The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Great Escape

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2Peter(RSV) 3-7

The City of Portland Oregon awaits to learn the decision of its mayor, Sam Adams, as to whether he will resign from office over the revelation of his homosexual affair with a young intern. The fact that the mayor is gay does not shock anyone as he has always been open about that. What has landed Mayor Adams into hot water is that during his campaign he lied about a tryst with an eighteen-year-old student. The mayor is forty-five, and all indications seem to point to the fact that he courted the boy for a couple of years while he was still a minor, and, best case, waited until the lad turned of legal age before making his move.

Adams was not able to escape the corruption of the world brought on by his concupiscence. It's interesting that somewhere in his conscience he knew that what he was doing was wrong. Had he been completely comfortable with the situation he would have boldly proclaimed during his election bid that he had this consensual affair with a person of legal age and that the press should mind its own business. Oddly enough, Portlanders would have respected that. The fact that the mayor bordered on being a pedophile is okay, but that he lied about it is really bad.

Only in Portland.

In modern society, there seems to exist a notion that the proper way to express one's sexuality lies somewhere between hedonism and puritanism. The struggle is finding that right balance between those extreme standards. This may explain why so many struggle in this area. The scale itself is weighing the wrong thing. While everyone has the license to express their sexuality wherever, whenever, and with whomever one wishes, their exists the reality that not everyone has the authentic freedom to do so.

What if one examined the gift of sexuality from the standpoint of vocation? Each person is called in life to a specific state of being. For most it is married life; for some single; and a select few are called into the priesthood or consecrated religious life. What is the purpose of sex in each of those vocations?

The answer for the married and the religious is pretty obvious, but for the single person living in this modern world where family friendly check stands at the grocery store are created so little Suzie does not read the cover of Cosmo and a host of other womens' magazines which try to lure readers with headlines on their covers promising how to be a better slut, it can get a bit confusing. The inculcation of the message that sex outside the covenant of marriage is normal and acceptable has permeated nearly every aspect of modern life, save the Church.

This is not a new struggle. Scripture and even history is replete with examples of people led astray by their abandoning of virtue in favor of vice. It never ends well. Cultures that turn sex into a consumable item neglecting its true purpose don't endure. There exists a real lack of sustainability or moral progress when the very dignity of the human experience wanders too far from the Divine's design.

Sex is not a vocation, an entitlement, or even a passion to be repressed. It is a gift given by a loving God for a specific purpose within a specific calling. One can break the cycle. One can escape the corruption. The Catholic Church's first pope, Peter, reminds all that Christ is the way back to the authentic relationship with God and humanity where one finds true peace.

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are. Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."
1 Corinthians (RSV) 3:16-20

St. Paul wrote the words to the Corinthians who whose culture in their day makes modern day Las Vegas look like Vatican City. Note that one doesn't encounter Corinthians, today. Their way of life did not endure and faded into history, but the Church has thrived and her values and virtues have withstood the test of time as their genesis resides with God.

The great escape is then lies in the fleeing to the virtues leaving the vices to the fallen world.


Blogger Jessie said...

Excellent post and excellent blog. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there.

7:39 PM  

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