In Christ a New Creation: Finding Hope in Porn-Addiction — Part I

Christ and the Woman of Samaria, Giovanni Lanfranco, c. 1625-8
Christ and the Woman of Samaria, Giovanni Lanfranco, c. 1625-8

Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” –John 4:14

I recently read the article that Sr. Theresa Noble wrote about the Duke “adult film-actress” Belle Knox and have been reflecting on it ever since. To be completely frank, I felt like I had already heard enough about this story and wasn’t sure whether to write something on it or not. What I appreciated about Theresa’s article was that she also briefly touched upon the role of the young man who “broke” the story. He had watched one of Belle’s videos and “outed” her to the entire campus.

The whole sordid tale between the two made my heart ache. You see, I’ve struggled with pornography and other sexual sins for over half my life. No one told me that once I had become a Christian that the old struggles would go away. I know full well what St. Paul speaks of in the scriptures: “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15).

Innocently enough, I was first exposed to pornography at school and then later sought it on my own on the computer. I was fascinated by it but it soon became a chain and shackle upon me. There were points where it had almost destroyed my life: relationships were ruined, countless hours of time were spent aimlessly scouring the internet for another “fix,” and many dollars were wasted at seedy adult bookstores and video-shops. Porn left me tired, wasted, and hating myself. Worst yet, I despaired that I would ever be free. It truly was a vicious cycle.

It must be said here that porn did not draw me in because it was bad per se. I believe most of us who fall into sins of the flesh are only longing to be loved, to feel love, to even give love. Even if that young man didn’t know it, that’s what he was seeking for too. Certainly, seeking love and fulfillment in porn is a misguided view of what the good actually is, but the Catholic perspective on sex is that it is a good thing, created by God to express the totality of love between a husband and wife.

Catholics are neither ascetics who hate the body or bacchanalian pleasure seekers. Sex, put on a pedestal and turned into an idol, can consume all in its path and leave nothing but havoc in its wake. But the Catechism sets out the truly beautiful and liberating via media of the Church like this:

Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses…concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death. (CCC #2361)

Furthermore:

The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude. Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure. (CCC #2362)

Undoubtedly, sex can be an ecstatic, joyous, and heartfelt expression of tender love and sheer delight for the beloved. But just as that may blossom in the creation of a new human life, so also sex points us to something beyond itself: to God. St. Augustine was onto something when wrote in his Confessions, “Thee, O Lord, have created us for yourself, and our heart finds no rest, until it rests in Thee.” Ultimately, we were not created only for sex but for God.

I think this is where the porn or the sex-addicted person must begin. That is, if we do not learn that we are wholly, completely, and unconditionally loved first by God, then we cannot ever fully and humanly love ourselves, let alone another. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). You are loved. Yes, you, dear soul reading this. I may not know you or what crosses you are carrying but that I do know because I have come to experience such merciful love myself.

We remember together this Lent the great lengths our Precious Savior took for us towards Calvary just to show us His love: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). All the saints in each age (e.g., St. Margaret of Cortona, St. Augustine, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Romuald) knew this love. In it they found their peace. They found hope. They found joy. They found rest.

For many years I asked God, “Why?” Why this cross, Lord? It is so shameful, tiring, and heavy… Embracing it, carrying it, and holding it is the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life. I’ve shed more tears and felt more anguish over this than any other. Why, Lord, why? I have not received an answer from Him yet. But I am slowly starting to realize something. That, no matter what our crosses may be, all of our “whys” in this life are brought up and gathered unto Jesus as he hung that mournful Friday. For He too asked, “Eloi, Eloi lema sabachthani?”(Mark 15:34: “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”).

This is the paradox of the Christian life, on which our salvation hinges, where our souls either stand or fall: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). If we wish for eternal salvation, it is precisely in carrying our crosses that we find our way…home. Although the journey may be long and the battle tough, we may even at times fall again, no more do we have to run away from our crosses, for He is beside us and helps us carry them.

