow above it. Believing you can commit any type of sin to do a “favor” for God is delusion, and unfortunately, I am infected with it. What the Church teaches, I must abide, and if I ever get the notion that I don’t have to abide, I must conclude that a demon is whispering in my ear, and a damaging spiritual fall is near.
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Great read Roosh, thanks for sharing. I think St. Ignatius of Loyola's "Rules for the Discernment of Spirits" could be a great compannion to this article, let me post the 14 rules he developed after intense prayer:
The first Rule: In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is commonly used to propose to them apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to hold them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons the good spirit uses the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason.
The second: In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.
The third: Of Spiritual Consolation. I call it consolation when some interior movement in the soul is caused, through which the soul comes to be inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord; and when it can in consequence love no created thing on the face of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of them all.
Likewise, when it sheds tears that move to love of its Lord, whether out of sorrow for one’s sins, or for the Passion of Christ our Lord, or because of other things directly connected with His service and praise.
Finally, I call consolation every increase of hope, faith and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.
The fourth: Of Spiritual Desolation. I call desolation all the contrary of the third rule, such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to want of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, sad, and as if separated from his Creator and Lord. Because, as consolation is contrary to desolation, in the same way the thoughts which come from consolation are contrary to the thoughts which come from desolation.
The fifth: In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.
The sixth: Although in desolation we ought not to change our first resolutions, it is very helpful intensely to change ourselves against the same desolation, as by insisting more on prayer, meditation, on much examination, and by giving ourselves more scope in some suitable way of doing penance.
The seventh: Let him who is in desolation consider how the Lord has left him in trial in his natural powers, in order to resist the different agitations and temptations of the enemy; since he can with the Divine help, which always remains to him, though he does not clearly perceive it: because the Lord has taken from him his great fervor, great love and intense grace, leaving him, however, grace enough for eternal salvation.
The eighth: Let him who is in desolation labor to be in patience, which is contrary to the vexations which come to him: and let him think that he will soon be consoled, employing against the desolation the devices, as is said in the sixth Rule.
The ninth: There are three principal reasons why we find ourselves desolate.
The first is, because of our being tepid, lazy or negligent in our spiritual exercises; and so through our faults, spiritual consolation withdraws from us.
The second, to try us and see how much we are and how much we let ourselves out in His service and praise without such great pay of consolation and great graces.
The third, to give us true acquaintance and knowledge, that we may interiorly feel that it is not ours to get or keep great devotion, intense love, tears, or any other spiritual consolation, but that all is the gift and grace of God our Lord, and that we may not build a nest in a thing not ours, raising our intellect into some pride or vainglory, attributing to us devotion or the other things of the spiritual consolation.
The tenth: Let him who is in consolation think how he will be in the desolation which will come after, taking new strength for then.
The eleventh: Let him who is consoled see to humbling himself and lowering himself as much as he can, thinking how little he is able for in the time of desolation without such grace or consolation.
On the contrary, let him who is in desolation think that he can do much with the grace sufficient to resist all his enemies, taking strength in his Creator and Lord.
The twelfth: The enemy acts like a woman, in being weak against vigor and strong of will. Because, as it is the way of the woman when she is quarreling with some man to lose heart, taking flight when the man shows her much courage: and on the contrary, if the man, losing heart, begins to fly, the wrath, revenge, and ferocity of the woman is very great, and so without bounds; in the same manner, it is the way of the enemy to weaken and lose heart, his temptations taking flight, when the person who is exercising himself in spiritual things opposes a bold front against the temptations of the enemy, doing diametrically the opposite. And on the contrary, if the person who is exercising himself commences to have fear and lose heart in suffering the temptations, there is no beast so wild on the face of the earth as the enemy of human nature in following out his damnable intention with so great malice.
The thirteenth: Likewise, he acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. For, as the licentious man who, speaking for an evil purpose, solicits a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his licentious words and depraved intention, because he easily gathers that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.
The fourteenth: Likewise, he behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defences of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.
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