Monday, April 7, 2014

What is Love?

Love. What is it? Is it a 120 minute Hollywood film where the tall, dark, handsome male lead realizes he is in love with his quirky best friend? Is it antagonizing heartbreak and pining (and whining) that is the epitome of every Taylor Swift song? Is it infatuation? Is it instant gratification? Is it a desire for possessions and things that will one day make us "happy" and "rich"? To all the above. I say no. Love is what we can give to others. Love does not seek a personal benefit. "If only he loved me", "if only I had that", "why can't he see what is right in front of him?" are examples of self seeking desires and do not constitute love.

Love, true love, is four things. Love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. Love is Christ dying on the cross to save us from sins. He gave himself freely out of His love for us and His mercy so we could one day be united with Him. He gave himself totally to us. He didn't say "here is part of my body but not all of it." He is faithful because He keeps His promise to us and His love is fruitful because it brings about new life in Him daily.

We need to be this example of love every single day because no matter how undeserving we may believe someone to be of our love and no matter how much pain someone has caused us we are so much more undeserving of Christ's love and His sacrifice and mercy.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Since this is my first post :) I'll give you a little background. I got engaged to the most wonderful man I know about 2 months ago (and we will be married 5 months from now!). A few days before we got engaged (it just happened to be really great, weird timing...God amazes me a lot), I met with a Creighton model fertility care practitioner. It had been weighing on my heart that natural family planning was something I needed to look into for my marriage with my future husband and other than saying "yes" on January 31, 2014, it was the best decision I could have made.

It all began with a CD and the radio. I was listening to one of my Lighthouse Catholic Media CDs or AM 920 and someone had mentioned Humanae Vitae. It was something I had never heard of but something that should have definitely been on my radar. I have always been and I will always be very very strongly against abortion. But contraception? I never saw the issue. That was until I started doing my research. Humane Vitae is an encyclical letter by Pope Paul VI. In it he talks about the Catholic church's stance on contraception and  things that he predicted in this letter are occurring in today's society hugely due to contraception. Contraception affects how we as a society view the dignity of human life. It changes marital relations and family life. It reduces something that God created as holy to something that is a counterfeit.

I could go on much longer about contraception and I will, probably, at some point. For now though, two thoughts. One scientific. One religious. Contraception of all sorts works to reverse fertility. Fertility is not a disease that needs to be cured. It is something that shows us we are healthy. The pill in particular can often work as an abortifacient. It thins the lining of the uterine wall and once conception occurs it can prevent that fertilized egg (the baby) to not be able to attach. It can also increase a women's risk of breast cancer due to unnaturally changing the hormones in our bodies (if you didn't know, the pill works to "trick" your body into thinking it is pregnant to attempt to stop ovulation). Why are we, as women, allowing this into our bodies when we try so hard in so many other ways to keep our bodies healthy? If we are going to care for our bodies through good diet and exercise we also need to research and understand what else we are putting into our bodies. We need to be careful to not always trust society's "quick fix" especially in this instant gratification culture we live in.

I read or heard on the radio something interesting. We all know that the 100 percent foolproof way to avoid pregnancy is chastity or abstinence. Before the pill was widely distributed, we as humans had a foolproof way to avoid pregnancy. Once the pill came into play, the information distributors fed society was that this is what they needed to avoid pregnancy. No. We have always had what we have needed to avoid pregnancy...self control. Contraception allows society to pursue personal gratification and these distributors feed us information to sell their product. Do they honestly care about women's health or the dignity of human life? I doubt it. Otherwise we would be educated in our health classes as young women knowing exactly what different methods of hormonal contraception do to a woman's body. We are being sold a product that I honestly do not believe promotes love, human dignity, families, and every human being's right to life.

Second. God created sex for life and love (within marriage!). If you take away part of that "nature" of what sex was created for, it is no longer that thing, but it is something else altogether.

If you want to know more I'll probably blog about the Creighton Method (and NaPro Technology!) I have been learning. Don't worry everything Creighton is positive!

For more resources I highly recommend:
Humane Vitae
Theology of the Body for beginners by Christopher West
Contraception: Cracking the Myths by Janet Smith (mp3 or cd)
From Love, For Love, By Love by Fr. Michael Schmitz (mp3 or cd)
Sexual Freedom by Christopher West (mp3 or cd)

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