This is agony. The stress, the anxiety are piling on. What a sweet salve, an escape, it would be to give in.
And my mind asks, why am I doing this to myself? Who would it really hurt? Who would ever know? –Is this the voice of the Tempter?
I have lost my drive to write this post, but I will force myself to continue — to talk through the things I don’t want to think about; to remind myself before I forget. I am doing this because I want to be free; because I don’t want to be a slave to sin, to flesh, to lust, to concupiscence. I am doing this because I love my Lord and want to obey; because my sin offends him. I am doing this because I long to be an honorable man with integrity, who is on the inside what he purports to be on the outside, who hides nothing in the dark.
I am doing this because my sin hurts me; because it stunts my growth spiritually and holds me back from being the kind of man I want to be. I am doing this because I have a vocation, a calling, and I will never find it or fulfill it as long as these chains bind me. Somewhere out there, there is a lady whom I am called to marry; a family I am called to father. Or there is a parish I am called to pastor, a people I am called to lift up to God. Or there is some other mission which I cannot yet discern.
What now seems like it would feel good and be a relief would really only numb my pain, put me to sleep, push my vocation back down into oblivion. I have to stand strong, by God’s grace. I have to keep standing through these forty days, and when I get to the end, I have to keep standing still longer. I cannot give in to doubt or temptation or lies: I know that I have the power, by grace, to do this.