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Freedom In Vocations


Chiara_

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I heard a woman on EWTN talking about sexual union in such a way that I hadn't heard before. She said it is joyful and can be a holy experience. The entertainment industry has made it seem so dirty and sinful. I think it helps to realize the Blessed Virgin Mary came about by her two Holy parents having sexual union. And to look at married Saints.

"Also, we know that God is a communion of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our marriages can be a communion of persons, an image of the Holy Trinity, when we become one flesh in a way that is open to life. In this way we are given the privilege of being co-creators with God of human life. This is why the Church considers sexual union to be holy."
[url="http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0707.asp"]http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0707.asp[/url]

Edited by JoyfulLife
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Edit: this was re to zunshynn's post

What I worry about with going to a convent vs not is that I think if I go to a convent, the path to heaven will be much...safer, if you know what I mean. Lots of prayer, confession,obedience, and having the goal of heaven present to my mind all the time (which it should be anyway, I do know, but when I get stressed out it is hard to focus on heaven and have interior quiet when the surrounding world is so loud). I don't want to make a bad choice and put my soul in danger. Obviously married people go to heaven all the time - I just don't know whether I specifically would be able to do it.

what about that quote, about how if the Church is the hospital for sinners, the religious life is the intensive care unit? That means that the religious life is a good way to help oneself get to heaven. I can't be of much help in saving other souls if I'm losing my own...so I don't think it's bad to want to go to a convent to live a devout life. I know I can't go in all messed up and expect lots of consolations to start when I get there.

Edited by Chiara_
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[quote name='Maggie' date='30 July 2010 - 04:58 PM' timestamp='1280523494' post='2149995']
Slightly, slightly off topic.

I hope what I'm going to say isn't considered "inappropriate" or scandalous.

But I think regardless of where God calls you, prior to accepting that call it would be a good idea to get a better handle on your sexuality. While everyone approaches first-time sex with a little bit of anxiety (only natural) it's not healthy emotionally or theologically to be so afraid of it that it affects your vocational discernment. What you said about giving birth being humiliating (having doctors look at you down there) suggests that maybe you're not too comfortable with your reproductive organs, how they look, and how they function. You're not alone - many young women who are brought up to be holy and pure unintentionally absorb negative or fearful messages about their bodies.


[/quote]

thank you for your post. I really don't want to go to the obgyn.....
Also I am 21 just for reference.

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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='30 July 2010 - 11:58 AM' timestamp='1280505522' post='2149893']
Wow. You've been getting some fantastic responses in this thread.

You are reading St John of the Cross' Dark Night? That is heavy, advanced stuff and reading stuff that is way ahead of a person can really mess with them. You really need a good spiritual director and it would be great to read simpler works, like the life of St. Therese, especially good books of God's love, etc.

Praying for you.
[/quote]

I don't think I am going through the spiritual Night, and will probably not even read that part yet. The book is two parts and the spiritual Night is the second part. The first part is about the night of the sense, which is when you stop getting consolations. I haven't gotten frequent consolations in a while, and a lot of what he says in it rings true. I had actually been avoiding the book for a while because I know it is advanced, but this night of sense part seems to be true and helping. He says this one is very common. It's the spiritual night that is only for the very advanced.

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I really appreciate eveyrbody's posts and I am going to respond to them! Thank you for your thoughtful posts. I just don't have enough time now but I will.

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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='30 July 2010 - 05:29 PM' timestamp='1280528980' post='2150023']
I heard a woman on EWTN talking about sexual union in such a way that I hadn't heard before. She said it is joyful and can be a holy experience. The entertainment industry has made it seem so dirty and sinful. I think it helps to realize the Blessed Virgin Mary came about by her two Holy parents having sexual union. And to look at married Saints.

"Also, we know that God is a communion of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our marriages can be a communion of persons, an image of the Holy Trinity, when we become one flesh in a way that is open to life. In this way we are given the privilege of being co-creators with God of human life. This is why the Church considers sexual union to be holy."
[url="http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0707.asp"]http://www.americanc...s/CU/ac0707.asp[/url]
[/quote]

Excellent post. And, besides being holy, sex is fun! God created it to be that way. Couples who have a good sex life laugh a lot together. (Especially at first, because it takes awhile figure out how to get it right, and you do much better if you can laugh with your spouse at what noobs you are! For most people, the first few times are nothing like what they show in movies.) There is a reason why the sacrament of marriage is celebrated with parties, and dancing, and having fun. The sacrament is very serious, yet is also (correctly, I believe) a cause for celebration, like almost no other. (I think baptism would have more celebration than it does, except the couple is too tired from taking care of a new baby. The first few months, as much as most parents are "over the moon" as the British would say, they are also suffering from a lack of sleep!)

