Monday, May 07, 2007

"Good news about sex" - Part I

Anon asked, “So Fr. When are you going to give a talk on Chastity to the Parish? More then just a homily that is...” Actually, I just gave a talk to our Young Adult group last weekend called, “The good news about sex”. The following is the first part of my notes:


Intro:

How can a celibate priest give a talk about sex?
Same question as, ‘How could Jesus talk about sex?’

-I and any priest re-present Christ’s teaching (God’s revelation about sex)

What did Jesus teach about sex?
- reaffirmed what was taught in the beginning, for one
- Matt 19: 5 (sex within the context of marriage)
- “in the beginning”…what does that mean?


I. Sex is beautiful

One of the first things God reveals to us is the beautiful gift of sex:

Gen 1: 28 – “Be fertile and multiply”
Gen 2: 24 – husband and wife “become one body (flesh)”

- Yahweh is speaking about marriage in Genesis, and to the first married couple
(Adam and Eve)
-it is God’s command for them to have sex so that they will become one
flesh (union) and multiply (procreate)

-if it is from God it must be good, true, beautiful, glorious, wonderful (these are all qualities of God)

- The gift of sex is meant for us to understand what love is: the love between spouses + God’s love

- (example of engaged couple)

- “Good news about sex and marriage” (West), p.20: Sex expresses marital love

- So, God has given us sex for these two reasons: union and procreation
- where is pleasure in all of this? not there

- God has made the sexual act very pleasurable so that married persons
will do it!

- so they multiply (we need sex to survive as a race)
- those things we need to survive are pleasurable: eating, drinking, sleeping, e.g.
- but need to do it in right context and with moderation
-pleasure is not to be the focus

-any reason outside of union and procreation is not what God intends for sex
-unmarried persons can’t enter into one-flesh union; haven’t promised themselves to the other
-couples not open to life can’t be fertile and multiply; artificial contraception is from man, not God
-‘for pleasure only’ is an abuse of the gift of sex; selfish; focuses on what I get, not what I give


II. Sex is holy

- first of all, what is holiness?
- not just praying or being in Church
- holiness = otherness (living for God and others)

- second, how can sex be holy?
- within the marital act

1) husband and wife imitate God the Creator

Union:
“the union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity” (CCC, #2335)... fecundity = fruitfulness

Procreation:
Continuing God’s work of creation
- they are co-creators with God!

2) husband and wife imitate the life of the Holy Trinity

- (example of married couple)

- West, pp. 19-20

- when the couple gives themselves completely to the other in the sexual
act, they are acting in love
- love = gift of self
- God is love, and He gives himself completely
- so, sex is a way to imitate God in a very deep and powerful way
- worshiping God through our bodies
- holiness through our bodies
- marital act = sacramental
- bedroom of a married couple is analogous to a Church
sanctuary just like marital love is analogous to the Eucharist
- Eucharist = union b/w God and man
- marital love = union b/w spouses

to be continued...

18 Comments:

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

It was a good talk too.

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone know that God exists yet have no faith?

I know God exists, but I just don't think I have any faith.

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one can believe that God exists and created the world but be unable to believe that God acts in our lives or that He sent his Son to save us. In fact, I think this sums up the extent of religious belief for many people.

 
At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"bedroom of a married couple is analogous to a Church
sanctuary just like marital love is analogous to the Eucharist
- Eucharist = union b/w God and man
- marital love = union b/w spouses"

So what then, if the union has been broken? How are you to ever again begin to think the act is one that is "holy" and "imitates God". What then?

 
At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Can someone know that God exists yet have no faith?

I know God exists, but I just don't think I have any faith.


Anon, There were years that this statement could have come from my lips, heck there are still days it could.

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Believe it or not, it's actually a dogma of the Faith that someone can know God exists without having faith in Him. Which shows there's a lot more to saying "We believe in one God," than knowing that a Being created the universe.

You could think of faith in God as involving two steps.

First, you have to trust that whatever God tells you is true.

Second, you have to think that God has told you some particular things.

The Church teaches that faith is a gift from God. He's the sole supplier, so anyone without faith who wants it needs to ask Him.

If you already trust God -- if you at least think that whatever God might say would be true -- then you should ask Him to tell you something that you can hear. Then you'll have something you believe because God told you, and that's what faith is.

If you don't already trust God, then I guess you should ask Him to help you learn to trust Him.

But be careful! God has a way of giving you what you ask for, not what you think you're asking for.

 
At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would someone believe that God told them something? How would God communicate with a person? Do you ever suspect that people are just imagining it, or wishing it?

 
At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God comunicates with us through the Gospels. Really listen when they are read- I'd bet you can hear what is most releveant to you in your life there.

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant more personal things because I thought that Tom, above, was saying that God says particular things to people. Take, for example, a priest saying he heard a call for a vocation, or a layperson saying that God communicated His wish that he/she pursue a particular path in life?

 
At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

God communicates with us in all sorts of different ways, including the Bible, signs in our lives (a.k.a. coincidences), other people, sometimes even sudden inspiration.

And yes, I'm sure people fool themselves into thinking God has told them something. It's particularly easy to spot when what the person says God told them contradicts what God has already told everyone through the Bible or the Church.

But I'm also pretty sure people fool themselves into thinking God hasn't told them anything when in fact He has. People expect an earthquake or a fire, when often enough God speaks in the whistling of a gentle air.

I also suspect some people would be too embarrassed to admit that they think something might be a sign from God. Okay, so that was the second red Miata I saw today, and okay, so my sister drives a red Miata, but that doesn't mean God's trying to tell me to call her in California and tell her I forgive her. That's just silly.

Maybe that is silly, but no sillier than not calling your sister to tell her you forgive her just because you don't want to believe in silly signs.

 
At 4:41 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

I believe that God does talk to each of us, but often we aren't listening. Other times we are listening to hear only what we want to hear. It's hard to be open, at least for me, when the message might not be something I was looking for- particularly when it comes to dealing with some of the more difficult issues in my life. I pray for guidance, and somtimes messages are clear, but they aren't necessarily the ones I want, and so I do what I want to do instead- and I then think maybe God had forsaken me. If you really think God isn't speaking to you, ask for some guidance through your priests. They will help you. Sometimes it takes speaking with someone else who really believes, and you GET that they truly believe, to help you also believe. It's worth the try.

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Kay said...

Anonymous 1:12 PM asked: "bedroom of a married couple is analogous to a Church
sanctuary just like marital love is analogous to the Eucharist
- Eucharist = union b/w God and man
- marital love = union b/w spouses"

So what then, if the union has been broken? How are you to ever again begin to think the act is one that is "holy" and "imitates God". What then?

You ask a challenging, yet sadly for many, necessary question. I wish I could say I had an answer for you. However, if I had to make a go of it, I would say:

First of all, you need to draw yourself as close to God as possible – making use of the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist repeatedly and often. Deepening your union with God will give you the grace, strength, patience, fortitude (um, what are all the gifts of the Holy
Spirit?) that you will need to begin to address the marital union.

Then, you need to ask God to help you to USE the grace, strength, patience, etc., that He has given you to make the effort to forgive the person(s) and/or situation(s) that have broken the holy union. There are no easy answers that I know of. Just remember that God and his covenant are trustworthy. That doesn’t make the pain of a broken union any less intense, but trust in God’s word. He will provide you with the resources you need to heal the pain, and I would hope and pray, also the union. “I would bet my life on it.”

I would suggest you read “Man and Women are from Eden” by Mary Healy. Here are a few quotes from the book for you to pray with.

“It is when their failures drive them to Christ in humble prayer that spouses can begin to experience his cross as a power at work in their lives.”

“But what of marriages where only one spouse seems to be interested in striving to live out God’s original intention? In these cases, too, Christ’s love and the powerful grace of the sacrament are available.”

“Even tiny steps on the part of one spouse are pleasing to God and will bear fruit in the long run.”

 
At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

“Even tiny steps on the part of one spouse are pleasing to God and will bear fruit in the long run.”

AMEN! Even the tiny steps require sacrificial love. Love that! I might add that life is lived out mostly in ordinary activities. Sure the wedding day is spectacular, the birth of our children, the honeymoon, but true marital love is lived 99% in the day in and day out.

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"bedroom of a married couple is analogous to a Church
sanctuary just like marital love is analogous to the Eucharist
- Eucharist = union b/w God and man
- marital love = union b/w spouses"

So what then, if the union has been broken? How are you to ever again begin to think the act is one that is "holy" and "imitates God". What then?


HUGE question. Having witnessed numerous broken unions, the human tendency seems to lose faith in marriage, possibly in God, cynicism toward marriage, bitterness. So to overcome this tremendous brokeness, it seems to me can only happen if one turns toward God for healing, forgiveness, understanding. How is this done? Not easy but God is always faithful. Even if a spouse breaks the vows, the other married person should seek to keep close to God no matter what.

 
At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

For me I know God is real. It isn't a leap of faith concerning his existance or that he has his hand in the world. I will tell a story of something in my life as to why I know without a doubt God exists and works in our lives.

When I was 18 years old, I was living with my parents and attending community college in southern virginia. My Father was not a very nice man, and he strongly objected to my practice of my faith *pre my stupid era*, one Sunday eveninig after I got home from Mass and a Church event and clean up he attacked me and threatened my life. He fired off a shot of a gun into the celing of our home then leveled the gun on me. It jammed when he tried to fire it again; this is a gun that had never once jammed in any time I had fired it while hunting or any other time I had seen it fired, not once. The only thing that I know that went through my head in thoes moments was "God.Jesus.Mary.". This was a well kept gun, there was no reason why it should have jammed at all.

That night was the end of what I call my "doubting thomas" phase. The phase where I still had moments of doubt in the existance of God. Later that night in bed, My father had left the house for work, I "heard" over and over again 'I am here'. Many may think I am nuts but that is what happened.

As to faith. Well... that one I have a hard time with at times. Because KNOWING God exists and having FAITH are two diffrent things. I guess, my "hold" on the faith thing is the Crucifixion of Christ, who but God incarnate would do that and ask the Father to forgive those crucifying him...anything more then that I can't really put into words.

I thought long and hard about sharing this, pretty much all day and didn't do so lightly.

 
At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat,
You are an incredible, special human being. God works through you as shown in this blog. Thank you for always sharing your insights, as I know that they help us all.

 
At 6:52 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

“Even tiny steps on the part of one spouse are pleasing to God and will bear fruit in the long run.”

I know Fr. meant this to apply to a spouse's efforts in marriage, but I think it's a great guide in the development of our relationships with God. We don't always have to take giant leaps in our faiths, but the small steps we take everyday, like even getting up each day in the face of adversity (getting through the things like Kat and Kay have described), trusting that you'll be provided with what you need to get through, are the tiny steps that bring us closer in our relationships with God. I like small steps- definately my comfort zone, and I think God is okay with my being comfortable from time to time. The challenges will surely come when I may have to lengthen my stride and speed my pace, but the way I live each day are the small steps that mostly bring me closer in my relationship with God. I like that thought, Fr.- it's not overwhelming.

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Kat,

Thank you for your courage and honesty when you share on this blog site. Also thank you for sharing your bountiful gift of knowledge concerning the Catholic faith. May God send you much consolation for all the you have endured in this life.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home