One of the most effective weapons of the devil today is lust. Our Lady of Fatima revealed, "more souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason." It's more than interesting to note that Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in 1916, just as the angel first appeared to the children in Fatima. The "roaring twenties" would then burst onto the scene shortly after Our Lady's dire warning, which seemed to be "a leak in the dike" of a more debased view of sexuality.
But the dam would burst wide open with our modern-day sexual revolution. It was in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut that the Supreme Court would strike down state laws prohibiting contraception. This would be quickly followed in 1973 by the infamous Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, which legalized the killing of pre-born children in all states.
Once the "consequence of conception" seemed to be removed, or the legal right to kill pre-born babies was made available, the sexual revolution flooded into our culture. Now, we are seeing the "normalization" (socially acceptable) of sex-for-pleasure outside the bond of holy matrimony and the explosion of easy access pornography.
Fr. Robert Fromageot, F.S.S.P. writes, "The leading lights of our age often claim to champion the rights of women, and in certain respects the claim is legitimate. At the same time, however, our age has clearly not sought to protect and foster the sacred dignity of women. On the contrary, society would have us remove our wedding garment, divest ourselves of Christ, and put on the 'old man' and make ample provision for the flesh. Men are practically encouraged to treat women as mere objects of pleasure, and women are encouraged to seek this degrading form of attention and accept it as normal and compatible with their dignity."
I began by writing that lust is one of Satan's most effective weapons. Why? According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the daughters (consequences) of lust are "blindness of mind, thoughtlessness, inconstancy, rashness, self-love, hatred of God, love of this world, and abhorrence or despair of a future world." While mortal sin kills the life of grace within us, lust accomplishes this in a most effective way. In essence, it has taken men (especially) off the battlefield of spiritual warfare. Instead, they lose any resolve to seek God and His will. They become, in essence, a lump of self-absorbed clay, easily manipulated by the devil. They are lifeless. Satan has managed to sideline countless men, who would otherwise be mighty disciples and soldiers for Christ. Imagine how daunting Christ's army would be if it weren't for millions of souls who have, literally, no desire to enter the fray.
Many are caught in the vice of lust. "Vice" indicates the habitual nature of the sin. This vice reveals the "quality" of a man's soul. Caught in the vice of lust, many confess the sin with little or no resolution to cease its repetition. Therefore, grace may not be given entrance to such a soul while the "daughters of lust" maintain their residence there.
I'm often asked what someone caught in the vice of lust can do. Of course, there are organizations and support groups available. But I often tell men that they need to change their perspective.
This is something I wrote that, I believe, gets to the heart of this proper perspective:
"God's glorious creation began with things such as dirt, then vegetation, then animals, etc. ... it just kept getting better and better. God then created His great love interest ... His adopted children ... human beings. Yet man was created only second to last. Woman is the crescendo ... the last and greatest of all of God's creation! More than a beautiful sunset or starry night or any cascading waterfalls or picturesque mountain range ... God has created nothing more beautiful, more loving, more tender-hearted, more nurturing. That is why women are perfectly positioned to be wife and mother. And, because women are the pinnacle of all God's creations, they too, like the Blessed Mother, should be esteemed as sacred. They have been given the special role of being the tabernacle of God's next love interest."
This is the perspective we must recover. I tell men, "go ahead and notice the wonder of woman - it's not dirty or sinful to do so - and give praise to God, but do that in a split second, and don't entertain the base thoughts of the 'old man.'" I recall when this perspective was prevalent, as I watched in my childhood years, gentlemen stand when a lady entered the room. Oh, how I wish that practice would return!