Fr. Thomas G. Morrow: The Freedom Found in Overcoming Temptations

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By Fr. Thomas G. Morrow, Catholic Exchange, Feb. 5, 2021

This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Morrow’s Overcoming Sinful Thoughts: How to Realign Your Thinking and Defeat Harmful Ideas.

“I Can’t Help Acting on My Temptations, So I’m Not to Blame”

Long before I entered the seminary, I was talking to a young woman and asked about her prayer life. She told me, “I have to overcome some of my sins before I go to God in prayer.” I told her she had it backwards. We go to God in prayer even while sinners, to seek the strength to overcome our sins.

To deny that we can overcome our temptations is to deny our freedom. But we all have a certain amount of freedom. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches,

“As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach” (no. 1732).  …