Ten-steps to conquer the wolf-devil of porn.
National Geographic once presented a contest between a buffalo and a wolf, and a pack of wolves. It was presented in this fashion. A bulky but fleet-footed buffalo was racing freely and rapidly in the expansive desert. His hoofs pounded roughly against the desert dusty surface, kicking up dust as he raced along. The constant beating and pounding of his hooves against the hard ground deafened him to all other noises. Totally oblivious to the environment, the buffalo forged ahead to his apparent destiny, unaware of what was rapidly pursuing him.
From a distance of more than a football-field in this remote scene in the desert could be detected a small but fast moving animal. Actually rushing at a faster pace than the buffalo, this animal with determined determination sought out and was in hard pursuit of the oblivious buffalo. What was this animal? A ravenous wolf!
The distance between the wolf and the buffalo shortened and shortened: 50 yards, then 25, then 5. Despite the proximity of the two, due to the clattering of his hooves, the buffalo remained oblivious to his approaching enemy. Already within a few feet, the wolf launched himself forward and sunk his sharp and jagged teeth into the heel of the buffalo. The wound from the wolf’s penetrating teeth forced the immediate collapse of the buffalo. Wounded by a deep gash in his heel, the buffalo cascaded to the ground, with the wolf peering down upon his prey with an air of victory.
Within minutes, a pack of wolves surrounded the buffalo. The first rapidly bit, digging his sharp teeth into the flesh of the buffalo; then another wolf did the same, and another. In a short time all the wolves had their fill. Nothing was left of the enormous, bulky, strong buffalo except a skeleton of bones.
In our modern world we find ourselves surrounded not simply by one wolf or a pack of wolves, but many ferocious moral enemies that pursue our spiritual and moral life at every turn of the road.
Among the most ferocious, tenacious, insidious and relentless enemies of our eternal salvation is the wolf of pornography. In fact, there are packs of these malicious and vicious wolves, indeed ravenous wolves that are on the prowl, seeking to pursue us and attack us day and night. Behind this wolf of pornography is the devil himself, whom Jesus calls both a murderer and a liar from the beginning. (Jn. 8: 44)
There is much that can be said on this topic, and books written on the topic, but we would like to highlight in this short essay a game-plan, a strategy, a working procedure that can be taken to prevent this ravenous wolf of pornography from wreaking havoc in our families, our marriages, our teens and even children, men and women alike.
In fact, if we do not have a clear, simple and concrete strategy then we can become a slave of the devil, a prey of the wolf, and an addict of this enemy—pornography—for years, for decades, and possibly even enslaved all of our lives. To make matters worse and more serious, we can even jeopardize the eternal salvation of our souls. More than 100 years ago, Our Lady of Fatima stated unequivocally that most souls are lost, condemned to the fires of hell, as a result of the sins against the virtue of purity. Of course, the ravenous wolf of porn is a chief cohort of the army of the devils of impurity.
Therefore, let us outline a concrete ten-step program to unmask, bind, and conquer the wolf of pornography in our families, marriages, and in our own personal lives.
THE TEN STEP STRATEGY-PLAN TO CONQUER THE WOLF OF PORNOGRAPHY
1. LIFE IS A CONSTANT COMBAT. Let’s start off with a very clear understanding that our life on earth is a constant battle between good and evil, light and darkness, the devil vs. the good angels. Saint Ignatius presents this with the Contemplation of the Two Standards: the Standard of Christ and His followers in battle against the Standard of Satan and his minions. This instills in our conscious state that we always have to be on guard against the furtive, wily, insidious attacks of the enemy. Saint Ignatius calls the devil, “The enemy of our salvation.”
2. A DANGEROUS STATE OF SOUL: DESOLATION. In fact, when we find ourselves in the state of desolation, something we all experience as part of being human, that is precisely when the devil raises his artillery to shoot for the kill. Desolation is basically when we feel a lack of faith, hope, and charity. We feel sad and depressed, nobody seems to understand us or care about us. Our life does not seem to have any meaning or purpose. We feel as if we are in a dark tunnel or enveloped in a dense, dark cloud. At times like this, the Kryptonite or basic weak point for many is that of sensuality, lust, and the pull towards the wolf of porn. Half of winning the battle is having a keen awareness of being in the state of desolation, and knowing that the enemy, the devil, will draw close and offer us an escape-valve for this state of desolation by having recourse to the wolf of porn. The enemy will present porn as something that is not bad, but rather something normal, accepted by all, a necessary part of life, a part of being human. Be aware and remember, the devil is the father of lies. (Jn. 8:44)
3. IGNATIAN RULE SIX: THE SAFETY-NET TO PREVENT FALLING INTO DESOLATION. A master of the spiritual life, Saint Ignatius offers us four spiritual weapons to wield to conquer desolation, as well as to overcome the devil-wolf of porn. These weapons are not novelties but rather classical tools in Spiritual Combat. However, if not wielded and implemented opportunely then the ravenous wolf of porn can sink his sharp teeth into us! These weapons are:
A) PRAYER. Jesus commanded the Apostles: “Stay awake and pray because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26: 41)
B) MEDITATION. Be faithful to meditation on the Word of God that is called the two-edged sword. Make your daily Holy Hour, your Hour of Power! (Fulton Sheen)
C) PENANCE. Ignatius insists on doing some suitable penance. Jesus stated clearly: “Some devils can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” (Mt. 17: 21)
D) EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE. Examine your conscience and life to see if you have opened a door, crevice, or even a crack where the devil can enter.
