Even though today is actually the feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, patrons of Europe – more on them later – in the wider world, February 14th is Valentine’s day. Amidst the roses and chocolates, we look at the true meaning of love and sexuality, with Fr Anthony Doe.
“When a person is chosen in love, growth and development begin to take place. Awareness of oneself, of others and a personal sense of identity begin to evolve. Desire for the experience of love is not just connected with the obviously pleasurable sensations of being the object of another’s affection and the well-being that comes from the physical reassurance of love, but from the need that is central to our God-given nature which is to be creative.
“This exists deep within each person and reveals both a longing to express and communicate the mystery of one’s being and experience to others, and the desire to give life and sustain it.
“In the immortal words of the Book of Genesis we are told that ‘God created man in the image of Himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female He created them’ (Gn 1:27).
“Our culture plays on the need for human security and promotes an image of human fulfilment that is based on material prosperity and the gratification of instinctual needs. This is at the root of what one might call a living crisis of love that we have seen emerge in many highly-developed countries where the living presence of Jesus is for many at best an irrelevance, at worst a real threat to human freedom.
“With the gradual acceptance of all forms of artificial contraception the fragmented nature of sexuality has become institutionalised in our culture. The split between the genital and the relational, the procreative and unitive aspects of sexuality, has been slowly destroying many people’s ability to appreciate the gift and mystery of sexuality in a way that can allow God to deepen His presence within them.
The meaning of Christian happiness
“The masculine and the feminine, body and spirit, the drive to receive as well as to give, the desire to be chosen as well as to choose, all participate in an energising movement that is at the heart of what I would describe as the aliveness of sexuality. This finds its focus in the power and drive to give life that likewise reveals a complementarity in the joy that accompanies the physical and spiritual experience of the transmission of life.
“It is the grace of the Resurrection that brings Passion and Purity together into an eternal synthesis of love which reveals the full meaning of Christian happiness. It is the gift that Jesus longs to bestow on those he has chosen in love, those chosen to be His disciples.”
From True Love – Passion and Purity by Rev. Dr Anthony Doe, who is a Human Development Consultant at Westminster’s diocesan seminary.
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