October 23, 2009



What is the alternative to an effective sexual redemption? If man remains bound by his lusts, is he even capable of loving with a pure heart? Marriage, in this view, comes to be seen and lived as a “legitimate outlet” for indulging our disordered desires and the celibate life comes to be seen and lived as a life of hopeless repression. And we end up “holding the form of religion” while “denying the power of it” (2 Tim 3:5)? “Ne evacuetur Crux!” – John Paul II exclaims, “Do not empty the Cross of its power!” (see 1 Cor 1:17). “This,” he said, “is the cry of the new evangelization.” For “if the cross of Christ is emptied of its power, man no longer has roots, he no longer has prospects: he is destroyed” (Orientale Lumen 3).

Mature Purity
The teaching of John Paul II is clear: liberation from concupiscence – or, more precisely, from the domination of concupiscence (John Paul II used both expressions) – is not only a possibility, it is a necessity if we are to live our lives “in the truth” and experience the divine plan for human love (see TOB 43:6, 47:5). Indeed, Christian sexual ethos “is always linked . . . with the liberation of the heart from concupiscence” (TOB 43:6). And this liberation is just as essential for consecrated celibates and single people as it is for married couples (see TOB 77:4).

It is precisely this liberation that allows us to discover what John Paul II called “mature purity.” In mature purity “man enjoys the fruits of victory over concupiscence” (TOB 58:7). This victory is gradual and certainly remains fragile here on earth, but it is nonetheless real. For those graced with its fruits, a whole new world opens up – another way of seeing, thinking, living, talking, loving, praying. But to those who cannot imagine freedom from concupiscence, such a way of seeing, living, talking, loving, and praying not only seems unusual – but improper, imprudent, dangerous, or even perverse.

Why, we should ask ourselves, does such a cloud of negativity and suspicion seem to hover over the realm of sexuality? The distortions of sin are, of course, very real. But through the grace of redemption, can our sexuality not become in our practical, lived experience the realm of the sacramental and the holy? Can it not become the realm of a truly sacred conversation? “To the pure all things are pure,” St. Paul said (Titus 1:15). But to those bound by lust, even the pure seems impure. Oh, how tragic when we label as ugly that which is beautiful!

full text: http://bit.ly/23C15x

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  1. What an awesome gift Christopher West has. Thanx for posting this.

    Pax Christi

  2. Anonymous2:19 PM

    He has created a straw man, "his critics are hung-up on sex," and then destroyed it. He thereby dismisses the criticisms of those who argue that sexuality is a special domain of reverence in which prudent langauge (even by TOB speakers) is, every bit as much as prudent thought and act, a part of acquiring and retainiing chastity of which he rightly speak.