By Jack Rigert, Director of John Paul II Renewal Center
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. (1John 4:7-8)
It’s getting crazier by the day, one sexual abuse scandal after another. The entertainment industry must be scratching its head and left a little confused by it all. First Hollywood spent the last forty something years stoking the fire of the sexual revolution by writing stories that reduced love to romance, then reducing it further…I’m thinking about shows like “Sex in the City” and a host of others…to sex. And now that we have a generation that has moved on from a diet of soft porn to hard porn and the accompanying violence and cycle of use that goes along with it, they seem to be surprised that so many men in the entertainment industry, as well I might add on college campus’s and the culture at large, are treating women as objects.
What are we to make of all this? It’s a twisted story line hastily written to replace the authentic love story that God wrote in the beginning…and its not very original either…that started with Adam and Eve. Throughout history repeated attempts to rewrite God’s original love story have resulted in flops, yet we still seem surprised when the rewrites leave us unfulfilled, unhappy and left searching for “something more”.
In the first lines of the Bible we read:
God created man in His image;
in the divine image He created them;
male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)
We were created from the beginning already hot-wired for love in the image and likeness of God. Created as sexual beings, male and female, hearts filled with the desire to love and be loved. Created to partner with the Divine to co-create new life and to make love visible in the created world. John Paul ll said that “Sexual Drive is a gift from God.” However, he maintained that the sexual urge must never be separated from love–the desire to do what is best for the other. He noted that all too often, the concept of love is reduced to emotions and attractions. Such sentimental love often results in disillusionment, whereby the woman eventually discovers that the man’s sentiment is merely a screen for his desire to use her.” (Saint John Paul the Great, J.Evert)
As we approach the Season of Advent might I suggest that we consciously take time to slow down and prayerfully reflect on this line from Saint John Paul ll, “The opposite of love is not hatred. The opposite of love is to use someone as a means to my own selfish ends.” Does this line not speak somehow to the world’s shared brokenness and hardness of heart?
Lets start this Advent Season by allowing Christ to transform our hearts. A good place to begin is Father Browning’s article “Praying with Temptations”.