By Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel
Special to The Texas Catholic
The New Catechism of the Catholic Church describes human sexuality as that great and beautiful gift of God which touches the core of the human person in his body and soul.
When used as an expression of the permanent self -giving love of husband and wife in marriage and open to new life, human sexuality mirrors the creative love of God himself. In their love for each other, husband and wife give of themselves completely and form a holy union capable of generating new life and forming that essential unit of society that we call the family.
There are many pressures today that seek to divorce human sexuality from the beautiful and noble purpose intended by God the creator. The media, television, movies, and the Internet are all vehicles of the popular movement to make human sexuality or, more specifically, pleasure an end in itself. Sexual desire is even used in commercials to sell products with no reference to the noble and holy purpose of human sexuality — love and life.
The virtue of chastity is the virtue that calls us to live our human sexuality according to our status in life. Love of our neighbor and friendship is the call of every Christian.
For the single person, love of neighbor, acts of charity and caring for those in need, most perfectly imitates Jesus Christ who gave completely of himself and sought nothing in return.
The priest or consecrated religious give their lives in loving service to the church, the body of Christ. They forego the blessings of a personal family and sexual pleasure to make an offering of themselves in service to the larger family of the Church.
Husband and wife in marriage form a union of love and life in giving of themselves exclusively and completely to each other. In this they imitate, as St. Paul says, the union of Christ and His body, the church.
Living a chaste life and using our human sexuality according to God’s plan is a life time journey that works towards doing God’s will. It involves struggle and sometimes failure. But we must never despair. Pope Francis constantly reminds us that God knows us better than we know ourselves and is present for us in our greatest needs. Grace, prayer, emotional maturity and getting to know ourselves and our weaknesses will help us to grow as we seek to do God’s will.
Our human nature is wounded but Christ gives us the remedy. Grace, frequent confession and reflecting on the beauty and positive purpose of human sexuality will help us to live God’s will for us. It will help us reject the temptation to use sexual pleasure for selfish reasons outside of the context of life and love. Objectifying another person only for sexual pleasure demeans the dignity and sacredness of the person.
St. Paul reminds us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, bought at a great price with the suffering and death of our Lord. May we glorify God by valuing the sacredness of human sexuality.
The Most Rev. J. Douglas Deshotel is an auxiliary bishop, vicar general and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Dallas.