prayer to St Raphael

If you are praying for a spouse and you want help in discerning wisely, pray the “Prayer to St Raphael for the Wise Choice of a Marriage Partner. “

Sometimes we choose the wrong spouse out of desperation. In women, that biological clocks starts ticking, which can frighten you into making a hasty decision.

Both men and women experience pressure from our parents, which can cause us to look frantically for spouses without remembering to pray.

Marriage is not only about the prestige of being able to say you are now a husband or wife. Marriage is about daily sacrifice that comes about as we try live holy lives and help our spouses get to heaven.

This is why it is vitally important to choose the right spouse.

If you choose the wrong spouse, you might be setting yourself up for a lifetime of suffering. “Suffering is good,” you say? Although resigning ourselves to God’s will by accepting the suffering he sends can help us grow in sanctity, there is a difference between accepting God’s mortifications and creating our own mortifications through bad decisions.

Let God give you the suffering that will be beneficial to you instead of making hasty decisions that are not good for you.

When Should You Pray the Prayer to St Raphael for the Wise Choice of a Marriage Partner?

How wonderful it is that we have such a great Catholic faith that gives us such great intercessors such as St Raphael!

You can pray this prayer as soon as you’ve discerned marriage. After all, it’s your future that you’re praying for. The prayer says: “In all confidence I open my heart to thee, to beg thy guidance and assistance in the important task of planning my future.”

You can also pray this prayer when you are in the friendship stage and discerning courtship. This is what we did. We wanted to be sure that we were not just making the decision to court because of feelings or only because of our strong desire to marry. We needed St Raphael’s help in discerning.

It worked.

So, if you have a strong desire to marry, do not forget to ask for St Raphael’s intercession.


O Glorious St. Raphael, Patron and Lover of the Young, I call upon thee  and plead with thee for thy help. In all confidence I open my heart to thee, to beg thy guidance and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Obtain for me through thy intercession the light of God’s grace, so that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. O Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand to find each other. May all our movements be guided by thy light and transfigured by thy joy. As thou didst lead the young Tobias to Sara and opened up for him a new life of happiness with her in holy marriage, lead me to such a one whom in thine angelic wisdom thou dost judge best suited to be united with me in marriage.

St. Raphael, loving patron of those seeking a marriage partner, help me in this supreme decision of my life. Find for me as a helpmate in life that person whose character will reflect the traits of Jesus and Mary. May he(she) be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with chaste and unselfish love, we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please God to entrust to our care.

St. Raphael, Angel of chaste courtship, bless our friendship and our love, that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely that our future home may ever be most like the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Offer thy prayers to God for both of us and obtain the blessing of God upon our marriage, as thou wert the herald of blessing for the marriage of Tobias and Sara.

St. Raphael, friend of the young, be thou my friend, for I shall always be thine. I desire to ever invoke thee in my needs. To thy special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future wife (husband). Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life and attain eternal joy in the next. 


6 Ways to Banish Your Unchaste Thoughts

unchaste thoughts

What Are Unchaste Thoughts?

In a nutshell, unchaste thoughts are sexually arousing or impure, sinful thoughts. They come in three  flavors.

  • Involuntary.  The unchaste thought enters your mind and you immediately do your best to banish it from your mind.
  • Involuntary that becomes voluntary: The unchaste thought enters your mind and you linger on it and take pleasure in thinking about it.
  • Voluntary: You set aside a time to think about the particular unchaste thought/activity.  An example would be someone who can’t wait to leave work so that that he could lay in bed, thinking more about something impure he’d like to do.

“If the mind takes pleasure in unlawful thoughts, which it ought to banish at their first appearance, it evidently commits a sin, and this even when it does not propose to itself to execute what it thought.”

~ St Augustine

Moral theology says that we do not sin if an impure thought enters our minds.

But if once you know that what you think of is unchaste and sinful, and nevertheless entertain it with pleasure without fighting against it and trying to banish it from your mind, you commit a mortal sin, because the pleasure in the unchaste thought is entirely voluntary. It is not necessary that you take pleasure in the unchaste object for any length of time; for, to entertain this voluntary pleasure only for a moment, is a mortal sin. That impure thoughts, in which we take voluntary pleasure, are grievous sins, St. Augustine teaches in these words: “If the mind takes pleasure in unlawful thoughts, which it ought to banish at their first appearance, it evidently commits a sin, and this even when it does not propose to itself to execute what it thought.”

Rev. John Evangelist Zohlner, The Pulpit Orator: Low Sunday through the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost Vol. 3 (1884)

When you’re lonely, it is easy to fall into a fantasy life, to look forward to getting home so you can relish those thoughts of how you want your life to be.

If you’re not careful, you can fall into all sorts of sin like masturbation and porn.

How to  Banish Unchaste Thoughts

Here are some ways to banish unchaste thoughts:

Firmly Intend to Not Linger On Unchaste Thoughts

“Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” ~Daniel 1:8.