And, sex does create a special bond between two people that I can't explain. That's why divorce is so awful (but, in some cases, like mine, I was given no choice). I, at least, had that bond with my ex, and having to break it broke my heart and I haven't been the same since. (I don't keep in touch with him, so I while I know some "facts," I know nothing of how he is doing emotionally.) I have met people who have recovered from a divorce with no problems at all. When I meet people like that, I strongly suspect that they never really gave their whole heart away to the other person in the first place. But, in marriage (like the religious life), you are called to give your whole self, to "put all your eggs in one basket," or else it isn't really marriage.

Edited by IgnatiusofLoyola
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"One of the most important concerns dependence upon human affection. It applies to the need for affection and the demonstrations of it which entangle so many young people in both light and serious love affairs. The temptation to seek affection is common to every vocation and the devil will lay a trap for such hunger wherever he finds it, seeking to bar it from reaching its end in God. Although St. Therese was teaching her novices that to seek satisfaction for self in human affection builds a barrier to knowing fully God's love, the principle applies to lay life as well as to the religious."

[url="http://www.ewtn.com/therese/stubborn.htm"]http://www.ewtn.com/...se/stubborn.htm[/url]


Detachment. It's a hard one, but possible.

Edited by JoyfulLife
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Interesting...

"We find union and intimacy with Christ in the Eucharist, and it’s an equivalent intimacy to that of a husband and wife consummating marriage....our desires for sexual intimacy are in truth a desire for perfect union with Christ, and they can only be filled by Christ." Terra
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=19131"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=19131[/url]

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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='30 July 2010 - 09:02 PM' timestamp='1280541729' post='2150084']
Interesting...

"We find union and intimacy with Christ in the Eucharist, and it's an equivalent intimacy to that of a husband and wife consummating marriage....our desires for sexual intimacy are in truth a desire for perfect union with Christ, and they can only be filled by Christ." Terra
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=19131"]http://www.phatmass....showtopic=19131[/url]
[/quote]

That's wonderful. I have also heard a priest say something similar, to the effect that the union and love of a husband and wife in sexual intercourse is a way of helping us understand how much love Christ feels for us, and the joy Christ feels when we love him in return. I like that analogy. And, for me, at least, it helps me better understand Christ's love for me.

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[quote name='IgnatiusofLoyola' date='30 July 2010 - 11:14 PM' timestamp='1280542465' post='2150090']
That's wonderful. I have also heard a priest say something similar, to the effect that the union and love of a husband and wife in sexual intercourse is a way of helping us understand how much love Christ feels for us, and the joy Christ feels when we love him in return. I like that analogy. And, for me, at least, it helps me better understand Christ's love for me.
[/quote]


"...is a way of helping us understand how much love Christ feels for us..."
Can you please explain that? "Feels for us..." In what kind of way is love detected in love making? Is it all physical organ sensation? I'm sure it's not easy to describe but I'd appreciate some kind of explanation.

...joy...total self-giving...

Edited by JoyfulLife
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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='30 July 2010 - 09:23 PM' timestamp='1280543007' post='2150097']
"...is a way of helping us understand how much love Christ feels for us..."
Can you please explain that? "Feels for us..." In what kind of way is love detected in love making? Is it all physical organ sensation?
[/quote]

I can understand your question, because it is a difficult concept that is hard to find the right words to explain. It is DEFINITELY not all physical organ sensation, although that is an important part of it. In some way, that I don't completely understand, sexual intercourse creates an emotional and spiritual bond between husband and wife that includes, but transcends, the physical sensation. Somehow, and this is a paradox, while you still remain an individual, at the same time, your spouse becomes a physical part of you--"Becoming one flesh" may, after all these centuries, be the best way to explain it.

Another explanation that resonated with me, is definitely secular, but still expresses it. In his song, "Hearts and Bones" Paul Simon talks about his marriage and divorce from Carrie Fischer. The theme of the song "hearts and bones" is repeated several times, but at the end, the lyrics say something like, "You take two bodies and you twirl them into one, their hearts and bones, they won't come undone." Somehow, through marriage and sexual intercourse, you become united not only in your heart, but in your very bones.

