Sexuality: happiness is not in carnal affection
What makes the experience of love painful is that the modern world demands that supreme happiness be found in carnal affection.
I wish to begin this topic on sexuality and chastity with a summary reading of the Gospel of St Luke, 24, 13-35, on the Disciples of Emmaus:
"There were going two ... to ... Emmaus ... and they were talking to each other ... Jesus came and went with them ... He said to them:" What are you arguing about as you walk? "They stopped with sadness ... they said: "About Jesus of Nazareth ... how they condemned him to death and crucified him ... We hoped that he would be the one who was going to liberate Israel ..." He told them: "Was not it necessary for ... Christ to suffer that and thus enter into his glory?" And ... he explained everything that was about him in ... the Scriptures ... As he approached the people ... he made a gesture of But they forced him by saying 'Stay with us' ... And he came in ... When he came to the table with them ... he took the bread ... he pronounced the blessing ... Then his eyes were opened and they recognized him but He disappeared ... They said to each other: "Was not our heart burning inside of us when he spoke to us ...?"
This Gospel is always poignant because Jesus rescues the soul from confusion about happiness. The Jewish disciples coded their happiness in an easy conquest of freedom that denied them the Roman Empire. Jesus joins them in his way by telling them that there is no happiness without loving the cross. Jesus speaks to them with the truth, and their hearts being willing, they understand and respond with an ardor to that truth.
Illusion and disappointment are intense and frequent emotions in the youth, and this, in particular, happens in the pursuit of love. To begin to know and to understand that love, in any way, is to serve others, is not what makes that experience painful. Sooner or later, you will know the truth that there is no happiness if you do not seek love on the cross, in sacrifice, and the surrender of oneself.
What makes the experience of love painful is that the modern world demands that supreme happiness be found in carnal affection. The modern world objects to say that love is possible without a relationship of carnal affection with another human being. The modern world then labeled "losers in love" those who keep chastity. But, as in Emmaus, Jesus tells us that those who love him and follow him never fail; on the contrary, they love with God's love, always burning.
When divine love descends upon the human heart, it purifies it as the gold is purified in the fire. Or like wood, the human heart, it burns, it darkens and little by little, it penetrates the fire inside the wood until it becomes torch for the Fire (1). That is what God wants of us, that we become a torch of his love, extending its warmth to each person with whom we meet.
The chastity of the single laity, either during her life or even marriage, is precisely to love the other human being with the love of God; it's loving with a clean heart. With God's love, the other human being is not regarded to take it for pleasure or to turn it into the object of pleasure; it looks to the other to give and receive of our love, of our life, of our person. And It is great to know that chastity does not make motherhood impossible. On the contrary, in the transmission of our personality and our service towards the other human being, all women become spiritual mothers of many. Chastity also does not mean denying female sexuality. Chastity makes use of it, putting its attributes and qualities at the service of authentic and lasting love.
Chastity is an ethic of respect for oneself and the other human being. While each of us adopts and requires an ethic of work, of study, of sport, of government, it is no less true, and it is even more necessary and profound to keep an ethic on sexuality.
To say that love is always free and risky is true. But to say that love will only be free and full in unbridled carnal expression is false. This is stifling the immense desire to truly love. And true love is the breath of the soul and the joy of the heart. Without that love, the soul dies and the heart is perverted.
We know that our ability to adhere to the will of God is what measures the degree of freedom that we have attained (2). Therefore, obedience to God in chastity is what liberates our being to love with fullness!
In chastity, we anchor our hearts first to the heart of God, rather than to any human heart. In this way, we are sure that our hearts will never perish and we will love the other better. But if our heart depends on another heart to be able to love, it will always be a wandering heart or at least have no peace. It is also inevitable to understand that the soul belongs to God, and it is only God whom he desires to have the soul. No one else can fill that place; and if the soul does not have God, he will always sigh, or be dissatisfied in his life, by that one who will lack.
God speaks a language different from that of the world on the components of human sexuality:
The World talks about delivery. Jesus adds, by the cross.
The World speaks of the bliss of Love. Jesus adds, being perfect in love.
The World speaks of emotional maturity. Jesus adds: being small.
The World speaks of personal well-being. Jesus adds, giving it all (3).
Chastity is the adventure with God to love whom He puts before us in every circumstance of our life. If we refuse to practice chastity, we will never know true love.
It is said that St. Francis of Asis when he spoke to someone, lent such attention to that person, that person was the most important to him at the time. St. Francis of Asis did not escape the dignity of that person and marveled at the thought of God's plan. That's real human love!
If we want to keep chastity, in a world that considers madness to love with the love of God (4), prayer is essential. That is to say every morning: "my Lord, Thy will be done of love in me". Is to fall on his knees, extend the arms in the form of a cross, and ask for the purity of heart for that day to the mother of beautiful love, to her, who loved better than anyone else in life, saying: "Mary, admirable Mother, Immaculate from conception, pray for me."
This talk was presented at the First International Congress for Life and Family in Chile, organized by International Human Life and the Anonymous Movement for Life, August 1994.