Yet, in this kind of death we also find our hope: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). In dying with Jesus we find Resurrection, we find a restoration of Innocence, a rebirth of Love: for Christ has “raised us up with Him” to new life (Ephesians 2:6). “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I have written this article on the Feast of the Annunciation, where we meditate upon our Blessed Mother who said, knowing full well the cross she was to bear — “And you yourself a sword shall pierce” — “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, 2:35). For now, simply entrust yourself to Mary’s care. Pray to her, she will teach us how to love Jesus, how to truly love. Please especially pray for Miriam and for her family, and for that young man too, that they will know God’s love for them. Let us find our rest in Jesus through Mary.

By thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, purify our bodies and sanctify our souls!

(This is the first of two posts. My second post will focus on ways that I have helped me in my own struggles against pornography.)

Rachana Chhin

Rachana Chhin

Rachana Chhin is a 25-year-old Catholic convert (via Buddhism and Evangelical Christianity) from Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelors degree from Baylor University where he studied International Affairs and the Great Books. He is now pursuing a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota. In his down time, he enjoys reading, listening to classical and folk music, and playing strategy games on his computer.

Leave a Replay

10 thoughts on “In Christ a New Creation: Finding Hope in Porn-Addiction — Part I”

  1. Sr. Theresa Noble

    Thank you Rachana for talking honestly and openly about this issue that is sadly becoming more and more prevalent in our Church and in our world. United in prayer.

    1. Thank you for your inspiration, Theresa! I was glad to dovetail a bit off your post because it gave me the courage to speak a little bit of my own journey. Instead of speaking of porn-addiction in the abstract I wanted to give a face to what I know many, many people of our generation struggle with. Yes, let us be united in prayer! God bless.

  2. This is by far the most honest confession I’ve seen in public articles.
    Many, I meant many, people do not realize the harm brought about by porn. And I’m pretty sure that the author is only one of the countless victims.
    My prayers are with you.

  3. Thank you for sharing…….. many of us have similar stories.
    For me, as a 9 year old girl, the sexual sins started when a man masturbated me – it was one time event.

    After that, I developed the habit of masturbation. I kept the secret for 38 years. Every time I confessed that sin, the priest asked me : “…alone or with other…? I did not understand, as a child, what he meant … But I felt that his question did not help me to see the cause of my sin, nor gave me the solution ….. instead I lost my self-esteem, I started to hate my body….that priest damaged my spirit with his questions, without giving me any hope.

  4. Thanks for sharing. Pornography is a struggle for many and can be a heavy cross. With each temptation comes a way to overcome it. Many are receiving help with pornography and masturbation through 12-step programs. It seems that some of the biblical principles-based programs, like Power Over Pornography, are also helping some overcome it. I hope those who struggle will find the help they need

  5. mikeroberts070411

    I am in my 50’s and know the struggle. Can we say “God made us this way”? Some “Christians” justify engaging in sexual perversion with this false claim. I have a crucifix in sight of my computer and made a Catholic site my homepage. I pray the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours online. It is working! Never think God made you this way or think it is OK to engage in immorality. Pray unceasingly. God bless.

  6. Glad you brought this up. Porn and sex addiction afflicts millions of men and growing numbers of women. It must be brought out into the open! Freedom is possible!

  7. Darren Anderton

    Looking forward to your second post. You hit the nail on the head on this one, and you definitely weren’t alone in your sufferings.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Darren (and everyone else too!).

      I’m really grateful and humbled by all the wonderful and encouraging comments to this post. It means a lot to me to hear them and I’m glad that sharing some parts of my own journey could bless others. That’s all I wanted to do with this post!

      Please pray for grace and wisdom as I discern what to write for the next post. I’ve already been thinking of ideas… God bless you all!

  8. Pingback: Blessed are the Pure in Heart: Finding Freedom from Porn Addiction — Part II - IgnitumToday : IgnitumToday

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit