sex & sexuality: a gift

Under How Many Suns

Under how many suns have we embraced
In what long fields of flowers and streets of stone
In the strong light of summer, interlaced
And made, like God, a darkness of our own.

Oh when the bitter wind of longing blows,
And all between us seems an aching space
Think that we hold each other close, so close;
We cannot even see each other’s face.

— Gilbert Keith Chesterton

…A poem by the intelligent, witty, and… yes, romantic… G.K. Chesterton.

The first stanza mentions a “darkness of our own,” and I initially asked myself, “What ‘darkness’ does God make? That’s impossible: He’s all light!” I then realized that darkness here does not refer to evil. Rather, “darkness” here is one not only “made” (as Chesterton describes) but begotten: the MYSTERY of the most INTENSE union of three Divine persons in one God!

Yes, the Trinity is the deepest intimacy that will EVER exist: an eternal exchange of love between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And the Trinitarian mystery of God is “dark” to our unenlightened human mind on this side of Eden.

Similar to the Trinity, my dear fiancé and I have also created a “darkness of our own,” an intimate world such as that to which Chesterton alludes. We, too, are “close, so close,” that our begotten “darkness” is hidden to everyone else, just as the Trinity is to mankind.

The inside jokes. The little quirks we take joy about in one another. Our couple habits, rituals, and traditions. Our shared past-times and interests, the things that only we know about one another. The rhythm of that ebb and flow of our shared days, one after another, marked out by our prayer-life…!

And as a long-distance couple, O, have we known that “bitter wind of longing” and that “aching space” mentioned in the second stanza! Moreover, that “aching space” can also refer to our joint striving towards chastity. 

To be honest, there are indeed moments when we desire to give all of ourselves to one another, body and heart, in the so-called ‘marital embrace’ (a nice euphemism for sex). The relationship’s MYSTERY can just feel so INTENSE sometimes; the other person’s personal mystery can feel so intense, too, that you just want to be one united, body and soul. 

As Blessed Pope John Paul II spoke of in the “Theology of the Body,” God has designed the human body and the human heart in such a way that when a man and a woman are in love, they strongly desire, to the core, to gives themselves to one another in totality. Yet a ‘total’ exchange of self to the other can only happen in the context of marriage, due to the unique design of sacramental marriage!

Human sex and sexuality is indeed a gift from God. God wills our good by giving it to us, and it is our privilege and duty to offer it back to Him via living chaste lives as according to our state in life. For instance, chastity looks different if you are dating/engaged vs married.

When my fiancé and I are affronted by that “aching space” Chesterton mentions, we try our best to remember, in joy, that saying a firm “No” to pre-marital physical desires is actually exclaiming a resounding “Yes!” to one another and to God.  

By trying to live chastely, it is our prayer that we are saying “I love you” as the Italians say it: “Ti voglio bene!”—literally, “I will your good.”

basstreble

engaged

[NOTE] Anyone reading this who may think, “Well, it’s too late for me,” remember: Satan lives in the past and in the future, but JESUS lives in the Present Moment, and His love and His mercy extends to us ALL. JESUS wants you to heal, to be integrated and whole!

delight in those you love!

….You shall be called My Delight Is in Her,and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:3-5

Relationships always go two ways! (By definition.) When we think about our relationship with God, this fact remains. We were made to love God, but we were also made to be loved by God. When we go to Eucharistic Adoration to adore our LORD, do we forget that Our LORD adores us more than we will ever adore Him?!

Earthly married love reflects the love between Christ and His bride, the Church. Just as Christ delights in His bride, Saint Joseph must have gazed at Mother Mary in complete delight!

Saint Joseph must have been captivated by Mother Mary’s mystery. And since every relationship is a two-way street, Mother Mary must have been captivated by Saint Joseph’s mystery.

DELIGHT: enjoying another person’s God-given, priceless, unrepeatable personhood.

This is what our marriages need. Delight!

This is what our families need. Delight!

This is what our courtships need. This is what our friendships need. This is what our relationships with strangers need. This is what every human heart needs.  Delight!

 How often do married couples take the time to still delight in one another’s mystery? It seems that spouses eventually lose respect for one another; they lose that sense of wonder with which they once fell in love.

How often do parents take the time to delight in their children’s mystery? It seems that parents eventually just want to raise their kids right; they lose that sense of wonder with which they once gazed upon their newborn baby.

Delight in those you love! Put away the frustrations, look past the flaws, and sacrifice your pride. Marriage and family can bring about grated nerves or it can bring about joy and peace even in hard times.

Love is a decision. The choice is yours.

Most Blessed Solemnity of Saint Joseph!

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Ironic that this was my bookmark while reading about substance abuse and dependence. Knowing that Your LORD delights in you: now that can heal!

On Deciding to Love

The culture I have grown up in has told me that love is a feeling. It just happens. You fall into it. Then you drop out of it. Love is a state of being. A noun.

But Jesus Christ, in His living and dying for me, teaches me that love is a decision. And more importantly, love is a verb. Love is something that you do.

According to Jesus, love is not something that you receive, fall into, or drop out of — all of which are out of your control. Love is something that you are always capable of freely doing.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #1766 defines love as a verb as well:

To love is to will the good of another.” All other affections have their source in this first movement of the human heart toward the good. Only the good can be loved. Passions “are evil if love is evil and good if it is good.

The Catholic Church has also taught me that love is Someone. It is Jesus Christ, He who lived and died for me! One of my favorite chapters in Scripture, 1 John 4:7-8, reads:

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

The culture that I live in has taught me to live for my own success: for my achievements and a prestigious career.

But my achievements and a prestigious career can only take me so far. How much recognition, wealth, and power will it take till I am finally satisfied, if those are the only things I live for?

The culture that I live in has taught me to make a significant other or a spouse, or even my parents or children, etc., the very center of my world and the core of my being.

But if I make those that I love the center of my world, how long will it be before I go crazy from realizing just how badly they can fail, because humans always fail– even the best of us? At times, I will fail those that I love quite miserably as well.

These very reasons are why my hope lies not in the culture of death before me but in the culture of LIFE. My hope lies in Jesus Christ, Love Himself! In Him and in His promise, I will never find disappointment, depression, or death, but only fulfillment, joy, and LIFE. Only He can fill my very center; only He can fill my core.

As a Catholic young adult in a world that increasingly shuns the Divine, I am excited and invigorated and ready! The Black Eyed Peas in their smash hit ask: “Where is the Love?” I want to shout it out to my generation: “Love is right here, in the Holy Eucharist! Jesus Christ is Love.”