L U S T
Lust is the desire to benefit self at the expense of other, because lust desires to get. Love desires to benefit others at the expense of self, because love desires to give. -Dr Edwin Louis Cole
Strange enough, but this spiritual appetite and attachment comes in the midst of our spiritual exercises and practices. Even when we are deep in prayer or engaged in the sacrament or in confession.
The first cause as to potentially why this would be so is due to the realm of pleasure that accompanies the satisfaction of spiritual accomplishment. When the soul receives joy and comfort in acts of devotional love likewise the realm of our senses is also elated and can also be seduced by gratification.
The second cause is the works of the evil one as he seeks to stir up motions of impurity in our nature and if the soul gives heed to any of these , they cause it great harm. The results can vary from backing away or abandoning an inner devotional life because of fear of attack during these times, which is true, since the devil attacks them more than at other times. He also succeeds in portraying to them very vividly things that are most foul and impure, and at times are very closely related to certain spiritual things and persons that are of profit and prophet to their souls. In The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen, he refers to these episodes especially during times of solitude and silence as “monkeys in a banana tree.” What I would call as ghastly hauntings of mind and imagination and emotion.
The third source of these impure plagues like the second come through no fault of their own. Certain souls are so tender and frail in nature that when they experience spiritual graces, gifts and consolations that the spirit of luxury/lust is upon them immediately, inebriating and delighting the sensual nature in such a manner that it is as if they were plunged into the enjoyment and pleasure of this sin.
This can often take place among those who whether speaking, preaching, performing spiritual actions that a certain vigor and bravado is present and they display a certain kind of vain gratification…this is accompanied as a rule by spiritual complacency in the will.
If love arises from the vice of sensuality, it will at once be observed that the soul’s love of God is becoming colder and a certain remorse of conscience. Only a truly humble and fervent love of, for and from God can withstand and overcome lust’s wintry bite on our soul’s truest affections.
When our souls enter this dark night, it brings these kinds of love under control. In the beginning of this dark battle both are lost sight of, which is a frightening reality.
May you find your place in God’s love as neither a euphoric exhilaration nor a distant and disinterested lover who only occupies space under the same roof. May you find harmony, presence, light, strength, wonder, freedom and courage to be at rest and peace in a relational love that will not ever let you go or let you down.