Perhaps other people who are married (or who have been married) can explain it more eloquently than I can. Because it is definitely something spiritual, not a "rational" concept.

Edited by IgnatiusofLoyola
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Can you explain what in the way of emotions and spiritual is experienced? Ex. joy, affection, passion, contemplative love. Can it at all be compared to the ecstacies and high contemplation the Saints have experienced?

So are you saying that what a spouse experiences from their spouse in love making, is recognized for being from God (all good is from God) and so it helps your relationship with God? Does it get you more in touch with the love that comes direct from God, in general and in for example, Adoration, prayer, etc.? Does it change your relationship with God, elevate your love and prayer with God?

It is compelling, because God could have brought children about in any way. For example, a women just eating a certain plant and ending up pregnant. But, He chose this intimate, amazing union. Beyond creating children though, it must do something to their marital union and souls.

If there are any answers people would rather PM me about, feel free to do so.

This whole conversation is going to boggle Chiara's mind, heh.

Edited by JoyfulLife
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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='30 July 2010 - 09:49 PM' timestamp='1280544566' post='2150111']
Can you explain what in the way of emotions and spiritual is experienced? Ex. joy, affection, passion.

So are you saying that what a spouse experiences from their spouse in love making, is recognized for being from God, all good is from God, and so it helps your relationship with God? Does it get you more in touch with the love that comes direct from God, in for example, Adoration? Does it change your relationship with God, elevate your love and prayer with God?
[/quote]

Ideally, it should do all those things.

In sexual intercourse, you are sharing every part of yourself with your spouse. You "let go" and allow your spouse to see every part of you, even very personal expressions of joy that no one else sees, except God. Orgasm brings with it a definite "joy." To call it a "physical sensation" doesn't adequately explain it. And, by sharing such a private part of yourself with your spouse, it breaks down barriers, so that ideally you find it easier and more natural to share ALL all of your emotional and physical thoughts and feelings with your spouse, even things that are very personal, or that you might be ashamed of, that you have never talked about with anyone else before, making the emotional bond closer.

For physical anatomical reasons, and also because there are some possible down-sides to well-meaning attempts to promote purity, women can often find it difficult to overcome feelings that there is something sinful about sexual intercourse, even between a husband and a wife. For a man, orgasm is almost automatic. Some women reach orgasm easily, others find it very difficult. So, part of the way a husband shows love to his wife is to work on making it as easy as possible for his wife tell him and show him what pleases her most, something that most women find very difficult to share, at least at first, with the goal that she will achieve orgasm in sex, along with her husband. (By the way, I don't believe there is any "magic" in simultaneous orgasm. In fact, in some ways it is better not to, because then the husband or wife can concentrate on enjoying their spouse's experience of the joy of orgasm.) The idea that a woman is supposed to get as much physical pleasure as the man is so important in Jewish culture that it is actually part of the Jewish marriage contract that a husband is to make sure that his wife is physically satisfied in sexual intercourse. (I have never read the actual words of a Jewish marriage contract, so I can't quote anything, but I have been told and read in many different places that this clause is there.)

Ideally, this joy and breaking down of barriers will help your relationship with God, too, so that you better understand the joy God feels when you love him, and that you find it easier to share things with God in prayer that you might not have shared before. Obviously, God knows all about us, even if we don't tell him. But, somehow, admitting to God our faults and weaknesses, and getting in return not retribution or punishment, but a feeling of sharing of burdens, brings a great deal of peace. Obviously, God does not want us to sin, and it's not that he never corrects us, but it makes us closer to God if we can share those things willingly with him.

Orgasm also has positive health effects for the body. I haven't read the specifics recently, but I believe it can reduce blood pressure, help your sleep, etc. Not to mention that the feeling of being loved and accepted by both your spouse and by God, makes you feel happier. If your spouse, a human, can love and accept you with your faults, how much more can God accept us?

Obviously I am talking about ideals, and all these things won't happen immediately, and will take time and work. I know that doesn't sound romantic--Hollywood has a lot to answer for. But, that is part of the marriage relationship, and I, at least, believe that if couples can learn to share their feelings and needs, and to show thoughtfulness to each other in sexual intercourse, so that each of them enjoys sexual intercourse as much as possible, including the woman achieving orgasm as often as possible, that the marriage is stronger for this. I think that the more we feel loved and accepted by our spouse, the easier it becomes for us to understand and accept the very deep love God has for us. In fact, I'm not sure that we have good words in English to describe that deeper level of love in sexual intercourse--the word "love" seems inadequate.

