Yes, you read right. Holy Sex! A Catholic guide to toe-curling, mind-blowing, infallible loving. That’s the name of the book that I’m currently reading. Although some sections didn’t relate to us (young married couples & conception), I’ve arrived at the part that addresses older couples that have child rearing years behind them.
Gregory Popcak has done a great job with this topic. It’s an excellent companion to any of the Christopher West books relating to Pope Jean Paul II’s “Theology of the Body”. A subject that is near & dear to our hearts. Scott attended TOB classes & in turn we’ve taught TOB for Teens at our church.
Reading this book has been part of my discernment as the wife of a man who is responding to a higher calling. As I was reading along, enjoying the content of “Holy Sex”, I came across this enlightening paragraph…
Christian marriage is founded upon the principal that the husband and wife have an important role to play in God’s plan for perfecting each other in love. God gives you the particular husband or wife he has given you so that you’ll be challenged to grow in ways that neither of you would ever think of if you were left to your own devices. When your partner expresses the desires of his or her heart – assuming that the request does not violate objective moral principals or your dignity as a person - I encourage you to view that as an opportunity to respond positively to the invitation God has written to you on your mate’s heart, so that you may grow in ways that will enable you to become the person God created you to be. In the course of a marriage, God may call you, through the needs of and desires he has written on your mate’s heart, to grow in many ways that, at first, make you uncomfortable. But if you respond to God’s invitation, expressed to you through your mate’s request, you’ll become a better person, a more competent lover, and a more effective servant of God. But if, instead you choose to cling to your own comfort, you will simply not grow, and your marriage may stagnate. You’ll be like the servant who buries his treasure – your very self – in the ground rather than risking anything.
There it was! The reason why I had to stand by my husband and encourage him to respond to this call. This is not only about HIS journey to a stronger spiritual life & a deeper, closer relationship with Christ but also MY journey – predestined & written on Scott’s heart, for me! Mr. Popcak, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I’ve got a little less than half the book to go. The depth of the content causes me to re-read some paragraphs and give thoughtful consideration before I flip the page. So far I’ve earmarked many pages – some because I’d like to discuss the subject with my husband Scott (he’s studied at the TOB Institute & his understanding is deeper than mine) and other pages I’ve earmarked simply because I’d like to share with my readers. Seeing that I’m crediting Mr. Popcak for his work, I hope he doesn’t have a problem with me reproducing sections here on my blog.
Page 105 – On a sensual experience vs a spiritual one.
If I listen to a stirring symphony, watch a beautiful sunrise, eat a wonderful meal, or have a passionate night of lovemaking with my wife, I’m having a sensual experience. But as beautiful as that can be, so far, it’s merely a sensual experience and not, as many people think, a spiritual one. If, however, going to the symphony makes me want to praise God for all of his glory, or viewing the sunrise gives me a sense of gratitude for nature that motivates me to honor Gods’ creation by spending the next weekend picking up litter in my neighborhood, or if making love with my wife makes me want to dedicate my entire life to loving her as God himself loves her, then my sensual experience motivates an expansive response – part of a transcendent growth process – and that experience has been truly spiritual. God calls to me through my senses, and if I respond, a brilliant spark arcs across the distance between God & the human person, creating the bridge we experience as sexuality.
I also really loved his definition of sin. It reads as follows…
- It represents settling for less than God wants to give us.
- It violates the natural order God created in the world, which can lead to the breakdown of the human person and his or her physical, psychological, moral, and spiritual well-being
- It treats people as thing.
I’ve never read such a perfect description of sin or one that so perfectly hits the nail on the head. I’ll have to remember that!
Page 170 – On the sin of contraception…
Contraception is sinful because it treats the people who are making love as mere instruments of giving and receiving pleasure. In other words, people who use contraception are not being lovers to each other. They are simply using their bodies as elaborate sex toys, designed solely for the purpose of giving and receiving pleasure.
I have about 125 pages to go. I’m sure I’ll find more content to share. Please feel free to comment – I’d love to hear what you think about this.