Thursday, June 2, 2016

Temple or Tent?

I remember once when I was home on leave from the Navy. My father asked to see my wallet. As he shuffled through it I knew what he was looking for.

“Where are they?” he asked.

“I don’t carry them.” I replied.

“Why not?” he asked with a quizative look on his face.

“Because I haven’t had a need.” I said as I saw his expression turn to one of disappointment.

He was referring to condoms. My father was like many fathers I suspect. They have a hope that their sons will score with as many women as they can as often as possible. Many of the same dads expect their daughters to go untouched until they are married and ready to bring forth grandchildren. It is probably one of the oldest double standards we have in our society.

Sex has been overemphasized in our culture and virginity has lost its significance. Virgins are often mercilessly teased, ridiculed, and made fun of. Men often look to women as objects to be conquered or things to be dominated. I had friends on the ship who were virgins and vowed to stay such until they got married. They were the “goodie” people who were great friends but not someone you wanted to hit a foreign port with.

We have lost sight of what it truly important in life simply because we have given in to our carnal desires. Sex is one of the greatest gifts God gave to man. He has included us in his ability to create life. This is a gift he didn’t give the angels. It is a gift given not for our own pleasure but to give glory to God. This so infuriates the devil that he has done everything he can to get us to abuse this gift, make a mockery of it, and turn our backs on it. He has done everything in his power to convince us that sex is only meant for our selfish pleasure and use.

Sex has two purposes. The first is procreative. God wants to populate heaven. We are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. We are to accept life as God sees fit to give it and not on our terms. We are to trust God and know that he won’t give us more than we can handle.

The second purpose of sex is unitive. For this purpose man leaves his mother and clings to his wife and the two become one flesh. Sex is to be shared only in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Sex is not for recreation. Sex is not for the self. Sex is to be used to unite man and wife and bring about the next generation. Any other use for sex is a perversion and abuse of this great gift we have been given.

Virginity, therefore, becomes the greatest gift one spouse can give another. It is a gift only spouses can give. It cannot be bought. It cannot be faked. It cannot be returned. It is not something to be mocked, ridiculed, or made fun of. Virginity is sacred. It is a sacred gift for a sacred sacrament.

I have a newfound respect for my shipmates who remained virgin amid one of the most difficult situations to do so. They loved their future spouse enough to remain chaste when surrounded by temptation. They knew the value of their sacrifice while many of us threw it away the first chance we got.

I have heard many claim that the solution to our priest shortage is to allow them to marry so they can enjoy sex like the rest of us. I am sure there are some who have refused their calling because they want to be a husband and a father. I am one of those. I highly doubt that there are men out there who turn their backs on God’s call simply because they need to have sex. Those who have do not understand the true nature of sex. Men and women who take a vow of chastity for religious life aren’t losing out on something. They are gaining a deeper understanding of the value of the human body. They recognize the sacredness of their gift of virginity and the value of that gift when given to God. We all can learn from them.

God made people to be loved and things to be used. When we reverse that order bad things happen. Virginity is the single greatest gift one spouse can give another. We need to teach our children that their bodies aren’t play things for their own amusement. We  need to restore the sacredness of human sexuality to what it was meant to be. Our bodies are temples of the Lord and not tents for dirty hobos.

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