A couple of weeks ago, I ordered Father James Farfaglia's book, Man to Man, through the web site link that you can find over on the left side of this blog page, near the top, or here. I have been waiting very impatiently for it to arrive, and yesterday it did. I am only halfway through my first reading of this fantastic book, but do not want to wait another day to start commenting on it.
If Christian men were to follow Father James' direction in this book, there would be a sexual counter revolution such as described by Jennifer Hartline in her Catholic Online article in September 2009 here, which concluded with the following exhortation.
It’s time for a radical revolution of responsibility; a revolution of reverence for sex and reverence for life.It is time for a sexual counter-revolution which liberates men and women, honors marriage and reaffirms the beauty and dignity of human love in the Divine Plan.If I had read and taken to heart what Father James has written today, back in the early days of the sexual revolution, which was less of a revolution than a high jacking, I am certain that my life would have been happier. There would have been less seeds of destruction sowed by and for me and for those that I claimed to love along the way, including my three lovely daughters and my former wife, their mother. Additionally, if by some set of circumstances I still had ended up meeting and marrying my current wife, she would have known deep in her heart from the very beginning that I loved her with my whole heart, and much, if not all, of the sorrow that has happened in our relationship would never have occurred.
Recently, one of our daughters asked me if her mother and I still did . . . you know. Before I could answer her, she said: "Wait, I don't want to know." So, I never got to answer, but I did get to think of the answer. Here is the answer that I would give her, if she allowed me to answer. "Yes and no."
But, the No part of the answer is the most important one. My dear wife, who I love more and more each and every day, and I have had an extended period of continence, which is defined as "a refraining from sexual intercourse." We did not set out to do this, but fell into it through illness, in part, and also something going on inside each of us that led us to this time without actually discussing it at any great length.
As a child of the sexual revolution, unwitting though I was, I have been dragged around by my johnson in one sense, though it was really me dragging myself around like a pull toy for all these years. The dark purpose of the sexual revolution was to convince modern man, that sex was really a recreational pursuit, where no harm, no foul meant that guy meets girl, guy boinks girl, while girl boinks him back, and everyone goes away sexually satisfied and happy.
With sadness, I recount that I participated in the revolution. I watched the videos, read the stories, looked at the pictures. I experimented with the techniques, and various partners, or did it by myself, at times when a partner was not available. Even with all that, I have never thought abortion was right, and I came to believe the correct Church teaching about the evils of birth control. But, inside me lust was still burning, and I thought it was normal, deluded individual that I was.
Along the way, I came to the conclusion that pornography and sexual fantasizing was not making me happy, and was having a negative impact on my marriage. I eventually came to realise that whenever I felt lonely, I wanted some sexual titillation to "make me happy." But, it never did. I always felt empty, and even more alone. So, tell me why I was drawn to things that may have tickled my fancy, but left me empty and alone.
I have had many years of physical disability, along with my wife's illnesses to ponder these things, and more importantly to pray about them, and to seek God's will in all of this. Over the years the flames of my lust diminished, but still there was this small ember that could spark up at certain times.
But, a number of things have happened in this year, 2009 that have opened my eyes to God's will in my life even more, and to my role as a husband and father. While the spark of my lust diminished, the spark of my love for my wife and my children grew into a large, very hot, purging flame.
This period of continence between my dear wife and me is but a sign of the love growing in me for her and for others. How many men have said to a woman, "If you loved me you would . . . ", which of course, has nothing to do with love and everything to do with lust.
How many men have said to the woman that they love: "I adore you and want to honour you in everything I do in our relationship." Better yet, how many men have put action into honouring their loved one?
By the grace of a loving God, the one whose birth we are celebrating in just 2 more days, I am doing just that, honouring my dear wife, and growing in love of her more and more each and every day. How long will this period of continence last? I have no idea, and not a serious care in the world about it. My flesh does, but not my heart, and for the first time in my life, I am really following my heart, and loving it, and HER. And above that, I love my GOD, who is healing me of the things that prevent me from being more like Him every day.
So, men, here is what I offer to you. If you want to be happy for the rest of your lives, jump off the sexual revolution bandwagon. Even if you just have the toe of lust on that bandwagon, your life is not free. Read Jennifer Hartline's article from Catholic Online linked above, and get Fr. James Farfaglia's book "Man to Man" also linked above. And above all, pray for the grace to be a real lover.
I guarantee you that if you follow this advice, you will make the woman in your life the happiest woman in the world, and yourself the happiest man in the world.