Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Be Empty and Stagnify"

"Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know, you can't explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind... driving you mad."
- Morpheus, The Matrix
The more deeply I delve into Pope John Paul II's new sexual revolution (found in his teaching on the Theology of the Body) the more I come to realize the absolute insanity of the present state of things.
WARNING: The following words will either ruffle your feathers or unbind them so you can take flight.
Look objectively for a moment at the way the human body is treated today. Look at the magazine covers in your local supermarket, assess the value of the human person by spending 10 minutes watching television, and you'll be tempted to believe that sex is a drug and we are all inextricably addicted. (Sex, that is, torn apart from its true meaning.)
We're gorging ourselves on feelings and casting away our fertility. We've severed the life-line that is tied to the ship that is meant to take us home. The most God-like attribute we possess, that of generating a new human life, is stripped away from the sexual embrace. Something tells us that there must be more to sex than just feeling, bonding, pleasure, comfort. A still, small voice in our hearts whispers.... "in the beginning... it was not so." There is a deep mystery welling up in this act that has always drawn us along, like the fragrance of the Orient in the Song of Songs. But our vision has been disoriented. Our senses have been desensitized.
How and why did this happen? Who told us that separating the fruit from its roots would bring us true happiness? Let's review...
1. In the beginning, God creates many different things to compliment each other and form one thing - the Universe; sun and moon, earth and sky, land and sea, then man and woman in His image, that is, in the image of the Blessed Trinity, that Divine Whirlwind of ceaseless infinite Love that made all thing
s out of love. It's a beautiful dance and an exchange of opposites that attract. To quote the old song - "You are the sun, I am the moon, you are the words, I am the tune.... play me!"
2. This play was the first word God spoke to us (nobody remembers this today!), He placed the man and the woman naked in a garden paradise. God's first command to the happy couple is "Be fruitful and multiply!" Notice it does not begin with "Thou Shalt Not." It's actually more akin to "Let's party!" God offered them the freedom to enjoy the Gift of one another as husband and wife; to love and begin a family of persons (just as God Himself is a Family in the Trinity).
3. Now this party is not, however, about a quick fix or some hedonistic indulgence. Through the sincere gift of self, the first man and woman enter into the mystery of that one flesh union that has literally spawned the human race (again, just as God's generous Love generates the Universe). Adam and Eve's embrace is a glimmer or a foretaste of that heavenly rapture that awaits all who love God. The Catholic Catechism says that in the "joys of their love, God gives spouses a foretaste of the joys of Heaven." Amen! The gift is a total gift; free, faithful, and fruitful. It keeps the totality of the person (fertility and all) intact. Anything less would be a diminishing of love.
So far so good! But what happened? Well, there was one thing they were asked to respect and refrain from taking from; it's the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If we grasp at that tree, we die.
Fair enough. God is the Creator after all; He's the One Who alone reveals the Good and warns us of the consequences of not choosing what is Good for us. Good and Evil, God is showing us, are constants, objective realities as steady as the stars. They are meant to guide us. Good is what the human heart is made for, Evil is the dark hole left when Good is stripped away.
Was the Original Sin a refusal to trust this Truth? Was it an abuse of human freedom, a misdirected grasping at pleasure or power over the purpose of human life? Was it a failure to image God?
Today, across the boards we see the counter-sign, the alternate reality, and the twisting of the Truth we were made for all around us. God's call to us to "Be fruitful and multiply!" has become a "Be empty and stagnify."
And empty we are. The results of the so-called sexual revolution of the 60's surround us. Are there better marriages, happier relations, peace in the battle between the sexes? Is Life celebrated, family loved and respected, children seen as a gift and fertility valued as a woman's greatest power? Quite the contrary. By grasping at pleasure apart from procreation, we have left in our hands only withered remains of the dream of happiness.
But there were two trees in that First Garden. Beside the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the Tree of Life. And God's mercy invites us to rest beneath its shade. This is the fruit that lasts and the love that truly satisfies. And God invites us to it! Did not Jesus, the New Adam, die on this Tree to save us? Isn't the Wood of the Cross the One Tree that has borne fruit for so many centuries? To this Tree of Life the men and women of our time are invited to "taste and see" and to "take and eat."
This Tree alone can plant the seeds that will finally blossom into a Culture of Life!
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