Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sacraments are not Shadows

In talking about sex (or writing about it), you are not talking (or writing) about sex. People have this notion that in ye olden times the predilection to not talk about sex was shoving the "subject" away - repressing it. Certainly this may have been the case at times, but it's not that simple. While there may have been repression or prudishness, we're missing something.

Maybe they didn't talk about it because for them it was so intimately linked with everything else. Ever think about that? Some Catholics love to talk (and appropriately so) about how contraception has caused false dichotomies between everything so that we separate things and compartmentalize them. So it has - including the very starting point in which people say, "let's talk about sex". Contraceptive mentality? You bet.

Again, it's a paradox that Westians and Co. are quite stupid about: when you talk about sex you are not talking about sex. To put it another way: if you wish to have understanding about sex, you will not find it by talking about sex.

And people are stupid to talk about sex as a shadow of the bliss of eternity in heaven. For one, when you talk about sex as the shadow of the bliss of eternity in heaven, the inevitable pull will be to reduce sex to orgasm as your starting point - no matter how much you blather about sacramentalizing this and incarnationalizing that, all the day long (oh, what un-incarnational irony).

In the very attempt to justify the ways of sacred sex to men you have missed something, and have done the very opposite of "sacramentalizing" it. And as a little footnote, the thing about orgasms is that they are not eternal (and those who do seek an eternal orgasm are typically locked away in jail), and thus are not a very good starting point to comprehending (in our very limited way) what eternity is. I'm virgin and I know this well enough, and moreover, that the bliss of heaven will have more to do with the words, "right" and "good", in the very source of all that is right and good.

Of course, all analogies of eternity in heaven are just that - analogies, temporal; but it doesn't mean they are all equivocal. It's odd, that marital sex as an analogy of the bliss of eternity in heaven neuters both marital sex and our image of eternity in heaven. Why would you want to do that to the eternity of heaven? Is your regression to this well-worn pagan view a sort of metaphorical viagra for your dwindling mental capacities? Moreover, why would you want to do that to sex? A shadow?

If you want to call anything a shadow, go and call dating (or courting, if you fancy yourself a noble knight) a shadow of the sacramental union of marriage. But the consummation of that sacrament? That would be the least like a shadow of anything. (Mingling of heat; mingling of fluids; blood and flesh; consummation.) Moreover and most importantly, consummation that takes place in total freedom, enclosed on all sides, husband and wife consume and are consumed (the non-destructive, "unconsuming" sense) within the bond of their own sacrament, and from within this total freedom, open to all the consequences, everyone and everything in the world is loved by them, and within this sphere of total freedom, children are brought up and a family made. This is the very participating in God's creation - of eternal souls - in a way that is set aside even from being analogous with incomprehensible heaven, the eternity from which God creates of His own essence, which is His self-subsistent existence. The logic or language of sex does not contain that of the eternity of heaven; rather the logic of the eternity of heaven contains that of marital sex, with its manifest ends.

Marital sex is right and good, when it is not an end in itself. Just as the act of marital sex is not an end in itself, so it falters when it is used as an analogy of our one true end, which is eternity in heaven with God. Both become neutered in cheap pagan equivocation.

Some fool themselves in retrospect by saying their talk (or writing) about sex is needed because people today don't have a sense of the sacredness of sex. You really think people today fornicate simply because they do not have a sense of the sacredness of sex? Are you kidding me?

No indeed, the subject of sex is not something to be unwrapped or opened up or whatever synonym you wish to use for disclosure. It is to be veiled - with a great many and various veils; all the veils of life. And then you will finally and actually be talking about sex. And so likewise, in heaven we will be doubly, triply cloaked, engulfed in garments made by God.

Update: Unless it wasn't obvious, this post has nothing to with family sex education, which should be given according to parents' decisions.

1 comment:

Kevin O'Brien said...

Over at my blog, a commenter says that TOB and West are finally dealing with something the Church has neglected or condemned all these years - sex.

And yet it's obvious that everything in Scripture and Church Teaching is as much about sex as it is about the great theme of the Bible and Tradition - Love.

For instance, West says "Song of Songs" is all about sex. It's pretty obviously all about love, with sex fitting into love as God intended it, both in that book and in its wider implications.

The notion that we've been Puritans since the beginning of time and that we're only now discovering sex is a baffling and bizarre myth, but the Westians jump all over it.