Pre-Marital Sex – A Secular Stance

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I believe there is an ever-increasing need to use a secular way of explaining spiritual matters. In our day and age many people, even Christians, do not accept argumentation based on ‘Spiritual’ or ‘Biblical’ reasoning. One very spiritually based controversial topic is pre-marital sex, and I have learned that many people do not accept ‘God says no’ or “Theology of the Body”as a legitimate reason.

This statement is normally the basic ground I take to convince secular people that sex should be reserved till after marriage: “Those who are monogamous and wait till marriage have the best sex they ever could – because its the only sex they’ll ever know.”

Why wouldn’t you want the sex you will have forever in marriage to be the only sex you’ll ever know? Sex is very powerful, as anyone who has had it can attest. It is psychologically, emotionally, and physically consuming and creates strong levels on attachment and attraction toward another person.  To have this before marriage is very dangerous. When you have premarital sex there are 3 negative effects I can explain without using anything Religious to dissuade people who believe there is no fault in it.

The Memory of the Past

If you have sex before you are married you are creating strong memories that will last your whole life. As I said, sex is very powerful and it creates strong bonds between two people. You also can prefer one persons ‘lovin’ more than another. The psychological difficulties which develop from such carefree sexual activity can be very damaging for a marital relationship. When you are having sex with your spouse, the person you will be having sex with exclusively for the entirety of your life, you will involuntarily be comparing your spouse’s performance with your past experiences. Not only does this cause a very weird imbalance for your psychological feelings and emotions, but it creates an unstable relationship. Your spouse is insecure that they do not measure up. Or you find yourself having flashbacks of previous relationships while having an intimate experience with your spouse.

Your Own Gift

You can only give yourself away for the first time once. Now this might sound cheesey, but when you think about it makes sense.  Virginity is exclusively yours and it is the one thing you can give to someone totally and completely. If you have sex before you are married with one or even multiple partners you have already given away all you can. It isn’t special anymore. It is a gift that has been re-gifted, and no one likes to receive a gift that’s already been opened dented and then re-wrapped haphazardly.  Think about this concept. When you meet ‘The One’, the person who makes you feel as none have felt, the person you cannot live without, don’t you want to do everything you can for them. If you’ve ever been in love you know the intense feeling of self-gift that overwhelms you. However, if you are too hasty and too quick to give that gift, then it might be wasted. That is why is is so important to wait till after marriage to have sex, you truly can give a UNIQUE and SPECIAL gift to your spouse that is exclusively his.

Relationship for Sex or Relationship and Sex

When two people come together in a relationship they have two options: wait till marriage or indulge now. Most of those who choose to indulge now sacrifice a lot in doing so that will continue to affect them the rest of their lives. However, those who wait till marriage may have to sacrifice for the time being, but they will be heavily rewarded in the long term. When you decide that sex is off limits, the relationship can truly be built on virtues: on patience, self-respect, self-sacrifice, trust and responsibility. The relationship will still be fueled by the desire to please the other person, however the two people are working toward a common goal. Meanwhile they can enjoy every touch, every embrace, every time they hold hands individually. When they do finally achieve that goal and get married, sex is a reward that is beyond their dreams. Their wedding night is everything romance should be. The two of them will truly be turning two lives into one, giving each other themselves unreservedly, and committing themselves to the other mind body and soul. If you’ve been having sex the whole relationship, sex is already old hat by the time the wedding rolls around. The wedding night is special, but definitely not as special as it should be.

To Sum it Up

Without mentioning God at all, which as a theology major pains me because this explanation can be enhanced greatly with his Wisdom, I think it is easy to see why “those who are monogamous have the best sex they ever could – because it’s the only sex they’ll ever know” is definitely not a negative thing. There are statistics that prove that Christian couples who wait till marriage for sex truly will enjoy sex with their partner more fully and longer than the couple who has had sex with multiple partners and not worked hard together to grow in other ways before enjoying the completeness of the other person.

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Love of the Giver

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“The wise lover regards not so much the gift of Him Who loves as the love of Him Who gives.”

 (Imitation of Christ)

The most famous bible verse in the world begins with “For God so loved the world, that he gave…”. (John 3:16). This emphasizes one quality of God that we look to the most. God as Giver. We pray and ask him to help us, to give us peace or strength. We ask him to give us financial relief, or give us good health. We ask him to give healing to our friends and families. We pray to God as The Giver.

It is a beautiful dependence to cultivate. To trust that God will give you all you need is a prayer that is very familiar to us. In the Our Father we pray together, hopefully more than every Sunday, for God to ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ This petition is a humble acceptance that God will give to us all that is necessary for us to survive. Christ taught us the Our Father so that we would become like children and trust in his care. He reminds us through this petition that if we trust in him as a child trusts his parents to give him food, God will provide for us.

“He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45

God is generosity itself. It is in his very nature to provide to his children all they need. When we pray to ‘give us this daily bread’ it does not necessarily mean we are asking him for something, but rather that we are praising him because we truly know he will take care of us.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:25-27)

We live in a culture where a feeling of entitlement is felt in almost every heart. We feel as if we deserve something, and we especially feel this way toward God. This cultivates an unhealthy relationship with the overly generous God. We bargain with God telling him to give us something we need if we pray this prayer or sacrifice this habit. unfortunately this leads to disappointment when we do not receive what we want.

