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By Susan Skinner, Catholic Stand, December 4, AD2017
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 5:30
My friend called me the other day. She had gotten into her car to take her children to school. Her husband had left the radio on a sports station. The advertisement came on for one of those drugs like Viagra, and the announcer stated, “because you deserve intimacy.” We deserve it.
According to the ways of the world, it is something we deserve. It isn’t a gift, a free gift from God. Still all these years after the fall of man, we don’t get it. Everything we have is a gift from God. In the garden, Adam and Eve had everything, they lacked nothing. They lived in the Divine Will but the serpent, convinced them they deserved to be like God, and so they ate of the fruit and brought sin into the world.
My friend adeptly pointed out that even in their sin God continued to give. Adam and Eve had clothed themselves in fig leaves once they “knew they were naked,” but God gave them “garments of skins” to clothe them. What God gifts us is lasting. What we think we deserve is usually fleeting and will leave us naked, ashamed and empty.
It is really astounding to me the state of our world. In watching the news lately, it seems there has been accusation after accusation in both Hollywood and in the Political realm of how men have belittled the dignity of women. This is what the era of deserved pleasure has wrought. Once we start thinking we deserve something, we grasp it for ourselves instead of waiting patiently for what God wants to gift us to receive.
In our day and age, Lust has actually become one of the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. Why? Because lust is catapulting us into grave sins that allow us to dehumanize other people. Once we dehumanize them, all the other sins can follow. We are using people for “deserved” pleasure, which really isn’t intimacy at all. Intimacy is knowing someone at their core. We are called to be intimate with God. The world has everything disordered.
I read an article in Good Housekeeping that was essentially accepting of incest. The logic was that these were siblings who were not raised together and had a Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA). Incest has long been outlawed because of the genetic mutations it can cause in children. But in a society that “deserves” pleasure at any cost, we now have contraception and abortion to take care of that issue. Once you morally accept one disorder that takes you away from God, it becomes very easy to start accepting all kinds of things.
I felt like God was asking me if I live in Sodom and Gomorrah. I couldn’t answer. Can I find 10 people that don’t accept at least one of these things; contraception, abortion, divorce, gay marriage, IVF, surrogacy, pornography, prostitution, masturbation, cohabitation, fornication…
I hope I can, but I know most accept at least one of these as something they “deserve,” just look at all the screaming among feminists about birth control being a right that they deserve. Everyone thinks they deserve pleasure, children can be bought and sold as commodities, woman are denigrated, families are torn apart, children are murdered in the womb, and all because we want immediate satisfaction which we think we deserve. I don’t say this to minimize the struggle individuals go through, but to show as a society the direction we are headed.
Remember, Jesus took all of this on. If you want to know what you deserve, look at the cross. There lies your sin. Your sin looks like bloodied death and destruction. That’s actually what you and I deserve. But what Christ wants to give you is a gift. Love doesn’t ask what I deserve. Love is thankful for the gifts given. Love sacrifices. Choose love, and order yourself rightly to God, even when it’s hard, even when you don’t get what you desire because what God desires for you is much bigger. And when we fall, which we all do, repent of the sin, confess the sin, and do penance. These are the things that order us back to God.
Love is Patient
Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited,
it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offense or store up grievances.
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but finds its joy in the truth.
It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.
( I Corinthians 13: 4-7)
Love is patient. Our society doesn’t seem to understand the concept of waiting anymore. Love is kind. Just look at social media and see if you see kindness. Love is not jealous. Can you think of a person who isn’t currently desiring what someone else has? or isn’t offended by what someone else has? Love is not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrong, but rejoices in the right. Does this sound like our society? And lest you start pointing fingers at others, we must pull the planks out of our own eyes first. Transformation of society actually begins in your own heart. Rightly order yourself towards God, people will notice the peace in you and will ask, how do I get there? You can answer, through Jesus Christ.
A Call to Conversion
This is not meant to condemn those who have participated in the sins I listed above. This is a call to conversion, for the Holy Spirit to convict hearts and order you towards love. Jesus said to the adulterous woman, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” John 8:11. Let’s at least try to take the second part to heart so we don’t end up condemning ourselves.
Photography: See our Photographers page.
My name is Susan Skinner and I am a lifelong Catholic. I attended all Catholic schools including the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
I am a mother to 3 children and a wonderful husband and we now reside in the South. I love living in the South.
Though I have always identified as Catholic, it was the murder of my friend in 2010 that brought a transforming change to my heart and made me a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I now make it my mission to spread His Love and Good News everywhere I go. Jesus isn’t just someone we should just know about, He is someone we should KNOW, personally. He has made me new. I am now the Adult RCIA and Faith Formation Coordinator of a Catholic Church where I live and I know God has brought me to where I am. I am nothing without him.