4. EYES: BE VIGILANT WITH YOUR EYES. Indeed, the eyes are the mirror of the soul. Constantly we must control our wandering eyes that can easily betray us and lead us into the camp of the wolf, of the devil that we call porn. The fall of King David was precipitated by this holy man allowing his eyes to wander towards the beautiful woman, Bathsheba, on the rooftop.
5. CELL-PHONE, SOCIAL-MEDIA, INTERNET—A TWO-EDGED SWORD. It is true that all that God created was and is good. Unfortunately, the freedom that God has generously endowed us with is all too often not used for the honor and glory of God, but abused for our own selfish gratification. We all must maintain strict surveillance over the use of the social media and the internet. We should block all the porn sights; perhaps even have an accountability partner. Even at times, to avoid being alone is the best way, if possible, to avoid the attack of the wolf on the prowl. For children and teens, perhaps the best remedy is simply to prohibit them from having their own cellphone.
6. FREQUENT RECOURSE TO THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION. This wonderful Sacrament has as its specific effect that of HEALING. In Confession we encounter Jesus who is the DIVINE-PHYSICIAN. In fact, frequent confession can serve as preventive medicine, as well as healing medicine. Indeed, frequent confession can prevent the ravenous wolf of pornography from biting us and leaving his poison in our system.
7. IGNATIAN RULE 13. In our spiritual battle, we rely first and foremost on the grace of God. However, we must have recourse to human and spiritual tools also. Rule 13 of the Ignatian Rules for Discernment is quite simply this: In desolation and temptation open up to your Spiritual Director or Confessor. In fact, the saints tell us that once a temptation is revealed or divulged, then it is easily conquered. If we want to conquer the wolf-devil of porn, we have to talk it out with a trained Spiritual Director or Confessor. The devil can easily turn a molehill into a mountain. Openness in spiritual direction disintegrates our mountainous temptations into dust blown by the wind!
8. AVOID LAZINESS/INDOLENCE. How true the proverb: “Idleness is the workshop of the devil.” On one occasion, Saint Faustina saw the devil rushing frantically in the corridor of the convent. Jesus forced the devil to reveal where he had his major triumphs in temptation. The devil responded by saying that LAZINESS was his key means of triumph. But in that convent, he could not find one lazy Sister! If we are engaged in healthy, wholesome and productive activities, than the wolf of porn is put at bay!
9. WHOLESOME FRIENDS, SPORTS, RECREATION, REST AND JOY. On a human level when we experience joy in rich and rewarding friends, physical exercise in sports, recreation and rest that restores our physical, mental and emotional health—all of these serve as human safeguards to refrain from capitulating to the idol, the wolf of pornography. In fact, JOY is indispensable to conquer any vice, especially the addiction to porn.
10. PRAYER, MARY AND THE ROSARY. There is an anecdote of a well-known Protestant who would frequently visit book-stores (45 years ago). Even though he would be looking at spiritual books, he felt drawn to the porn-corner, to visit the wolves, at least for a short time. One day he fell upon the Rosary and prayed it once—still being a Protestant! Immediately, as if a strong chain were shattered, he no longer felt any desire to leaf through the porn-pages. In our battle to attain purity, to conquer the ugly head of the devil and put the wolves at bay, let us turn to Mary, and especially by praying the Rosary.
As David wielded the slingshot and conquered the Giant Goliath, so we can conquer the wolves of porn in our lives if we have frequent recourse to Our Lady and the most Holy Rosary. Indeed, we are very weak, but God is omnipotent, and He has entrusted many battle victories to the powerful intercession of His Mother, Mary. Indeed, the Proto-evangelium points to the woman who will conquer the enemy by her heel. May the heel of Mary conquer the ugly serpent-wolf of pornography in our lives!