Tuesday, 5 February 2013
"The restlessness of the external man"....lust in marriage and NFP. fourth part regarding ToB
Posted by Supertradmum
Many, many years ago when I took an NFP course, (I ended up teaching it as well later), my fiancée and I, taking this as part of our pre-nuptial prep in our diocese, met a lovely Evangelical couple. I talked with the woman and learned that she and her husband, also a Protestant, had taken the course and were part of the team presenting the classes. I was at first surprised that an Evangelical couple were part of the team teaching the course, but soon learned that their story provided a background for the entire weekend of classes.
Her witness was extremely powerful, as she told us (a very large group at the time in the hundreds, as it was a diocesan course), that her marriage changed dramatically once the couple decided on NFP.
She explained that she and her husband had fallen into a less than Christian relationship in marriage. They had fallen, as a married couple, into the sin of lust and were approaching sex in a way, as they came to understand, not pleasing to the growth of their own spirits and not pleasing to God.
The grace of their married state had slipped away and the pursuit of pleasure became a goal in and of itself.
They forgot about love and sacrifice, procreation and child bearing. IT was all about THEM. God was out of the relationship.
NFP broke the spell and brought a conversion to both the man and the woman. They grew in love with each other and most importantly, with God. God became the centre of their marriage again, not themselves.
This is the number one danger of ToB. It replaces God with gods, little gods, little idols which entrap the soul and keep a couple bound to the material instead of addressing the needs of the soul.
That God gave such a wonderful grace of conversion to this Evangelical couple allowed them to spread the Good News of the Gospel in their own marriage, which had moved from eros, to agape, to caritas.
Only abstinence and the awareness of the needs of the soul can allow this movement of grace.Only the emphasis on the souls of the man and woman in the marriage can bring about this growth in holiness.
And, by the way, this movement of the souls of the couple in marriage, between a man and a woman, is ordained by God, made into the sacrament of marriage, which is for the salvation of the souls of the man and the woman primarily. The inner man and inner woman must be made strong. Too much emphasis on the material body, which is only part of who we are and not entirely our being, leads to a different emphasis.
Let me quote Bl. John Paul II on this point.
In suffocating the voice of conscience, passion carries with itself a restlessness of the body and the senses. It is the restlessness of the external man. When the internal man has been reduced to silence, then passion, once it has been given freedom of action, exhibits itself as an insistent tendency to satisfy the senses and the body.
This gratification, according to the criterion of the man dominated by passion, should put out the fire; but on the contrary, it does not reach the source of internal peace and it only touches the outermost level of the human individual. And here the biblical author rightly observes that man, whose will is committed to satisfying the senses, finds neither peace nor himself, but, on the contrary, "is consumed." Passion aims at satisfaction; therefore it blunts reflective activity and pays no attention to the voice of conscience. Thus, without itself having any principle of indestructibility, it "wears out." The dynamism of usage is natural for its continuity, but it tends to exhaust itself. Where passion enters into the whole of the most profound energies of the spirit, it can also become a creative force. In this case, however, it must undergo a radical transformation. If instead it suppresses the deepest forces of the heart and conscience (as occurs in the text of Sirach 23:17-22), it "wears out" and indirectly, man, who is its prey, is consumed.
This destructive force can happen in marriage, if the couple is contracepting and if the love is stuck in the material goals. Sex education in schools and in religious education leads to sin because the corresponding element of mature, caritas love, is not presented and cannot be as this is for a married couple to discover. I am convinced that ToB is not the way for youth or adults to learn about real love, sacrificial love. It is severely flawed philosophically.
Only parents should teach youth sex education in the environment of the loving, mature relationship which the young person sees in the marriage. Teachers have no right to usurp this role. And, these types of love real love, sacrificial love, are learned in the relationship in sacramental marriage, which confers sanctifying grace.
To be continued...