Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sex & Sixth-Graders

Eventually some of the children will try to corner me into talking about sex, by which they mean physical sex. That's fine with me. One of my goals is to take their interest in, and curiosity about, physical sex and direct it toward what’s important about sex in terms of children, marriage, love, faithfulness, commitment.... the big picture of sex. Most of what I say comes from reflecting on my own marriage, wife, and children, and is reinforced throughout the year by bits of Abraham, Sara & Isaac; Adam & Eve; David & Bathsheba; Psalm 128; Cana; Jesus & His Bride; the wedding parable, JP2, Humanae Vitae, etc.

"Honorary sons & daughters, apparently some of you want to talk about that right? Yeah! What about it, exactly? know..... Uh-huh, I can guess; OK then. Y'all are very lucky that I am an expert on this subject....I have 5 kids. But we're gonna talk about sex on my level, the adult level, not the popular-culture trash level."

To start, what do we say God is? God? Huh? Do come along class, God is many things: for example, God is infinite; God is all-knowing....what else? All-powerful?...yes, c'mon, I'm looking for something else.....the subject is sex, isn't it? Yes! God is Love.

And why did he bother to create the universe and put Adam & Eve in it? Because he loves us? Yes, God's love is creative. Love always wants to create, even if it only creates a pretty picture for someone, or a plate of cookies. People always say "what is love" but we're gonna think about what love does instead of what it is. This is what love does: it creates.

Now y'all know how much I love my wife, and that God handed her right to me, saying, "Stratopops, you don't deserve this woman but I'm giving her to you because I love you so much. Try to measure up." So when I look my wife, I see God. Why, let's look at a picture of her right now! (I get out a photo..."Babydoll, I miss you so much, but I have to to make these kids suffer until 7:30," kiss the picture & put it away. This picture kiss will show up later when we discuss images, icons, statues & idol worship.) And your fathers probably think the same about your mothers.

Now if we married people love each other more than words can say, what's the result of our love? Ummm...what? OK, what did God's love do? It created! Yes! So how about our married love? What does it do? It creates? Yeees...and what does it create? Cookies? No guesses? Tell me please, a person is made of...a bodynsoul! Yes! So when men & women get married, they love each other with....bodynsoul? Yes. And that body and soul love creates things that also have a.....bodynsoul? Yes, and those created bodynsoul things are....? Oh... kids? Class of Geniuses, yes, married love is like God's love, it creates you, our children.

Remind me please, where did Adam come from? God made him from dirt! And Eve? From Adam's rib! Where do the rest of us come from? What? Where does everyone else come from....does God keep scraping up dirt and yanking out ribs? Oh, we come from our parents! Yes, from people who get married. Are your parents 'all-powerful life-creating supermen' ?(I say this like the Terminator) Ha, no! Where do they get that power? From God? Yes, God loves married people so much, he lets his creative love work through our love to make more people. He doesn't do it by himself anymore. He relies on us. Could he do it by himself? Well...God can do anything. Of course...but why doesn't he? Umm...? OK, do you ever help your parents with something they can do fine by themselves, make cookies maybe? Yes. So, why do your parents want your help? Because you feel good if you help! Yes, they want you to share in doing good things. The good work comes from you too, even if you help just a little, but do your best. When you cooperate with your parents, you show that you love them. And like a parent, God seeks our cooperation. He doesn't say, 'let me grab some more dirt & ribs and I'll make y'all a couple of kids.' Instead, He asks, 'why don't the three of us make some children?' God relies on men & women's married love to make more people. That is, God depends on our human love for His divine love to continue to create new people. Married people mediate God's creative love, as in Confession the priest mediates God's forgiveness (they already know the concept). The Church teaches that married people are God's collaborators, God's co-creators. That doesn't mean we're equal to God, but it means that married love is very important. If people decided to not have any more children, God wouldn't go back to using ribs and dirt; there just wouldn't be any more people. He loves us and trusts us to do the right thing, although unfortunately there are many ways nowadays that people can avoid having children.

But Stratopops, my cousin had a baby with her boyfriend and they weren't married. Yes, that happens because every gift God gives us can be misused. We can sin because God gave us....a free will! Yes, geniuses! Free will.

So the husband & the wife & God all together make new life, and we share in God's glory this way. Now if God lets us share this power, and we are co-creators of new life with God, what kind of person would I be if I said, "No thanks, God, I don't want to share in your creative power, I don't want to change stinky diapers at 4 a.m., I want to have a bunch of fun cars instead?" You'd be selfish! Yes...very selfish indeed. Selfish like an adult? Are real adults selfish? No, selfish like a baby! Yes. And let's remember, I was once 30 years old, unmarried, and had a bunch of fun cars, which made me....a 30-year-old baby! Yes. Boy....y'all are harsh.

Honorary sons & daughters, we see that God shares his creative power & love with married people, so when I look at one of my beautiful daughters, who do I see? Her! Yes, of course, I see my daughter. I expect you to think harder than that, who else? OK, usually a child looks like two other people....what two people, Santa Claus and Batman? Ha! No, their parents! Yes, kids look like their parents. So when I look at one of my beautiful daughters, who do I see? Your wife! Yes, I see my wife, whom I love, in my daughter, whom I also love. Who else do I see? Yourself! Yes, and one more....? God! Yes, I see God in my daughter. It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to be in the kitchen with my family and see God, my wife, and myself in my kids. I'm so used to being a father now, I can see God in all of you as well, which is why when you aren't giving silly answers you're my honorary sons & daughters.

Y'all remember Mr. Slingshot? King David? Yes. He wrote about half of the Psalms, we sing them in Mass, the Responsorial Psalms...I hope y'all sing them and don't sit there and mumble like my daughters do. Anyway, whoever wrote Psalm 128 was a father, like me. Here's part of that Psalm:

You will be happy and prosper.
Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home;
Like olive plants your children around your table;
May you may share Jerusalem's joy and live to see your children's children.
(I can sing this Psalm; depending on classtime and the kids' mood, I'll sing it)

When I'm at the dinner table with my family I feel just like that.

That's what sex is for grownups.

Someday soon y'all are gonna be of marrying age. Most of you will get married. You'll love someone like your parents love each other, the way Jesus loves his Bride....? The Church! Yes! You'll have children too, because you'll share God's creative love. And that will be when you'll understand how much your parents love you, because you'll love your children the same way. Children are great gifts. Ask your parents if you are a gift from God, and report back next week. That's your homework.

Isn't sex interesting?

Image: The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, van Eyck