Father, could you help me order my sexuality?
Unfortunately, I did not receive any Catholic moral teaching.
Thank you, your opinion helps me.
1. You ask me to put in order sexuality.
It is no mean feat.
But I do it for your and for many others’ benefit by giving you some essential lines.
2. The first thing to keep in mind to put our life – and in this case sexuality – in order is the goal, that is, sanctification.
It might seem strange what I tell you, but it is precisely the end that outlines the path to take, in the same way that if one wants to go to a certain place, he tries to study the road that leads right there and nowhere else.
Today many people on their travels let themselves be guided by a satellite navigation system and they do well.
We have our own satellite too, if we can call it that. It is Jesus, who defined himself by saying “I am the Way”, and immediately afterwards added: I am the Truth and I am the life (Jn 14:6).
3. We must never lose sight of what the Lord says through the letter to the Hebrews: “Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).
Our every intention should aim to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, his thoughts and feelings.
In fact, it should aim at preserving and increasing the possession of Jesus in our heart.
Only He can fill with his presence our heart, that has rightly been called the ultimate solitude.
It is true that others can also be present in our hearts through thought and affection. In any case, however, they are present only morally, affectively.
But nobody can be present with his own person. This is God’s exclusive prerogative.
Those who live in the grace of God know what I am saying because they verify it for themselves.
Those who habitually live in the state of sin cannot understand it.
To understand what I say, it is necessary to experience it. In fact, hearing about it from the outside someone could say that it is an illusion, in the same way that a blind man could define the descriptions of a beautiful landscape as fantasies.
4. In order to preserve and increase the possession of Christ, the source of all joy and indeed of the purest and most incorruptible joy and also the source of all blessing, it is necessary that you constantly fill yourself with Him and rekindle his presence and mutual conversation.
This happens by listening to his word which is communicated to you through Sacred Scripture, through prayer and participation in the Sacraments.
In short, it is about living friendship with Christ. It is an extraordinary friendship not only for its contents but also because it is continuous for those who live in grace and it is always a source of joy for the sense of interior fullness it confers.
For this reason, to order sexuality and affective life well, I would put the daily Eucharist in the first place.
Don’t be surprised by this. Because Jesus, in the prayer he taught us, says to ask the Father for the grace to have our supersubstantial Bread every day.
Our translation speaks of daily bread, but the term used by the evangelists in Greek and materially translated into Latin by Saint Jerome is that of suprasubstantial bread.
The supersubstantial bread is Jesus, who defined himself with these words: “I am the living bread that came down from Heaven” (Jn 6:51).
How beautiful it would be if we were taught to pray by saying: “Give us our supersubstantial bread every day” …
Everyone would understand what it is.
5. This obviously should be accompanied by daily prayer, frequent confession, living with the Lord and for the Lord.
If you do so, setting the goal well, you will already find yourself substantially oriented and ordered not only in the depths of your life but also in your emotional life.
6. The second thing to do to order sexuality to Christ, because “all things were created through him and for him” (Col 1:16), consists in keeping in mind what the Lord has commanded to do (they are his positive moral precepts) and also what he has forbidden to do (they are his negative moral precepts).
7. Starting from what he has forbidden, I would like to recall that negative moral precepts oblige always and in every case (semper et pro semper), because they regard actions that are not good in themselves, since they deprive of God’s grace and involve moral degradation.
Therefore, nothing should be cleared (to use the language of your previous email) of what Sacred Scripture calls sin. So the actions that exclude from the Kingdom of God and make us lose his personal and life-giving presence must not appear in any way in our life.
These are the actions mentioned in Sacred Scripture with the following expressions: “immorality, impurity (this word in those days was used to indicate masturbation), licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5: 19-21) and: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6: 9-10).
So here is the second thing you need to do to keep your sexuality in order: never do any of the mentioned actions because in themselves they do not aim at the end for which God has endowed us with sexuality.
This is why they are said to be in themselves (intrinsically) disordered.
Therefore avoid any disorder. All that is forbidden by God is contrary to our deepest needs and is poison.
8. The third thing you should do to order sexuality is to live it fully, remembering that the meaning of sexuality is to dispose the person to the gift of self in love.
The Magisterium of the Church presents sexuality as “an enrichment of the whole person – body, emotions and soul – and it manifests its inmost meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love” (Familiaris consortio, 37).
If this is sexuality, you immediately see how precious it is and how it touches a particularly important inclination in our life.
John Paul II said that it concerns the innermost being of the human person.
However, it must be recognized that it is not easy to keep oneself always and in everything in the logic of self-giving.
Therefore, to maintain sexuality in order, in each of us is urgent the formation of an interior habitus that keeps us in the logic of self-giving.
This interior habitus is purity, also called chastity, which according to a beautiful expression of the Church’s Magisterium is “the spiritual power which frees love from selfishness and aggression” (The Pontifical Council for the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, 16).
Purity “is not to be understood as a repressive attitude. On the contrary, chastity should be understood rather as the purity and temporary stewardship of a precious and rich gift of love, in view of the self-giving realized in each person’s specific vocation” (Ib., 4).
This implies everyone to know how to be master of himself in everything, to be able to self-give always and in every circumstance.
There is nothing more beautiful than this. And that is why purity was called the beautiful virtue.
Beautiful virtue because it makes everything beautiful.
9. Finally, it should not be forgotten that the capacity to love always remains undermined by the sensual lust (1 Jn 2:16) and there are dark (it is well understood who is alluded to) and manifest forces that incline to impurity so that it is necessary to turn for help to God, who with the grace of the sacraments dulls temptations and gives the strength to overcome them.
This is the fourth thing that needs to be done.
Saint Augustine recognizes this by writing: “(I was) so foolish as not to know what is written, that none can be continent unless Thou give it” (Confessions, VI, 11).
This is why it is necessary to turn to God through prayer.
And it is also necessary to turn to She who according to the interpretation of the Church is “the mother of fair love, and of fear” (Sir 24:24) and who possesses a transfusive purity, capable of infecting those who approach Her.
In concrete terms, we approach Her and let Her enter our life also with the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
This prayer must not be missing in your daily life.
It is important to keep sexuality ordered towards its ends and always directed to the goal to which God has destined it: sanctification.
The directions I have given you may seem generic.
Actually, these are four points that necessarily must always be present to keep our life, including sexuality, ordered to Christ.
I wish you well, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.
Translated by Chiara P.