February 7 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

9b-SR-ROSEANN-REDDY

It is not sex that makes us truly happy and fulfilled, it is love

Sr Roseann Reddy

Aw, “Love is in the air, everywhere I look around, love is in the air, every sight and every sound…” I do love a wee nostalgia trip, back to the days of the Top 40 and the Sunday afternoon charts. If you are of my generation, I will bet you were singing the opening few lines of this great love song from 1977, a long time ago.

Anyway, back to love in this Valentine month of February, when we are surrounded by all things red and heart shaped, when enormous soft toys of every possible description declare their undying love for us.  This is the month when eating out becomes twice as expensive and eating alone can be quite an ordeal; when suddenly all sorts of food are heart shaped and, overnight, are embellished with new ‘for-two’ titles:  sensuous salmon starter, lovers’ lasagne, passion pudding, and so on.  Spring is on its way and, as well as all the love surrounding us, new life is everywhere. Mother Nature is beginning to show her true colours. Spring bulbs are bravely beginning to poke their little heads through the cold compacted earth and, despite the still harsh weather, new life is decidedly popping up everywhere.

The mind of God who created us and this wonderful world of ours (cue for another song) certainly has style. He knows what He’s up to.  This new awakening every spring is no random, chaotic event. Rather, it is a beautiful symphony of life, and where it works best are these places where we follow the Maker’s instructions, when we recognise and follow the plan of the Master. And so it is with love and God’s plan for love and life.

There has been much talk recently about how the Church must and will change Her mind and Her teaching in the area of human sexuality and morality. I, for one, hope, pray and believe that She will not, because She cannot. The Church’s teachings in this area are not some silly arbitrary rules made up by a bunch of celibate old men in Rome with nothing better to do. They are the teachings of Jesus Christ Himself and they are an intelligent, coherent and beautiful part of the plan of God which make sense at every level, and in my experience there are a growing number of young people who want to embrace these teachings, who want to try to live their live to the full, who really do love God and His Church and want to follow Him with all their hearts, minds and bodies.

For me, this is part of the real beauty and strength of Church teaching, that it speaks to, and demands of, the whole person.  To even attempt to live the Church’s moral teaching you need to use your mind, you need to know what the teachings are and how they relate to you in your own state of life.

You need to use your heart—to love God, yourself and your fellow man; and true love is hard, it means sacrifice and selflessness. It means all sorts of difficult things you’re never going to find in the shops for Valentine’s Day.  It takes courage, strength and commitment to stand up for what you believe in. True love means really embracing the Cross: it can be lonely, frustrating and irritating to be mocked and misunderstood.

And you need to use your body, your physical self. You have to learn how to say no but also, sometimes, to say yes.

The Church’s teachings are often seen as a big list of no, no and more no, but that is not what it is all about. There is a huge difference between someone who obeys the Church’s moral teachings out of fear, never really looking beyond a list of rules, and someone who embraces them and lives them out of conviction, understanding and love. It is a radical difference in attitude which in turn, I believe, affects our ability to live out those teachings.

Let me be absolutely clear what these moral/sexual teachings are, and what lies at the heart of them.

We are created in the image and likeness of God, to know, love and serve Him in this world and to be forever happy with Him in the next.  God has a plan for all of us and as part of His plan He created us male and female, compatible with each other and capable of working in co-operation with Him to create new human life. The sexual act willed by God is designed to be both open to love and to new life: It is made for bonding and babies, for union and procreation.  It is the gift and the vision that is married life and family, which despite all its difficulties and challenges is still the best place to conceive and nurture children, to build a secure and stable future.

Therefore, every sexual act which does not contain these two elements of committed married love and openness to new life is not part of the plan of God and no amount of wishing it to be can make it so.

Love itself is not enough. I am not denying that there are many people in many situations outwith these perimeters, where love and care for the other is present, but unless at the heart of every relationship there is an acknowledgement that God is the supreme source and force of our life, our love and our actions, there is a wound in us which, at some level, affects our relationship with God and with each other.

So any sexual act outside marriage and not open to life is wrong. Pornography, masturbation same-sex activity (not attraction, which is a different thing altogether), sexual exploitation at any level, prostitution, abuse, rape (along with the often more subtle pressure that people are put under to engage in sex) and the use of artificial contraception are wrong.

Is this an impossible teaching to live? No. It may be difficult sometimes, but it is not impossible—in fact, many people live without sex and live very happily. It is not sex that makes us happy and fulfilled, it is love. Never in the history of mankind has a death certificate declared, ‘Cause of death: lack of sex.’ It just doesn’t happen.

 

— http://gospeloflifesisters.wordpress.com

 

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