A particular kind of scrupulosity...
#11
One other thing I wanted to add.

I had mentioned that I was ashamed of this happening.

For what it is worth, the priest told me to drop the idea of shame as it is a source of pride, as if to say that I am too good for this to happen.

Accept yourself as a sinner, and move on.

It was really one of the best Confessions I have had in awhile.
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#12
(12-03-2011, 12:56 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: One other thing I wanted to add.

I had mentioned that I was ashamed of this happening.

For what it is worth, the priest told me to drop the idea of shame as it is a source of pride, as if to say that I am too good for this to happen.

Accept yourself as a sinner, and move on.

It was really one of the best Confessions I have had in awhile.

THIS!!!!
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#13

Quote:As for the cause: fallen human nature is probably the biggest reason that this happens. It's not only a symptom of our modern sexualised society; even monks in the Egyptian desert 1700 years ago were having this problem. Although the great amount of sex in contemporary media can only be making the problem worse. In The Sayings of the Desert Fathers the abbots' usual response to monks who are troubled by their own sinful thoughts is simply "guard your heart" - even though you are constantly attacked by these thoughts, keep fighting them and don't let them in.


We're not talking about “ordinary” (if I may use that word) impure sexual thoughts though. We're talking about blasphemous thoughts.

I was always taught that there were three sources of temptation: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. No, not everything comes from Satan himself. Some of our troubles come from the flesh, our own fallen nature. Some come from the world, all those outside influences. But when blasphemous thoughts invade, I would be on high alert. Blasphemy comes from Satan.

The good news is that you can get rid of him by just telling him to GO! Try it and see if those thoughts don't vanish as quickly as they came. The more he realizes he can't get to you this way, the less it will happen. Then it will stop completely.
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#14
(12-03-2011, 12:56 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: One other thing I wanted to add.

I had mentioned that I was ashamed of this happening.

For what it is worth, the priest told me to drop the idea of shame as it is a source of pride, as if to say that I am too good for this to happen.

Accept yourself as a sinner, and move on.

It was really one of the best Confessions I have had in awhile.

I had a great conversation with a monk once and he basically said the same thing to me.  He suggested that instead of saying, "I can't believe I did that!" we say, "I'm such a sinner, thanks be to God that I didn't do anything worse!"  Pride is very sneaky sometimes, eh?
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#15
There's a difference between feeling ashamed about yourself and feeling ashamed about particular actions. If you've done something wrong, say, "I made a mistake. I have sinned. That is not up to God's and my standards." In this case it is good to reflect on what you did wrong. If it is a temptation, which you seem to indicate, then there is no need for any shame. All men are tempted. Temptation is not sin. No sin, no shame. Crowd out the temptation with good thoughts. Try even using images which are very childlike, like a kids rosary book. I really mean that. Bring it back to a real simple level, before sexuality was involved with your life. I wouldn't advise you to "pray harder", since scrupulosity is already a "tense" position. You need to pray "better". What I mean is, you have to take the snake by the head instead of the tail. Crowd out the temptation with good thoughts, even thoughts which are not religious, like a nice steak. Once you get past the temptation, return to your normal line of prayer/thought. If it is strong, simply say, "In the name of Jesus, I bind you, spirit of blasphemy, and send you to the foot of the cross." If it is a demon, it will go. If it isn't, it is still a good thing to pray. While I say that we should all take temptation seriously, some types of people become obsessive, and actually make things worse by overly focusing on the temptation, and it may be good for those people to just pay it no mind except the simple exorcism prayer I gave, or something similar. It is like meeting someone on a street passing by. You may acknowledge their existence, "Hi!", but you don't follow them down the road, harass them, and demand every detail of their life. You just acknowledge it, say the prayer, and move on. And of course a life of grace builds up the armor in your heart, so that future thoughts won't arise.
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#16
I have always struggled with the same thing.  It can be very distressing at times.  What helped me was to detach it from "me".  It's not "me", it's simply what happens sometimes in my mind, it doesn't say anything about me as a person.  De-personalizing it seemed to really help reduce the phenomenon.  And remember that you are not sinning if this happens, it's only if you welcome the thoughts and entertain them that you commit sin.  As everyone here has stated, it seems to happen to many people and it's obvious nobody welcomes it.

