Friday, July 21, 2006

Sex: A Beautiful Gift from God

One of the most beautiful gifts God has given us is our sexuality. He has given us this great gift for two main reasons: life and love. From the very beginning, we see how this is lived out specifically. 1) Life - "Be fertile and multiply" (Gen 1:28); 2) Love - "that is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two become one body" (Gen 2:24). We understand, then, that God has given us sex for procreation and union between husband and wife.

This is a HUGE responsibility that God has given us! He calls husband and wives to be open to continuing His act of creation through the sexual act; He calls them to "pro-creation". Every new baby continues God's creation through the parents. Also, He calls them to unite their total and complete love for one another in the conjugal act. In this act, they give themselves totally to one another...their bodies and souls. This is the most complete way that they mirror the love between Christ and the Church (see Ephesians 5:21-33).

We can live great holiness through our bodies, then, if we treat the gift of sex as God has intended. However, we can commit great evil if we misuse the gift, and don't approach sex as God intends. ANY SEXUAL ACT OUTSIDE OF PROCREATION AND THE UNION BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE IS SINFUL. Christ himself teaches that fornication is among the most serious sins (see Mk 7:21). St Paul writes that those who commit sexual sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God (see 1 Cor 6:9-10). The Church consistently reminds us to 'do good and avoid evil' through our bodies.

One Catholic author and speaker, Christopher West, argues that the Church's "strict" teachings on sexual morality are signs that She sees sex as a sacred gift. "If the Church's teaching regarding what we should and shouldn't do with our bodies here on Earth is 'strict', this is not because the Church devalues the body, but because she values it so highly. The typical sentiment goes like this: if the Church says you can't do this and you can't do that - everything it seems that people want to do - then the Church must think sex is bad.

Hold on a minute. 'Handle with care' - or even 'handle with extreme care' - in no way means 'this is bad'. What are those things in life that we handle with the most care? Are they not precisely those things that have the most inherent value?

There's a parallel here with the Eucharist. The Church has many 'strict' teachings about who can and cannot receive the Eucharist, how it's to be received, and with what spiritual dispositions. It would be absurd to conclude that the Church is therefore 'down with the Eucharist'. It's no less absurd to conclude that the Church is down on sex. No, both the Eucharist and the union of man and woman are sacred mysteries of the highest value".


At 4:12 PM, Blogger Ty Roach said...

Awesome info Fr. Also, Christopher West has a great CD pack on JPII's Theology of the Body. I've listened to 5 of 10 CDs thus far and find it to be awesome. He also draws wonderful correlations between sex and the Eucharist (as you have done).

I highly recommend these CDs! They make for a fantastic discussion, especially for married couples.


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