All good actions require an act of the will. 

Will with all your heart that you will not fall into sin.

By resolving not to sin, you are sending a signal to Satan to stay away. At the same time, you are signaling to your brain over and over that these thoughts are not pleasurable for you, and in time, you will automatically dismiss those thoughts as they arise.

Recognize That You Can’t Do It Alone

The Act of Contrition ends with the following: “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.”

If you truly want to banish a sinful habit, cry out to God and plead with Him to help  you.   He will help you.

“Holy Purity is granted by God when it is asked for with humility.”

St. Josemaria Escriva

Attend Daily Mass & Adoration to Banish Unchaste Thoughts

“One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve the soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise again. It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine Sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away through an excess of fear and scrupulosity.”

–St. Ignatius of Loyola

If you are able, attend daily Mass and receive the Eucharist. 

The Eucharist feeds, us and sustains us. 

Offer up your struggles  with chastity and unchaste thoughts to the One who can free you from all vice.

Ask for Our Lady to Intercede for You

“More souls go to hell because of the sin of the flesh than for any other reason.”

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady is our mother and she shows us how to live lives free of impurity. She desires to show us how to please her son.

Specifically, cultivate a devotion to the Rosary.

Many have broken patterns of sin by praying the Rosary every night.

Avoid Anything That Might Create an Occasion of Sin for You

“Jesse thought he was immune to movies with explicit, sexual content. “Most decent movies, have some sort of sexual content,” he rationalized. I can focus on the main theme of the movie and not focus at all on the sexual content.”

This is what he thought until he started to struggle.

At night time when everyone else was asleep, his mind drifted to what he had seen earlier and he began to fantasize about engaging in those same acts.

We are not as immune as we might think.

If you find that social media imagery that enters your feed is an occasion of sin, limit your screen time.

If you find yourself reading websites that contain sexual imagery and content, even if it is not porn, consider using an internet filter like Covenant Eyes.

Read the Lives of the Saints

The Saints lived by example and you can’t read the lives of the saints without having the desire to be saintlier.  Check out some recommended books in the resource section below.

In a world where sexual intimacy is the norm even while dating, it can be incredibly hard to not think about and desire to have sex, as a single person.   Even though it can be hard, a chaste mind totally achievable.   This year,  why not crucify your unchaste thoughts on the cross?

Resources To Strengthen Your Resolve

Chaste Courtship Articles



Lives of the Saints


This content was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020.

Showing Affection in a Chaste Courtship: How Far is Too Far?

How far is too far You’re spending some time at the park with your boyfriend or girlfriend,  and judging by the googly eyes you’re giving each other,  you are both feeling overwhelmed with romantic love and passion,  and want to show it. But how far is too far?

Before you know it you’re embracing, and since you’re good Catholic kids, you’re pacing yourself to make sure you don’t go too far. 

After all, you have your boundaries.   You’ve discussed them and you both agreed to do certain things and not others. 

However, as the minutes tick by, somewhere at the edge of your brain, is a little voice that is telling you that maybe you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.

The question  of “how far is too far”,  is one that is both easy and complex at the same time.

Obviously, if you avoid all signs of physical affection, along with improper speech, you’re in the clear.

But life is not always like that.

Sometimes you want to show affection to the person you are in a courting relationship with.

How far is too far?

how far is too far

Every couple is different and what works for some might not work  for others. Boundaries defined by couples might differ. So “how far is too far” may be different for different couples, within reason. 

For example, my position when it comes to open-mouth kissing is to avoid it altogether.

Let’s look at some  questions you can ask yourself to make that determinatioon.  

Is Your Intention Arousal or Affection?

how far is too far

Arousal and affection, can get a little muddled, can’t it?

Even a closed-mouth kiss can be arousing, depending on the intention.
Some feelings of desire are inevitable when a man and a woman who like each other spend time alone (don’t spend too much time alone).

How do you know if you’re getting near the danger zone?

Are you experiencing physical signs of arousal?

Do you get a thrill  after going a little further each time? That should clue you that the reason you’re showing affection is either to entice or become aroused yourself. 

Be honest with yourself and identify  your intention. 

Are you starting to fantasize about being married so you can go all the way?

Of course, it is natural for us to desire our future spouses and to daydream somewhat about being one flesh.   However, you should try not to linger  on those thoughts, because they have a way of popping up in when you’re spending time with your beau or gal.

We can’t help the thoughts that enter our minds, but if you start fantasizing about sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend, while expressing affection, you’re already in the danger zone.

By the way, this is the way the devil tricks us in to thinking we’re doing something proper by fantasizing about sex after marriage, when all that’s happening is that we’re getting more and more sex-focused, which can lead to either devaluing the relationship or lowering our guard. 

Do  You Sometimes Fear That You Might Be Going Too Far?

Once you begin to fear going too far, that means your inner radar, aka your conscience,  is warning you and it’s time to take a step back.