I've noticed that calling out to Mary often causes the thoughts to dissipate.  St. Michael, St. Joseph, Jesus Himself, or any other saint you feel an attachment to may help as well.  Don't get caught up in a specific prayer formula, I will often just call in my head "Mary! Please help me!"
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#17
(12-03-2011, 10:31 AM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: This happens to many of us.. much more when we're younger, I think.

Just tell the devil to get lost, or shake it off and refocus, like Aragon said.
If you call 45 "younger" then it happens a a lot to us then.
I did not have as many impure thoughts in mys 20's. It started in my 30's and till now.

I do not have impure thoughts at all when I am praying but mostly at night when I am going to sleep and when I am semi conscious.
It could be from years of the spirit of fornication holding on.
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#18
(12-03-2011, 02:07 PM)Scriptorium Wrote: There's a difference between feeling ashamed about yourself and feeling ashamed about particular actions. If you've done something wrong, say, "I made a mistake. I have sinned. That is not up to God's and my standards." In this case it is good to reflect on what you did wrong. If it is a temptation, which you seem to indicate, then there is no need for any shame. All men are tempted. Temptation is not sin. No sin, no shame. Crowd out the temptation with good thoughts. Try even using images which are very childlike, like a kids rosary book. I really mean that. Bring it back to a real simple level, before sexuality was involved with your life. I wouldn't advise you to "pray harder", since scrupulosity is already a "tense" position. You need to pray "better". What I mean is, you have to take the snake by the head instead of the tail. Crowd out the temptation with good thoughts, even thoughts which are not religious, like a nice steak. Once you get past the temptation, return to your normal line of prayer/thought. If it is strong, simply say, "In the name of Jesus, I bind you, spirit of blasphemy, and send you to the foot of the cross." If it is a demon, it will go. If it isn't, it is still a good thing to pray. While I say that we should all take temptation seriously, some types of people become obsessive, and actually make things worse by overly focusing on the temptation, and it may be good for those people to just pay it no mind except the simple exorcism prayer I gave, or something similar. It is like meeting someone on a street passing by. You may acknowledge their existence, "Hi!", but you don't follow them down the road, harass them, and demand every detail of their life. You just acknowledge it, say the prayer, and move on. And of course a life of grace builds up the armor in your heart, so that future thoughts won't arise.

Very well said Scriptorium.  When I get so caught up in "fixing" the problem, it tends to get worse.  Expanding on this idea... if my reaction is "Oh there you are temptation, No! Not again! How will I ever overcome thee??"  - well then the temptation will get stronger and more de-moralizing.  But if I just react with something like: "Oh there you are, temptation, I was expecting you. There's no chance you'll get me to sin. Ha ha!"  Well, that seems to just make it dissipate and I'm able to move on to other good stuff like you mentioned.
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#19
Thanks for the great responses all :-D I feel much better about it now. It's such an odd thing, but it is also so vile and it makes me sad. I guess many if not most have had this in one form or another. I don't struggle at all with impure thoughts or anything - just when I pray or at certain times I get such horrid visual blasphemous images pop up and it makes prayer harder and a struggle.

I guess some of it can be considered a 'payback' for the few years that I was lost in the world and unchaste. Not good theology, but it is one way for me to make sense of it.
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#20
Whatever you do, do not stop your rosary when assailed by the devil in this manner.  In the past, I have been plagued with such thoughts, just in general and not whilst praying (though that has happened), and felt fear about turning to Our Lady for protection.  A desire not to stain her honour with my disgusting wretchedness.  And what happened?  I fell!  It's a tactic of the enemy.

But remember Our Lady is always there to protect you, no matter how unworthy and spiritually crippled you are.  She will lift you up in her arms and hold you to her maternal bosom and keep the enemy at arms length.  He fears her so.  Remember the antiphon: "Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array!"  Her rule is powerful, it is over heaven and earth and in a deeply intimate and maternal sense even over God Himself.

Flee to your rosary, clutch to her skirts like a frightened child and she shall embrace you as the son of hers that you are.
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