Thursday, January 10, 2008

Non-Opposing Blessings: The Virtues in Purity and Sex

When I was in High School, I regarded "Sex" as a bad word and it was not to be repeated. To be completely honest, all I knew was that this was something mothers and fathers did to make babies. I knew not the process, nor what was involved. Very quickly, I became convinced that Sex, itself, was horrible thing. My reaction was in response to the rampant immorality of today's society. Most of my peers frequently engaged in Sex after school and on the weekends; I would have to sit between the girls as they discussed the whats and whens of their latest sexual moments. As a result, any type of physical affection, beyond a simple kiss, became to me a grave sin.

I now know better. It took me four years at a Catholic college and practically being forced to read Church documents on the subject following my college graduation to convince me otherwise. I realize how erroneous I was in my judgments. In the proper time and place, Sex and physical affirmation are beautiful ways to show love for another person. Sex is a self-gift from one spouse to another and is a fine, even beautiful requirement, in marriage. Having read Theology of the Body, my opinion vastly differs from my High School days. But, a child like me in High School is also one in a million.

Fast forward eight years. For someone who hated High School so terribly much, I am now teaching Freshman and Sophomore Theology and loving it. However, the irony continues. As a Theology teacher, I am in charge of the Freshman Purity and Sex Talk. In two weeks, I must teach Freshmen girls and boys the value and beauty of both Purity and Sex. That's right, not just the virtue behind Purity or the self-gift of Sex. I am in charge of making sure over thirty hormonal teens comprehend the difference between and the goodness of Purity and Sex in five days.

I have been reading multiple sources on the subject, from the Catechism to Jason Evert's If You Really Love Me. I have appreciated the value and explanations the Church has put behind every statement and piece of Dogma. Every what and why make perfect sense. The explanation by Pope John Paul II of the gift of Sex has brought tears to my eyes and guilt to my heart for previous opinions. I have a stronger devotion and commitment to Purity than I did two weeks ago. True Love is a wonderful truth, but so rarely understood. The dogma and beliefs of the Faith behind Purity and Sex are infused with the different but equal dignity of man and woman. The intense philosophy and theology behind these sources are a treat to read. But, I also have four years of High School and four years of a Liberal Arts education behind me, aiding my comprehension.

While I am almost finished in expanding my knowledge of the subject, I still have the daunting task of simplifying all this information, without diluting the truths, and conveying it all to my students. I have to pick out awkward, personal topics to cover with my girls and talk to them about various aspects of their sexuality. With my boys, I must develop a lesson plan for the three days when the classes are split up. I must choose, with the utmost caution, topics that boys face at that age dealing with their sexuality. Where do I begin?

When the week ends, I want the children to ultimately respect themselves as Children of God; to understand that each boy and each girl has an invaluable intrinsic dignity simply because they are God's children. I want them to relate this understanding in respect for themselves and for each other. I pray that they refrain from the mistakes so many teens and young adults make. I beseech God to aid the children in keeping the gift of Purity, so deeply connected to Sex, until they find and marry their Spouse. I hope for this not because the Church forbids premarital sex and encourages purity, but because I know this is what they deserve. Each girl in that room wants love; I pray she finds the true meaning. Every boy desires to prove himself a man; I hope he does so at the right time in a Christ-like way. Ultimately, I hope, only through God's infinite mercy and love, that the children realize that they need only gaze upward for True Love. For, only the truest form of Love is found in our Lord.

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