"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery'. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." -Mt 5:27-28
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The Holy Fathers have referred to adulterous passion as death. When the adulterer is saved from an adulterous passion it is as though he resurrected from the dead. For those who live in the world the passion of adultery is inflamed principally by seeing and for those who live a life of asceticism in the wilderness that passion is inflamed by thoughts and by imagination.
Saint Sarah, a great female ascetic, was tortured by the insane passion of adultery for thirty years. She always defeated it by prayer and drove it away from her. [She would only say:]
God, give me strength
At one time, the foul insanity of adultery came to her in bodily form and said to her: "Sarah, you have defeated me!" Sarah humbly answered: "I have not defeated you but the Lord Christ has defeated you." From that time on, the thought of adultery left her forever.
When Saint Pimen was asked how can a man struggle against the adulterous insanity, he replied: "If man surpresses his stomach and tongue then he will be able to rule over himself."
St. Anthony said that there exists three kinds of movements in the body: "First, the natural movement, second, unrestrained in food, and third, from the demons."
Again, others have said that the vice of adultery is strengthened by anger and pride. However, all agree that along with man's sobriety and effort the help of God is necessary in order that this repulsive passion be uprooted completely. And that it is possible for man to preserve himself in purity, witness, among many others, St. Moses of Urgin, who lived fifty years in the world and ten years in the monastery, altogether a total of sixty years in completely virginal purity.