Sanctifying sex

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT may sound like an impossible and quixotic thing, but truth to tell, not only would it be possible and practicable, but also and more importantly, it is an indispensable duty of ours, failing in which would be tantamount to degrading ourselves to the animal level, not to mention the ultimate failure of ours when we miss the real purpose of our humanity which is to be God’s image and likeness, sharers of his life and nature.

We are reminded of this duty in the gospel reading of the Mass on Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time where Christ told some Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection that “when they (all of us actually) rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.” (cfr. Mk 12,18-27)

In other words, sex only has a temporal value. In our definitive state of life in heaven, when we are truly identified with God, we can still be male and female, but there would not anymore be any use for sex whose main purpose is to cooperate with God in creating another person.

In short, in heaven there is no more reproduction. The population is fixed, so to speak, and as Christ said, we would be behaving like angels, still with our bodies but which would already be completely spiritualized. That is, our bodily dimension with all its biological and other earthly components would be completely infused with the spirit of God, which is the spirit of love.

In our earthly life, we need to understand that sex has an important role to play. And that is, for us to cooperate with God in the making of man, something that should only be done only in the context of a lifelong commitment of marriage since the making of man and its indispensable need to be taken care of as human persons who are God’s image and likeness would require such commitment.

To sanctify sex means to understand its purpose and use according to God’s will and law about it. It should be trained to behave according to God’s will and law about it. But given our wounded nature, where it is very vulnerable to just follow the blind and erratic ways our hormones and other earthly factors, we really need God’s grace, first of all, and our all-out effort to attain its ideal condition.

Given how difficult this task can be, we have to understand that we may have to resort to some extraordinary means to keep our sexuality in its proper condition. In this regard, a saint once said: “To defend his purity, St. Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, St. Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush, St. Bernard plunged into an icy pond…” (Escriva, The Way 143)

Indeed, we should not be surprised if we need to make use of some extraordinary means to keep ourselves on the right path with respect to how to sanctify sex. Sex should be a clear expression of love of God and of neighbor.

Thus, we need to understand that we can only sanctify sex and use it properly when we grow in our love for God and neighbor, such that we freely follow what God’s will and law on it is. As a corollary to this, we will understand that sex is actually a very sacred thing, and not just a toy to be played around according the movements of human or animal lust.

Email: roycimagala@gmail

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