The Originals

10 02 2010

The original sin of Adam and Eve plunged humanity into a new world filled with selfishness, suffering, shame, lust, and death. In relation to the “Bishop Story “ ( previous issue), this is why the bishops struggled to look at th e prostitute with dignity. In the beginning there was no such struggle.

We can learn much from their entire story, particularly the period of their experience before their first sin, which John Paul II calls original man

Moving on to the second creation account, God creates man and woman last and gives them dominion over all of the creation. John Paul II described Adam’s first experience with the animals as one of original solitude

God knew it was not good for Adam to be alone, so HE created Eve. At this point, everything was still pure. When Adam first saw Eve, there wasn’t any confusion between love and lust. When he saw her body, he didn’t want to use her. He saw and experienced his call to love her.

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Part 2: The Two Bishops

3 02 2010

In the early Christian Church, several bishops were gathered outside a cathedral in Antioch, when a beautiful prostitute passed by on the street. Upon noticing her, the crowd of bishops looked away to avoid being seduced. Bishop Nonnus, however, stared intently at her, and then said to his fellow bishops, “Did not the wonderful beauty of that woman delight you?” The bishops remained silent. Nonnus insisted, “Indeed it delighted me.” but he wept for her. When the prostitute saw how the bishop looked at her, she was caught off guard. No man had ever looked at her with such purity. He was not lusting after her, but rather saw something in her that she did not even see in herself.

The simple of the bishop’s glance marked the beginning of her conversion to Christ. She soon returned to find him, and today, we know this former prostitute as St Pelagia.

There is great power in the way a man looks at a woman, just as there is great power in the way that a woman dresses for a man. What this bishop possessed was something called “positive purity”. He was not afraid that the sight of her body would force him to lust. Rather, her body revealed his call to love her properly. He did not see a prostitute walking toward him – he saw a potential sister in Chirst. Though he loved many centuries before PJP II, he truly lived out the future pope’s words when he said that God “has assigned as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman.”

But what about the bishops who looked away from the oncoming prostitute?

It can be said that they had “negative purity”. They were tight to avoid the occasion of sin – by turning away from what, for them, would have been a serious temptation – but God ultimately wants to transform out hearts so that we aren’t afrais we will lust every time we see an attractive person.

This is the freedom exhibited by Bishop Nonnus and offered to all of us. Similarly, God offered St Pelagia freedom and gave her the grace to help her grow out of the habit of allowing herself to be used.

No matter where we have been or what we’ve done, purity is possible! It may seem difficult to attain, but all things are possible with God.

Dominus vobiscum et cum spiritu tuo!

Chapter 3 : Naked without shame

27 01 2010

In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve to be pure and holy, setting them to live in a perfect world.

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Part 4: User’s Guide to Stop “Using”

20 01 2010

” So,” you might ask, “when it comes to dating, how am I supposed to live out the truth of love?”  This is a good question.

  1. How are you, practically speaking , to proclaim Christ with your body in a culture that often mocks such a commitment to virtue?
  2. How do you stop “using” in a very user-friendly  culture at your high school, and later at college?
  3. How do you create an environment that helps you to live this out and protects you from using others or being used?
  4. What are some positive things you can do to avoid making mistakes in you ongoing pursuit of purity?

Well, consider these FIVE ideas:

The FIVE DIRECTIVES of Dating, Mating, Waiting.

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Part 3: Humans Deserve Only Love

13 01 2010

To whom love is directed?

JP II said that, “the person is a good toward which the only proper and adequate attitude is love.” This understanding is the basis of JP II’s teaching about love, and he calls it the personalistic norm. That’s a fancy way to say that human persons deserve only the best – they deserve love, and we should never treat anyone with less than love.

Real love is not one-sided, thus it is not only about giving but receiving as well. It takes humility and gratitude to warmly receive another’s love, allowing them to give of themselves freely.

According to JP II, there are 3 aspects of love that can be summarised as follows:

  1. Love as Attraction: Recognizing the good of another person; seeing the inner and outer beauty of another person.
  2. Love as Desire: Wanting a good for yourself; desiring goodness & happiness.
  3. Love as Goodwill: Willing or desiring the good of another person.

Love is not selfish, it is generous. Willing the good of another is closest to the love with which God loves us. The word used to describe this type of love is AGAPE.

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Part 2: Chastity & Happiness

6 01 2010

Two questions to ponder:

1. What exactly is Chastity ?

2. Why can it bring happiness?

Chastity is the virtue that directs our sexual desires and attitudes toward the truth of love. Stop!  What’s virtue?  Virtue is a firm habit of doing what is good. To view chastity as a positive virtue we must see that it is much more than abstinence, which means “not having sex”

Chastity falls under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which is the virtue of controlling and moderating our desire for pleasure, enabling us to enjoy pleasure in good things the way that God intends. But chastity is not merely learning to control one’s desires. It is really about learning how to love another rightly. JP II showed that a life of chastity is one that loves responsibly and purely, embracing the responsibility that comes with love, rather than running from it. Chastity says “yes” to the demands of love, while also fighting the selfish desires of lust. Only then can we say “no” to choices that actually rob us and others of their dignity.

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Chapter 2: Love Defined- Giving vs. Using

30 12 2009

Deep in our hearts, each of us wants to give and receive love, but most of us don’t know how to do this. In Chapter 1, we established that many people today have a confused idea about love and the purpose of sexuality. One major reason for this confusion is that we make so many decisions because they “feel good” and not because they are rooted in truth. Basing decisions, primarily on feelings can cause real problems, as feelings are fleeting and can easily change from one moment to the next . Truth, however, is stable and reliable.

In order for people to love one another properly, they must first desire what is good for the other person. In this chapter, you will discover what authentic love looks like and  learn the difference between “love” that is “self-seeking” – that is actually lust, and real love that is self-donating.

Many of the things we learn as children come from imitating what we see others doing, especially those in our families. Learning to love can be difficult when so many of us do not have excellent examples to learn from. This is a major reason why so many misunderstand what love really is.

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