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Friday, October 28, 2016

Sleeping Beauty: Wait for True Love

He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not. 

by Susan Fox 

“I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yet I know it's true that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream”
 (Once Upon a Dream from the 1959 Disney classic Sleeping Beauty) 

I was that little girl twirling and singing “Once Upon A Dream” at recess on the school grounds the weekend after the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty was released in 1959. 

Six years old, I closed my eyes, danced, and experienced the dream of love. I knew I wanted to be loved forever by one man in marriage. And no other. 

But can a six-year-old marry? Should she marry? No she must grow up. She must learn first to be a friend and how to discern real friendship and its counterfeit: some men will desire her outer beauty, not herself. They will pretend to care. They will try to use her. 
This is a critical choice. Allow your hormones to choose the wrong man and you condemn your children to a lifetime of misery. For the man you choose will help raise your children. He will be intimately responsible for your protection.

Sexuality becomes truly human when it is integrated into a relationship of one man to one woman in a complete and lifelong mutual gift. Chastity allows the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. (CCC 2337)

Either a human being governs his own passions or allows his lower powers to dominate his life, and then he becomes a slave. In fact, he becomes stupid. And because sexuality is a generative power, how you use it will affect the future of those you will come to love most intimately, your own family. 

I was painting stripes on a parking lot in one of my summer jobs during college, when I overheard a conversation in one of the apartments. It was a mother talking lovingly to her baby to try and protect it from the voice of its father — a harsh drunken voice, speaking to her in a derogatory manner, mocking her in front of the infant. It was a battle of sorts.

Clearly the child was in an unsafe condition and so was its mother. She had made a bad choice. No Prince Charming here. No dream of lifelong love. Not even friendship was possible in that conversation. You cannot love when the love is not reciprocated. The poor woman had fallen into the arms of lechery, and she conceived her child in that compost pile.

Oh but he was gorgeous! And in the beginning he paid attention to her. She was hungry for male attention. She wanted to be loved. Perhaps her father was absent or had
Pope Saint John Paul II
behaved in the same manner. The sexual urge is a force of nature, and the first thing aroused is our emotions. This is called
attraction by Pope Saint John Paul II in his book on Love and Responsibility. 

But he may have only reacted to her in a sensory manner. He did not look at her character, her humanity — just the pretty package. She failed to heed the warning signs, and imagined he had virtues and values that he didn’t possess. Or she might have hoped to change him. Their relationship probably reached the level of sympathy or co-passion. Such is purely affective love, in which the decision and will do not play a role. 

They undoubtedly experienced desire, each seeking the missing good in the other. She became his food, a means to satisfy his desire. She failed to recognise the shallowness of his regard. They never became friends. Benevolence is necessary
for true friendship to exist. Not only must you desire a person as a good for oneself (she’s gorgeous! I want her) but also you must above all desire her good. I want her to be happy. I will make sacrifices so that she may be happy. That’s true love. 

She seemed to benevolently desire good for him. She desperately wanted him to love their child and herself. But the problem was that there was no equal response on his side of the equation. So the attraction and desire fell into hatred in his heart.  Concupiscence perverted it. The first born daughter of unchastity is blindness of spirit. He was unhappy, enslaved by his lower powers. 

Did they have similar interests? A common purpose? People tend to bond with others with similar personalities. Gifted with the first woman, Adam’s happy response was "At last! This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from ‘man.’" (Gen. 2:23) It’s hard to tell from the conversation I overheard. 

Love is by nature not one-sided. It is between persons. If both of them had contributed personal love, full of ethical value, to the relationship then their daughter would be raised in a stable and loving  environment. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla — the future Pope John Paul II — called this reciprocity. When only personal utility (the useful good) or pleasure determines reciprocity, he said, then the relationship is unstable. Trust is impossible in that situation. If she had trusted her spouse, she would not have been correcting him using her conversation with the child.

The future pope concluded that we must test love thoroughly before it is declared to each other, and especially before one starts building  one’s vocation and whole life on it.  

Every human being has the dream of reciprocal love. Only a lifelong committed relationship, full of ethical value, to a person of the opposite sex can create a  happy marriage. 

Today, I walked past the anxious spouse of one of our students. His wife is pregnant, and she was sick with the flu. He didn’t go to work. He was staying by her side all day to see to her care.  

That self-sacrificing love is the kind to engender trust. Their baby will be born to a happy family. 

Susan Fox is working on a master's degree in Marriage and Family at the International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria. 
Interested in studying at the International Theological Institute? You can apply here.
Each student at ITI is only charged 6,000 Euros a year in tuition, but the actual cost of the education is 20,000 Euros.
Donate here

Or in Europe, contact: Dipl. Ing. Alexander Pachta-Reyhofen, Director of Development (Europe), International Theological Institute, Email: a.pachtareyhofen@iti.ac.at

1 comment:

  1. This is so rich in Theology....of The Body...from my limited knowledge of this inexhaustible treasure left by Papa(St) John Paul 2. The illustrations are so apt.
    Thank you.
    God bless
    Warm regards and prayers
    From India
    Edwin Rodrigues