Marriage is Sacred
Marriage is a serious life-long career, ordained by God for the highest possible natural functions. God considers this contract of marriage to be so important that He made it a sacrament. Through this sacrament grace is conferred upon the contracting parties for the proper exercise of their duties towards each other and towards their children, and for the furtherance of their happiness in the family.
The primary purpose of marriage is the bringing of children into the world. Its secondary purposes are mutual help of husband and wife in the care of the family and the allaying of concupiscence or the desires of nature.
Marriage makes it possible for one to cooperate with God in the creation of life. It is the privilege of a father and a mother to be instruments that God uses to bring into the world children made in His own image and likeness, children with immortal souls, children whose destiny it is to be God’s children in this world and in the next.
Though marriage has its difficulties and responsibilities, it also has its tremendous God-given rewards: love and all that love means to human life; the beauty and joy of marital relationship; children, who bless and cement the union of the parents’ hearts.
Since marriage is beautifully sacred, so should be the courtship that precedes it. Your courtship must be pure if it is to be happy; and pure and happy, it will provide the test of character that is necessary for a blessed and a happy marriage.
Only too frequently an improper courtship results in an unhappy marriage. You will trace your broken heart and wretched life to your failure to realize the difference between love and lust in courtship.
The Danger in Personal Sex Attraction
Sex attraction in God’s plan begins normally with adolescence. During the formative years immediately afterward it serves the purpose of uniting boys and girls together in wholesome social activities. It enables them to get a proper appreciation of one another, showing their mutual dependence on, and mutual power over each other.
This is general sex attraction. Once sufficient maturity is reached, personal sex attraction follows. It differs from ordinary friendship and has a God-given purpose, namely, to attract and lock the hearts of two persons together so that each craves a complete oneness with the other.
This desire to blend and share their entire lives is a perfect inducement to marriage. But this type of sex attraction can easily prove a serious danger to your chastity because of the natural urge you have of expressing your love by kissing and embracing.
In the beginning there might appear to be no danger at all because you would not think of any immodest show of affection. Nevertheless, you are emotionally thrilled just to be with this particular person who attracts you in a very special way.
This emotional state is heightened by caresses, and physical passion is very easily aroused. Physical passion cannot be the aim of unmarried people in expressing their love. Never forget the weakness of human nature!
Ever since Adam fell, the appetites of the senses are no longer under the perfect command of reason. In order to subject these appetites, you must exert relentless effort and call upon the grace of God.
Young women should remember that they are generally not so strongly tempted through concupiscence as are men. The young man reacts quickly to stimulation, and such reactions bring with them an urge to just a little more intimacy, which very quickly means an urge to immodesty. If these urges are not controlled, the result is sin.
A young woman, however, will very likely react less quickly in a physical way, though there is always a danger that emotion will cross the line into physical passion even in her case.
But an even graver danger for her is that when her love is strongly stirred by marks of affection, she will yield to her friend’s urges rather than offend him or lose him. When the fires of passion are once enkindled, a natural craving for self-surrender often overpowers her.
This is the danger to chastity that is inherent in personal sex attraction. Therefore, the impulses of personal and physical attraction, namely, the attraction of body to body, should be held in check.
After marriage physical attraction has its place and is the full blossoming of the human sexual instinct. Sex is only then an aid to human perfection and a means of sanctifying and saving your soul if it conforms with the holy law of God.
Purity Is Beautiful
Faith tells you that the use of sexual powers according to the will of God is something beautifully sacred, but the exercise of that same power in any way whatsoever outside of marriage is a desecration; just as the Mass itself is the most glorious thing in the world when said by a true priest, but is sacrilege of the worst kind when some imposter goes through the same ceremonies.
The Christian attitude towards the body is one of great reverence —reverence for something our Lord wishes to be sacred.
Your body is your soul’s helpmate in its quest for God. St. Paul says, “Your bodies are members of Christ – . . you are Christ’s.” For all these reasons you cannot use your body as an instrument of sin. That body is destined to rise with Christ in glory.
At Communion Jesus plants in it anew the seed of the Resurrection. Your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, for God dwells in your soul through sanctifying grace. That temple should never be desecrated by sin.
Chastity is the moral virtue that controls the expression of the sexual appetite. In the unmarried it excludes all voluntary expression of the sexual appetite for sexual pleasure. Unchastity is grievously wrong because its evil lies in the use of a faculty outside the purpose and plan of God and nature.
The faculty of sex has been bestowed upon man primarily for the propagation of the race. It is to be used only in the family and not for the benefit of the individual; otherwise it is a grievous crime against nature, and abuse of a noble faculty, a violation of God’s holy law.
The virtue of purity is beautiful and most pleasing to God. The angels have no need to fight impurity. Man must wage war against the sins of the flesh, and if he remains pure in the face of these temptations, he becomes greater than the angels.
Love purity as a great treasure and the fairest adornment of your soul. Let the desire for complete sinlessness get into your bloodstream. It will have beneficial influence on your whole character, giving you a sense of self-control, a confidence that will enable you to look the world straight in the eye. You will command respect of others.
That, is the reason why a decent young man really respects the young woman who quietly refuses to be “pawed over” and “necked”; he wants a wife who has kept pure. A decent girl breathes a sigh of relief when she finds that a young man respects her as a human being, as a friend, and as a lady.
There is nothing so beautiful and so powerful as virtuous loveliness. Riches, high position, physical beauty—none of these entrances as does sinlessness. Self-control, purity, exalts the soul while preserving it from defilement.
A clean heart is a happy heart. Chastity imparts a beauty and loveliness entirely distinct from mere natural perfection of feature and grace of body.
In the exercise of chastity you need not be prudish or be on the lookout for evil. On the contrary, your virtue, sustained by the Sacraments and prayer, will become your protector from vice.
Guarded by the innocence of your life and the prudent exercise of modesty and dignity, you can meet your friends and enjoy their companionship in a wholesome and unaffected manner.
On the other hand,the vice of impurity is ugly. It is a tyrant. Once you surrender to it, you will find that it will eat away your ideals of moral goodness and will make you afraid of the open.
It will breed selfishness of the worst kind. It will weaken your will and make your reason a slave to mere physical instincts, when it should be their master.
God hates impurity because it is an ugly vice; God loves purity because it is a beautiful virtue, a reflection of His own infinite beauty and sinlessness.
Impurity Is Forbidden
The Natural Law Forbids Impurity.
God has stamped this law upon our very being and it is expressed by our conscience and a feeling of shame when we are guilty. To seek indulgence in the sex appetite without regard to its purpose, namely, bringing children into the world, is a crime against nature and the lowering of ourselves to a level below that of a beast.
This purpose is lawfully sought in the state appointed by God, and that is the married state. The soul and reason must rule the body and its animal appetites. The man who thinks sensual pleasures an end in themselves to be sought quite lawfully whenever desired will himself end in a corrupt heart, an enfeebled mind, and a paralyzed will, his whole character ruined. He is a slave of the devil!
God’s Moral Law Forbids Impurity.
Chastity is a virtue, and impurity is a vice. God forbids this vice in the sixth and ninth commandments: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”
Christ Forbids Impurity.
“Whosoever shall look upon a woman to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5, 28.)“If thy right eye scandalize thee (is an occasion of sin to you), pluck it out and cast it from thee.
For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than thy whole body be cast into hell. And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body go into hell.” Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5, 8).