Also, when a marriage is good, we thank God for it every day of our lives. So it helps our prayer life in being constantly grateful to God for the true love of a spouse, something that is unfortunately rarer than it should be--it is a gift, a very rare and precious gift.

I've never read "Theology of the Body" so I don't know if it captures all I've written or not. My natural thought is that it is virtually impossible for a man to understand what a woman wants, needs, and feels in sexual intercourse without her explaining it to him. Sexual intercourse and orgasm are both VERY different for men than for women. So, while I think it is possible that JPII was able to capture all this, I have a hard time imagining how a celibate male, and, I assume, a virgin male, could truly understand sexual intercourse in marriage. But, the Holy Sprit (and, with any luck, some input from married, candid women) has ways of helping people understand things they have never experienced. I hope so.

I didn't have a perfect marriage, so I didn't personally experience all these things. But, I learned enough to understand the ideal I wanted, and what I would have loved to have had. I've also talked with women who do have close, loving marriages and satisfying sex lives (although no marriage is perfect), so I know these ideals are possible, if rare, and they are not achieved without work and close sharing and trust on both sides. To come even close to these ideals is a true gift from God.

Edited by IgnatiusofLoyola
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Amazing. Thank you so much for your explaining.

There is something about the whole fleshy part that makes it a challenge for me to see it in entire holiness, but hopefully I'll grow more.

It sounds like it really brings people deeper within themselves, more in-tune. And I can see what you were saying about how in being more open with your spouse, you are with God. And that in being accepted by a spouse, you understand better God's total acceptance.

The thing that is hard for me to understand is, with such incredible intimacy between spouses, how do they keep God first place, above their spouse? With such a oneness, it's got to be a challenge.

There was a program on the 700 Club cbn.com about couples that pray together, especially before making love together. It was incredible to hear how much closer it brought them. I guess that is a way of keeping God first place, and really making love union a holy experience.

Edited by JoyfulLife
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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='30 July 2010 - 11:18 PM' timestamp='1280549906' post='2150138']
Amazing. Thank you so much for your explaining.

There is something about the whole fleshy part that makes it a challenge for me to see it in entire holiness, but hopefully I'll grow more.

It sounds like it really brings people deeper within themselves, more in-tune. And I can see what you were saying about how in being more open with your spouse, you are with God. And that in being accepted by a spouse, you understand better God's total acceptance.

The thing that is hard for me to understand is, with such incredible intimacy between spouses, how do they keep God first place, above their spouse? With such a oneness, it's got to be a challenge.

There was a program on the 700 Club cbn.com about couples that pray together, especially before making love together. It was incredible to hear how much closer it brought them. I guess that is a way of keeping God first place, and really making love union a holy experience.
[/quote]

You're welcome.

I think it takes a lot of women some time to get used to the whole idea of sexual intercourse, and to learn how to feel free enough to just "let go." The things I was talking about were mostly ideals. Sex is something to work on, but even "practice" can be fun!

The whole idea of marriage is a paradox. You do have an incredible intimacy with your spouse, but you are still yourself, too. You're not a different person at your job, etc. Plus, even with the intimacy (or maybe because of it) spouses have a unique ability to get on your nerves (because, for example, your spouse's behavior in public reflects on you). Even with the intimacy with your spouse, your relationship with God is still all your own (even if you share it with your spouse sometimes).

Plus, spouses have a way of keeping our feet on the ground, and not constantly in the clouds with the ecstacy of love. So, some of your prayers might be, "God, I love X, but why did you give me a husband who leaves his dirty socks on the floor, or who drinks out of the orange juice container without using a glass, or never remembers to take out the garbage?" Marriage is wonderful, but anyone who expects it to be romantic 100% of the time is in for a rude shock. There will probably be times when your prayer to God is, "How could you have let me be stupid enough to marry such a jerk?" So, I wouldn't worry too much. On your own, you will need God as much, or maybe even more, after you get married. (On the other hand, women are as close to perfect as humans can get, and most of all, extremely intelligent, but unfortunately many men forget this sometimes. We have to be patient, both with husbands, and small children. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. LOL)

Edited by IgnatiusofLoyola
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