To add to this disappointment, the sin of jealousy rages inside our hearts alongside our feelings of entitlement. We feel others ar rewarded for doing nothing, and we feel slighted by God.

What we must come to realize is the glory of Giver and not the gifts. This quote from the Imitation of Christ sums it up: “The wise lover regards not so much the gift of Him Who loves as the love of Him Who gives.” When we take a moment to look around at the gifts God has given to other people, we must teach our hearts to be in awe of the Giver and not envious of the gifts. When we turn our hearts away from the material and toward the immaterial, we are rewarded.

We may not get  exactly what we wanted, but it gives God greater glory when we praise him as a Giver instead of thanking him for the gifts. “Labor a little now, and soon you shall find great rest, in truth, eternal joy; for if you continue faithful and diligent in doing, God will undoubtedly be faithful and generous in rewarding.” (Imitation of Christ)

America: Home of the Free?

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With July 4th just two days away the theme of freedom waves over our nation. America is the “Home of the Free” but what I write about today begs to differ. What is true freedom? Where does it come from and how does it free us? In our culture today freedom is longed for, desired, encouraged.  I am delighted by the ironic timing of this article because it coincides with the new song by Miley Cyrus called “We Can’t Stop”. Although I find it to be repulsive, the song is huge and young people all over turn it up and sing along. Why is this you ask? The song boasts of a freedom of “Doing whatever we want” and forgetting about “the haters” because be “like to party” and “we can’t stop.”

What an attractive message Miley Cyrus promises. So many songs mirror the epidemic of a true loss of freedom our culture is undergoing. Artists sing of being “young and wild and free” and doing whatever they want. Isn’t that what true freedom is, you ask? Many people criticize the Church because they believe her to be constraining and overbearing. Many see her rules and laws to be overprotective and unrealistic.

I say to all of these questioning minds, that I am a Catholic who obeys the law of God and the Church and I am truly free. People may laugh at this. They think I am a fool who has been brainwashed to believe that following orders and feeling free is a paradox that cannot exist. We have been raised in a culture which encourages youth to rebel against rules and glamorizes being scandalous and immoral. Following the Ten Commandments? Psh, that infringes on my freedom. Listening to the truth of the Church? Nah, I am my own person, The Church can’t tell me what to do. Unfortunately this mindset is so common, and so terribly wrong.

To begin, we must start at the beginning. It’s a very good place to start. Where does freedom come from? Who is the author of our freedom? Well the creator of Man was a fellow by the name of God. And God did not place Man in the world as a robot, required to obey everything that God said or asked for. “God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions.” God, a very intelligent being,  created Man with FREEDOM. True freedom.

Why did God create man with freedom? Well that is a very very long explanation that goes in depth into the theology of free will. However for my purpose in this post we will keep things simple. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel” and here is the key part “so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”

Woah. So God created Man to be free so that man could freely choose to be free in God. God created Man with a deep longing and desire to seek his creator. Each and every one of us desires to know where we come from and where we belong.  Man desires to attain God’s full and blessed perfection. When Man sees God he is enamored by Him and wishes to be like him. This is the desire of the human heart, to attain God’s perfection. What a lofty goal, a lofty pursuit. But it is a holy and blessed journey.

In order to do this, to quench the thirst for true self satisfaction, Man must submit himself to God. So I haven’t mentioned freedom for a while. You may now be wondering, how did I get from freedom to submission. It is quite the paradox. Freedom means being free from shackles and chains that tell me what to do! Oh nay, nay. This is where you realize that true freedom lies in Christ.

The Catechism defines freedom as “The power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility.” Now this is a definition I believe most people, even secular, can agree on. I think most can also agree that a person who is doing something, not out of a free choice, but because they feel obligated or feel trapped or feel dependent on the action is NOT free.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galations 5:1) So freedom lies in Christ, and slavery lies in sin. This ‘yoke of slavery’ the bible speaks of is the chains that drag us down and trap us in ourselves.

Sure you can ‘use’ your freedom to choose to sin, and use your ‘free choice’ do do whatever you please. However, this will not lead to freedom. This will lead to chains and shackles that weaken your own will and in turn your true freedom. Your will is weakened by choosing to commit sins. The more sins you commit, the more you let go of your reason and become a slave to the sin. There is no freedom when your material being drives you to consume more than you can handle.  There is just no judgment of conscious.  There is just a response of the will. You believe that you are ‘doing whatever you want’ but in reality you are a slave to your flesh. Your beautiful mind and all its capabilities for selflessness and love has been shut off and your fleshly desires and passions rule you. This is not true freedom.

On the other hand. “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to the slavery of sin.”

“John Paul teaches that there is no true conflict between human freedom and God’s law. The true end of human freedom is growth as a mature person into how each is created by God. Furthermore, God’s divine law governing human behavior is not opposed to human freedom, but rather “it protects and promotes that freedom.”

Who knows better how to protect our freedom than the very creator of it? God knows that we are not individuals who are “fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods” Although we proclaim this as truth and lie to ourselves by calling this true freedom. God created us for a higher purpose, and until we realize that call and move toward a mature growth in personal self-mastery, we will never be truly free.