Why Sexuality Matters

My Dialogue with Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body: An assertion on why purity is important.

Just recently I’ve been thinking a lot about sexuality, purity and wholeness. In recent dialouges with with fellow students, professors friends and colleagues it has come to my attention that while I have a basic idea of what I believe about sexuality and the body, I’ve not spent much time developing or writing on it much, and this was surprising to me considering how sacred my theology of the body has become. So today i wanted to spend some time in thought about my person, your person and why sexuality matters.

So, first of all, what is the body? Here i’m gonna lay out an assertion of the human person according to what I believe the scriptures are telling us and several interrelated theories on being. From there we’ll talk about being and practical theology and finally conclude with the importance of sexuality to human identity, and ultimately why sexuality matters.

For a long time I’ve been disturbed by the question of what happens at marriage that inherently changes something, how is it that before a ring almost everything is off limits and then by a simple token everything is ok? What difference can a ritual make in ontologically shifting something from one place to another? Is marriage really that important in uniting two persons into one flesh, or is it a formality with pretty metaphors?

So, to answer my own question about marriage and the ontology of such a union, it is my belief that what has happened is in our conception of being when we lost the idea of being in communion we took a shift from the idea of communion as a necessary element of being. To be a person is to be a being-in-relationship, and therefore to necessitate a constant dialogue between an internal and external self-hood.

Sartre shows us in his Being and Nothingness that in reality man is never being in itself as for example a rock is. A rock simply is, but we as people lack being-in-itself because being-in-itself lacks consciousness. We are being for itself and thus lack definite being and are forced to create our being out of nothingness. And as foray into dimension theory and the propositions of time purported by H.G. Wells, if anything lacks duration it cannot be said to exist. Humans therefore are not and cannot be static being or inherently and diametrically dualistic beings, for change affects people in time and therefore their being is dynamic in that when viewed in 4 dimensions height, length, depth, and duration being is never in itself, but in relation to time, space, objects and other objects of being to discern and develop our own being.

This dynamic selfhood is the consciousness that we have of ourselves being aware of things outside ourselves and our idea of the perceptions with which we interact with the world. This, not even this is static since our perceptions change, ideas develop, and over time this self matures, corrupts, decays, grows, evolves, becomes more self aware, less self aware, directed, misdirected and always interactive. The self as relates to other objects in both time and space, in memory, and perception outside the internal perception of what we believe to be ourselves. Sartre helps us do away away with Kant’s dualism of noumena and phenomena, showing us that there is no ungraspable appearance behind things but rather only things in themselves as they appear.

 

The external self constitutes the internal self because that self is projected onto the external world and receives its selfhood back from the dialogue between the projection and reception of meaning. The internal self is not an objective reality but exists as interpreted through our perception of self that emerges through interaction with those things that we have relationality with in the world outside our physical bodies. In Sartre’s idea the for-itself of being makes of the world a blank canvas onto which it projects its being, and in marriage, to get back to the topic at hand, there is a mutual imprint of being which allows both giving and reception of being through mutual imprintedness.

Hopefully I have done some justice to what I believe Sartre is saying.

Marriage is the mystery by which human being becomes truly alive, it is sacramental, holy, and relational. The thing that changes is not the world, but our perception of self, from the myself which we are so involved in in our day to the ourself which is become myself. Therefore as we search for being in the world, the world reaches us through the eyes of another such that as we explore out for ourselves, the meaning of ourselves is presented to us in another. The other becomes the I and vice versa such that the other person is a mirror of ourselves as we explore identity through the perceptions and reflections brought out in the living interlocution of being. So that when we are called to love one another, as we do in marriage, we find our self consciousness should be caught up in neighbor consciousness. The I and Thou becomes the We that is You and the You that is the mirror of myself. 

So how does all this preliminary dialogue take us back to the matter of sexuality?

Let’s begin with an assertion by the brilliant and moving theology of the body by Pope John Paul II:

 

It seems that the second narrative of creation has assigned to man “from the beginning” the function of the one who, above all, receives the gift (cf. especially Gn 2:23). “From the beginning” the woman is entrusted to his eyes, to his consciousness, to his sensitivity, to his heart. On the other hand, he must, in a way, ensure the same process of the exchange of the gift, the mutual interpenetration of giving and receiving as a gift. Precisely through its reciprocity, it creates a real communion of persons.

 

Giving and receiving is perichoretic, it is interpenetrational and dynamic between the two persons of the union making it sacred. The being of two persons becomes completely mysterious in that they become not absorbed in one another, nor annihilated in the other, but having substance in the other each person is a mirror to which the other looks for that penetrating substantiality. The giving is within both parties and the reception is within both parties. The man in the garden received the woman and looked upon her, being given over to him not in the sense of her reduction to object but in the sense of his embrace of her, his reception of her is in itself a giving. In her being received she is also receiving.

 

The man is enriched not only through her, who gives him her own person and femininity, but also through the gift of himself. The man’s giving of himself, in response to that of the woman, enriches himself. It manifests the specific essence of his masculinity which, through the reality of the body and of sex, reaches the deep recesses of the “possession of self.”…At the same time he is received as a gift by the woman, in the revelation of the interior spiritual essence of his masculinity, together with the whole truth of his body and sex. Accepted in this way, he is enriched through this acceptance and welcoming of the gift of his own masculinity. Subsequently, this acceptance, in which the man finds himself again through the sincere gift of himself, becomes in him the source of a new and deeper enrichment of the woman. The exchange is mutual. In it the reciprocal effects of the sincere gift and of the finding oneself again are revealed and grow.

