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Pentecost Sunday and the Power to Overcome Porn

Last Updated: May 21, 2021

Amanda Zurface
Amanda Zurface

Amanda Zurface holds a license and MA in Canon Law and a BA in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. She has served in various roles within the Catholic Church, both in the United States and internationally. She is the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture and Transformed by Beauty, and works to equip Catholics with Covenant Eyes educational resources. She resides in Lexington, Ohio, where she also manages her own website that provides online spiritual direction and canon law consultation.

Updated May 2021. 

We have a great time of celebration this weekend, and it has everything to do with the Holy Spirit. Yes, Pentecost is finally here!

On Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, the culmination of the Easter season and the birthday of the Church. We remember everything Jesus accomplished through His life, passion, death and resurrection. We acknowledge all we’ve received because of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Sprit, the love of the Trinity dwells in us. It is truly a time to celebrate and be joyful!

The Ten Commandments and Pentecost

You may recall the story of Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20), when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments–the core of the moral teachings for Christianity. If you think about it, there are notable similarities to the story of Pentecost (Acts 2),

When God gave us the Ten Commandments, the law, He called us to a higher standard of living and showed us what we should and should not do. But when He gave us the Holy Spirit, a “new law,” He enabled us to be faithful to the commandments and even feel sad when we don’t keep them.

Becoming People of Courage

When we receive Christ’s Spirit in us, it enables us to do what we could never do on our own. Saint Thomas Aquinas says it well:

With the Holy Spirit within us, it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by things of the world to become entirely otherworldly in outlook, and for cowards to become people of great courage.

We see this in the lives of the Apostles, especially within the drama of the Holy Week. The Apostles run from persecution, and they deny being followers of our Lord. Peter denied Jesus three times. Peter showed himself to be very cowardly! However, the story of Pentecost shows Peter to be a very different man. After he receives the Holy Spirit, he takes charge and speaks with authority while giving his first sermon. Around 3,000 people accepted his message and were baptized. This is how the Holy Spirit changes lives.

The Holy Spirit transforms us to be faithful witnesses and followers of Christ.

When we similarly fall to sin, like viewing pornography, it keeps us from Jesus. Porn prevents us from falling more deeply in love with Jesus. It keeps us from who we are called to be and affects all aspects of our lives. It hurts our loved ones and communities. It erodes love and harms the unity of the Church, everything Pentecost is about and everything the Advocate wants to provide for us.

Again, porn keeps us from Jesus. But who brings us to Jesus? The Holy Spirit.

Change Happens Through the Holy Spirit

When we fall to sin, we need to remember to call upon the Holy Spirit to transform our hard hearts so we can live more and more like Christ. But, we can’t stop there. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts too–wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord–that need to be acted upon and used. If we struggle with pornography, or know of someone who does, these gifts of the Holy Spirit can help us overcome sin.

It is possible to change, and change happens through the Holy Spirit. Remember, God loves us even when we sin. To think otherwise is to believe a lie. Even when you face temptation and give in to sin, God loves you so much. You are His son or daughter. You are unique, unrepeatable and have so much dignity. He made you that way!

Sin is difficult to overcome, isn’t it? But remember, it’s not impossible to overcome. It’s challenging, and it won’t come easily, especially if it’s a sin that you’ve struggled with over time.

A Challenge for Pentecost Sunday

You are made for freedom, and you can have it through God and the gifts provided through the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit isn’t law, but the gift of love and communion with God, which confounds the devil. The devil doesn’t know how to love, nor is he capable of being in communion with God. In love and through communion, we imitate Jesus–which is what the Christian life calls us to. To be able to imitate Jesus and to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth is a commission that goes beyond human resources. We can do nothing apart from the Holy Spirit.

Remember this Sunday, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in tongues of fire at Pentecost. With hearts full of love and minds made to understand, they were able to bring Jesus to the world.

The Holy Spirit enables us to do what were not capable to do on our own. Remember, the Lord is calling you to be His witness, like the Apostles, not by your own power, but with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Steps to Take This Pentecost

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart and revive the gifts that God has given you as a unique person! Let the Novena for Purity guide your prayers as you seek to open yourself more and more to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Check out how you can recover from casual pornography usage or an addiction. The Covenant Eyes e-book Your Brain on Porn explains how porn affects our bodies and how to step into freedom. Also Kelsey Skoch shares six steps to experience freedom as a woman trapped by porn.
  3. Protect the young people in your life from pornography. Help them to have happy and holy lives open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit! There’s the 7-day Safe Digital Family Challenge for parents. It’s filled with great tips on how to create safer digital environments for yourself and others.