Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christ the King: Is He King of Your Bedroom?

Today is the feast of Christ the King.

Christ's Kingdom is predicated upon a simple yet daring spirituality: sacrificial love. "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it" (Luke 17:33). Wherever Jesus went, He preached the necessity to give away oneself totally for the sake of the Kingdom. To the apostles, Jesus told them to leave their families and professions and "Come follow Me... I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19). To the rich man looking for salvation, Jesus told him to sell all his belongings "and give the money to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; and then come, follow Me" (Luke 18:22). John the Baptist, who was "preparing the way of the Lord" (Mark 1:3), gave his head for the Kingdom. Paul was beheaded too. Stephen was stoned to death. Peter was crucified upside down.

A righteous king does not lay down one set laws for his subjects and another for himself. Nay, Christ the King preached sacrificial love and modeled it perfectly by His behavior. For the sake of anyone who wished to enter the Kingdom, He bestowed upon the world the greatest symbol of sacrificial love: the crucifixion. Christ gave Himself away unreservedly for love of you, me, and poor sinners everywhere. He forgave sins and prayed for us from the cross until His very last breath. Nothing was held back.

Contrary to sacrificial love is contraception. Regardless of the mode (withdrawal, intrauterine device, condom, pill, chemicals, etc.), it is an obstructionist act between bodies. Equally, what's done to the body is also done to the soul; so what spiritual message is it sending? The message is a refusal to be totally self-giving. Contraception is undeniably about partially withholding oneself. Someone has something that is undesirable to give. The woman is rejecting the man's gift of fertility and/or the man is rejecting the woman's gift of fertility. Consequently, it is not an act of selfless love.

One of the problems that come about through the widespread use of contraceptives is the perversion towards women as sex objects (like prostitution and pornography). It gives men the freedom to satisfy their own lustful desires without taking into account the psychological aspects of women -- women can be used for male pleasure. It is no wonder that women who sleep around, and not men, are the ones called pejorative terms, because it is by the contraceptive mentality that they chain themselves to male lust. Other problems arise too: the woman has to bear the kids, while the father is not obligated to raise them; the woman has the higher risk of catching diseases, not the man. What freedom is that? That’s deception. That certainly is not selfless love.

The Catholic Church does not teach (nor has ever taught) that sex is for procreation only. Nay, she teaches that it has procreative and unitive powers, and the powers are inseparably linked according to God's design. Trying to hinder any of the two is to prevent God's will. A Christian should no more try to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of sex than to separate Christ and His Church. Can you even imagine Christ withholding any part of His nature from His Bride (the Church)? That would not be selfless love. We should try to imitate Jesus, in His love, to our spouse, as He does to His spouse.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" (Rev 3:20). The moment a married couple opens the bedroom door to Christ the King, sexuality is placed in its proper context. it puts a whole new spin on our sexuality, and reminds us that we are not our own end, but ends to the supernatural. St. Paul said, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body" (1 Cor 6:19-20).