You wouldn’t feel that way if both your body, mind and soul weren’t picking up danger signals.

If we would listen to our conscience rather than overide it, we would avoid quite a bit of trouble.

I hope these guidelines were helpful. 

How did you know in the past when you were going too far?

Purity Resources

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Divorced Without an Annulment? Why Do You Have An Online Dating Profile?

If you are divorced without an annulment, you have no business having an online dating profile.


How “Bob”  Allowed the Devil to Deceive Him

A client of mine, let’s call him “Bob”, before he knew better,  committed a grave sin.

Even though he was divorced, and did not yet have an annulment,  he began to dabble in online dating.

Bob created a dating profile and thought to himself,  “I’ll just find some  friends who have something in common with me and we can hang out”.

He did make some “friends”.

How long do you think those friendships stayed in the realm of friendship?

Not very long.

You see, if you’re lonely and you start meeting attractive members of the opposite sex, it won’t be long  until conversation turns to  hugging,  smooching, and other things  you shouldn’t be doing.

I tell you, the devil can really play with our minds.

You want excuses, he’ll give them to you.

The excuse was that since he was feeling lonely,  it would be better to have some  sort of platonic relationship with the opposite sex, than to fall into sins of impurity, like masturbation.

Since he had no intentions of having sexual intercourse with the ladies, he figured that doing a little petting, was better than masturbating at home.

Like, I said,  the devil  can really play with  your mind.

How many of you have had similar thoughts?

Dabbling in online dating without  an annulment is playing with fire – hellfire.

Remember, if you do not have an annulment,   you are still married and even if you don’t actually have sex with your online dates, you are still being unfaithful  to your marriage.

Even if you are 98% sure you will get an annulment because your priest said so, you are still committing adultery.

What Do You Do When a Charming Man or Woman Contacts You Online

Ask them for their marital status.

What you do after that depends on their answer:

Scenario 1
You: Are you single?
She/him: Annuled
You:  Okay.  So, how are you?

Scenario 2:
You: Are you single?
She/Him:   Divorced
You:  Do  you have an annulment?
She/Him: Yes. 
You: Okay.  So how are you?

Scenario 3:
You: Are you single?
She/Him:   Divorced
You:  Do  you have an annulment?
She/Him: No.
You:  Have a nice life.  Goodbye.

How Do You Stay Chaste When You’re Lonely & Struggling With Temptation

So how do you stay chaste when you’re lonely?

Pray my friends.   Pray very hard.

Immerse yourself in prayers that are there specifically for purity.

Attend daily Mass if possible.

Get thee a cord of St  Thomas Aquinas.

Do what you have to do to remain in a state of grace.

May God give you strength.


Is My Courtship Chaste? Definition of Chastity In Courtship

chastity definition

Chastity Definition

A confused reader sent me this question:

My girlfriends and I don’t see eye-to-eye on the definition of chastity within courtship.   Some think French-kissing is chaste. Some think petting is chaste unless you go too far. Can you give us the official  chastity definition?

Dear Barbara,

Great question!

For the purposes of this site, it is fair to have a general chastity definition so that we’re on the same page. 

We can’t discuss a thing unless we have the definition off the thing, right?

Chastity is relevant for both the single life and the married life.  

However, we shall look at it under the lens of courtship. 

First let’s take a look at the definition of a chaste courtship.

What is a Chaste Courtship?

A chaste courtship is one in which the two parties in the relationship do not engage in any activity that is, or has the potential to be, sexually stimulating.

Increasingly, many singles are finding that chastity is the way to go.

Sex can be so confusing, especially for women.

Think of some off the married couples you know who have such horrific marriages, that you wonder why they even got married?

The reason some of them got married is because they became enamored with the idea that they were meant to be together solely because the sex was good.

Unfortunately, sex cannot keep a relationship together and premarital sex just confuses things.

So now let’s take a look at what chastity is not.

If your relationship has elements of any of the below, you’re obviously not involved in a chaste courtship.

Offenses Against Chastity

The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists these offenses against chastity:

Lustdisordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.

Masturbation:  the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure.

Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman.

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties.

Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. 

Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity.

Many are able to avoid these obvious offenses against chastity.   The tricky part is maneuvering around the subtleties.

French Kissing

French kissing is a passionate kiss that involves the tongue. courtship definition

Make no mistake: The purpose of French kissing is to arouse the passions and turn the other person on.

Therefore, French kissing has no place in a chaste couple’s courtship.

If you think you’re only using French kissing to show affection, you are fooling yourself.

Why spend all your time resisting temptation when you can spend time properly discerning if this is the person you are meant to spend your life with?

And Now, the Official Chastity Definition

Chastity in courtship is the state or practice of avoiding premarital sex and any behavior or activity that can compromise the purity of your relationship.

So, if you want to know if your relationship is chaste, ask yourself if you’re compromising the purity of your relationship in any way.

How’s that for a chastity definition?

Share your thoughts below!