Part 2 : Bridging the Gap

25 11 2009

Bridging the Gap

So why is there so much pain and suffering in the world today? It all started with one simple choice: when Adam and Eve chose to go with their own plan instead of God’s plan. Their original sin, affects us all. Instead of wanting to do what’s right, we often desire to do the wrong things. This tendency to sin is called concupiscence.

Concupiscence is not something that affects only a select group of people; it affects every single one of us as members of a society that is damaged and hurting from the effects of sin. Just look at all the broken families, broken hearts, sexual abuse, addictions, infidelity and shame and regret in people’s lives. This is what despair looks like in a society that thought it found sexual liberation and freedom by using sexuality in whatever way it wanted. Consider how all this has brought us to where we are today.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the mass media grew stronger and stronger in their influence on society. You could say they became a primary teacher of young and old alike. Television and movies degenerated quickly from mere sexual suggestion to more sexuality-explicit material. As some observers have noted, we are experiencing  the ‘frog in the pot’ scenario. If you take a frog and put it into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. However, if you place the frog in room temperature water and then slowly heat the water, the frog will continue to adjust to the rising temperature and not know that it is in danger. It will stay in the ever-increasingly hot water until it finally dies. This describes very well the moral swap displayed in our modern media. We have gradually become desensitized to the increase of explicit sexual content in our media. The result of all that our country is plagued by a seriously warped understanding of marriage and the role that sex should play in relationship.

Lust is “disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure”. <CCC 2351>.  It is sexual desire apart from God’s love that selfishly seeks one’s own pleasure at the expense of another. Lust often dominates our culture. This domination can easily lead to apathy, or lack of concern, on the part of many. Apathy then leads to a lack of motivation to change. We begin to settle for less that true, good, and beautiful relationships. These are heavy words, we know. They almost sound dismal. A natural question one would ask is , “IS there any hope?” Are we all doomed to suffer broken  hearts and marry people who will commit to us only as long as it is convenient? Where is God  in all this mess?

God is with us, and there is hope, ya’ll!!! The good news is that life and sexuality were not always the way we find it now. Jesus tells us, “In the beginning, it was not so”(Matt 19:8). In fact, in the beginning, love had its way and lust didn’t even exist. To learn more about how to solve the problem of lust and sexual confusion, we must go back to the beginning to see how God created sexuality. In doing so, we will discover the true purpose of our sexuality gifts. We will see what went wrong and find the hope that will lead us back to true love and happiness.

Love Equals Communion

In Genesis 1:26-31, we learn that when God made man and woman it was “very good”. They were made in his “image and likeness”. We may hear that phrase often but let’s consider what it means: The Bible says  “God is love” (1 John 4:8) Now, when love is present, it is never in isolation. This is why a person can’t marry himself. Rather, whenever you have love, you must have a lover, a beloved, and the love between them. There must be a communion of persons, united in love. A communion of persons is created when two or more persons give themselves to one another in love. SO , in the case of God, you have the Father, the Son and the fire of love between them, which is the Holy Spirit.

As a “communion of persons”, God created humans to participate in heaven and on earth in God’s love. This means that God created us male and female precisely so that we could image His love by becoming a sincere gift to each other. Giving this sincere gift to one another creates a communion of persons, through which we share God’s love with each other.

Not meant to be Alone.

When God said that Adam and Eve were made in His image and likeness, one thing this meant was that they were designed for love. But when Adam was created, he was without Eve. But even before Eve was created, Adam knew something was missing. As a result, God said, “It  is not good that the man should be alone”. (Gen 1:18)

Since we’re made in God’s image and likeness, the Church teaches that, “ Man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere gift of self.” In order to give to someone else, one must not be alone. Someone else is there for communion. This total gift of self can be seen in the married life or in the celibate life, which is choosing to forego earthly marriage so as to devote oneself entirely to the marriage of Christ and the Church. In both cases, marriage and celibacy, we are called to make ourselves living sacrifices. In the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “Life is not worth living unless it is lived for others.”

John Paul II’s vision of the body is a key to understanding the meaning of our lives. This short quote summarizes his view of the body as a visible sign that points to things that are invisible:

The body, in fact, and it alone is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery [of God]…and thus to be a sign of it.

Although we cannot see God, our bodies reveal many amazing truths about Him, because we are made in His “image and likeness”. For example, just as a sacrament makes a spiritual reality (grace) visible, the body makes our call to love visible. This is what PJP refers to as the sacramentality of the body. Just as a sign on the side of a road points you to something in reality, our bodies point us to the meaning of life. Our bodies and their desires are very good signs of God’s existence, of His love for us, and of our call to love others!

More than Human Love

But God is not simply calling us to love one another. Our most intimate human love actually points us that we were ultimately created for: union with God (here and in heaven). It may be hard to believe that God desires an intimate relationship with you, especially if you’ve been through a lot of suffering in your life. You may not even believe that God loves you. But don’t forget that the man who gave us the ToB, PJP was no stranger to suffering and death. First his sister died, the his mother, then his brother, then his father and then many of his friends….all by time he was 20 yrs old. As a young man, he witnessed the brutality of the Nazis in WWII and was forced to take a deep look at the heart of man and the meaning of life. Through his prayer, personal suffering, and study, PJP II learned that God had not abandoned man. Rather, he saw that God has a plan hope and freedom for each one of us.

to be continued (Part 3) ….

Dominus vobiscum et cum spiritu tuo!




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