 

It is in giving oneself to the other that the other becomes the mirror through which the self truly develops. The union of marriage sanctifies ontologically what already occurs naturally, and in their giving to each other, they are enriched. Marriage is an invitation to love one’s neighbor, to care for one another and to stand for one another.

So, in short what’s all this talk mean to me? I’ll tell you.

This body is sacred, it is baptized into the already resurrected body of Christ, my person is intimately connected with Christ, through the eucharist, and through the Spirit of life which animated Christ back to life and raised him from the dead. This body has been marked and sealed as a sacrament of the eschaton. Therefore when considering the integrity of the body, it is necessary that I should consider my person an extension of the literal body of Christ which is sacred.

Therefore as a sacramental entity this body and the bodies of my fellow humans are sacred, bearing in them the image of God, the image of Christ. Unity before marriage is not about merely disregarding a tradition, it is a violation of the spirit which animates us all, who is within us and gives us life. It is a violation of being reflecting onto another and being reflected on in such a way that the mirror formed in mutual union is never expunged and the connection is formed, because it has to do not strictly with an unimportant ritual but with the notion and condition of being itself is adultery an inadequate resolution.

To quote liberally someone, I believe it was C.S. Lewis, who said that the person who lusts does not love too much it is that the person loves too little to truly love at all.

In short, those are my thoughts for today. I hope that someone wanted to hear that. I know I’m not done with this topic, but thanks for tuning in.

Also, I realize i didn’t follow my basic outline at the start, sorry for those of you who expected better. whatever.

eli

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One thought on “Why Sexuality Matters

  1. “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(I John 5:19)

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James 4:4)

    The “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the evil one for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination, and mankind’s “imagination is destroying and perverting Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Simplicity, .etc.) ;-(

    And the “strongest thing” in the evil one’s worldly systems? “Woman”…… yet The Truth, that which is of The Only True GOD, is stronger even than woman. (read I Esdras 3&4 of the Apocrypha) And Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Mercy, Hope,,,etc,,, all that is “good”, is of The Only True GOD and is of HIS Spirit, not of this world. Those born of The Spirit, those born of The Only True GOD, are the brethren of The Messiah, for they received “a love of The Truth that they might be saved”. Reborn!

    And those who have received “a love of The Truth” have separated themselves from this world and those of this world, for they have taken heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to “Come out of her MY people.” They are “in, but not of this wicked, evil world”, and The Only True GOD has received them, and is “A Father unto them, and they are HIS sons and daughters”. And they follow, and desire to be like their Master and Brother, The Messiah, He Who was “the firstborn of many brethren”. And as “The Messiah was a servant of The Only True GOD”, so also His Brethren are “servants of The Only True GOD.”

    The called out ones are not “adulterers and adulteresses”, they are not “friends of this wicked, evil world”, they do not “fornicate with the god of this world” for they know that “to be a friend of this world is to be the enemy of The Only True GOD.” They are at war against the evil spirits that possess those who are of this world.

    And they do not “allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach. For she teaches others to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. The Only True GOD gave her a chance to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Rev 2:20-21)

    “fornication” and “adultery..” in that which is recorded above signifies spiritual fornication with “the god of this world”, which is to love that which is of his world.

    Once again, the “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”. Those who “love this world” all serve “the god of this world”, and play their part in the processes that seek to destroy The Creation of The Only True GOD. “And The Only True GOD will destroy them who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18) Global warming, polluted air, land and waters, toxic wastes, sexual perversion, evil inventions of destruction, greed, hate, carnal warfare, dis-ease ,,,etc,,, are all destructive processes that have their root in “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life”. And as stated, “woman is the strongest thing of this world”. Yet stronger than woman is The Truth, which is in those who have “received a love of The Truth”. The Truth Is Alive in those who have been born of The Spirit for “they no longer love this wicked, evil world and it’s things, nor do they love their own lives in this world”. They but seek and desire The Will of GOD, as they await their final transformation. “Corruptible to Incorruptible” ndeed and Truth!

    Now “the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake” because he “hearkened unto the woman”. Adam listened to a woman rather than obeying The Only True GOD. Yet because of Faithful Noah, The Only True GOD “no longer would curse the ground for man’s sake” because Noah obeyed The Only True GOD! (Genesis 8:21-22) And the Faithful today are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” And Faithful women are exhorted to “be in silence.” “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” “For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11,12,14) A man and woman joined together in obedience and submission unto The Only True GOD are blessed indeed. All who are not obedient, all who will not submit themselves unto The Only True GOD will have to answer to HIM..period.. Be not of those who deny and defy “The One GOD, Father of All”. Be not of those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, .etc.)!

    “The Only True GOD is The HEAD of The Messiah, The Messiah is The Head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman”. Multitudes pervert GOD’s Order because they have been seduced by ” the commandments and doctrines of men and devils”. Multitudes are seduced by the religious systems that are in and of this evil world. Seduced because they love this evil world and their own life in it! “Set your affections on things above”. Desire heavenly, eternal things. Quit serving ‘time’ in the prison that is this world and take heed unto the call to ”Come out from among them and be separate!”

    Once again, “Come out” of the worldly systems, which are the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, especially the religious systems. “Come out” from among those who are destroying and perverting Creation and be of those who follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”.

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world……. francisco

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