Friday, May 08, 2015

Graphene and the Gift of Self

Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material known to man, and was first isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004. Imagine what incredible things could be accomplished with this material! Stronger bridges, buildings, even lightweight but virtually indestructible rooftops for the poor and vulnerable in third world countries who are susceptible to mudslide or earthquake: the possibilities are endless! But according to Bill Gates and a band of scientists, Graphene could serve even a "nobler" purpose: contraception.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding the men that can harness the power of Graphene and morph it with latex condoms a cool $100,000. Dr. Papa Sow, a senior program officer on a HIV research team, said a "redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty.”

A powerful weapon against poverty? Doesn't he mean against the fecundity of women and the life-giving potential gifted to every man? How about crafting us a weapon against lust, misogyny, adultery? How about a weapon that can aid in the quest of honor, virtue, purity of heart?

As a good friend of mine always says, “The best form of birth control is self control.” The visionary Dr. Sow seems to envision man as some kind of animal, incapable of self-mastery, who needs the unbreakable power of graphene to shield him from his own weakness when it comes to the sexual act. He continues… "If this project is successful, we might have [an everyday] use which will literally touch our everyday life in the most intimate way."

Intimate? Yes. Nothing says "I love you and want to be a total gift to you” like a barrier made of the thinnest, strongest material known to man, holding back what’s emblematic of his total gift of self; a man’s seed. 

In all actuality, the strongest material on earth is the heart filled with grace, ablaze with the virtue of purity, with eyes that can see the glory of God shining in the human body and calling that heart to freely and fully give of itself. That kind of self-awareness leads, as St. John Paul II writes, to a whole-hearted self-giving in which man is “reconciled with his natural greatness.” The weakness at the center of a contraceptive mentality is the fearful heart that shrinks from the wild adventure of life, of total giving, of children, of love and responsibility. Only the strong-hearted, united to Christ, can build a unbreakable and saintly civilization of life and love. And that is worth more than $100,000. It’s truly priceless!

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

- C.S. Lewis

Originally posted at

Talking to Your Little Ones About the Big Topic of Sex

A much repeated sentence we hear at our Theology of the Body retreats and courses is "I wish I heard this when I was younger!" ...