For St. John Paul II, the opposite of love is not hatred; rather, the opposite of love is to use someone as a means to our own selfish ends. “Theology of the Body for Beginners”
This is not a topic I feel comfortable writing about but it is a topic I feel God is tugging at me to write about.
Have you read “Theology of the Body for Beginners”? If not, you should hop on Amazon and order it now. This little book contains the greatest secret to love – to give of oneself.
When I read this book, God’s desire for me became so clear. His desire for me is to praise, honor and serve Him (St. Ignatius of Loyola “The Principal and Foundation”) by loving others as He loves me. By loving one another, we are gifts to each other. So why is love a difficult topic to write about? Perhaps is not so much love that’s hard to write about but the affects of distorted love.
Two topics I want to explore: self gratification and pornography, one being the result of the other.
What is self gratification? It is seeking satisfaction for oneself and not considering another. You cannot love someone if your love consists of “what’s in it for me?” This is exactly what our late Pope, St. John Paul II states the opposite of love is. If your expectation is for someone to satisfy your every desire, you will never be full. This kind of love is the definition of lust, “personal inclination,” as defined by Webster. In the “Theology of the Body for Beginners,” Christopher West, states that “only a person who is free from the compulsion of lust is capable of being a true gift to another.” If self gratification is our method of love, then we are using others not loving them and we can never be a gift to another as God desires us to be. We can only love by giving of ourselves to another, through our actions of selflessness. Love becomes an object of lust when we only look for what the other person can do for us in a relationship, how they can satisfy our needs.
Our society has distorted love through the sinfulness of lust. The greatest source of this being pornography. Pornography has desensitized our society in what is moral and what is not. Not too long ago, I was wearing a white ribbon for the end to pornography, a lady at work stopped me in the hall and asked me what the ribbon was for. I told her that it was for the fight against pornography. She looked at me and told me, “but that’s where all the good ideas come from.” I think my face displayed a grave expression of shock. The sad fact is that a large percent of our society thinks that pornography is okay and would respond just as this lady did. Pornography is an act of treating another person as an object for the self gratification of another – the viewers. God never intended us to be used for the purpose of another but to be loved in regards for ourselves. The domino affect from pornography filters into so many areas of our society – human trafficking, sexual abuse, affairs, broken marriages, etc. It is binding the hearts of so many and creating a world of objective love, distorted from the true love of God present in our lives, in the Eucharist.
How do we end pornography? I think it starts with prayer for those engaged in pornography to see it as the object of lust and the opposite of love, to begin to take control of the heart and exhibit love that supports a giving of self instead of taking of another’s dignity. We can also educate our younger generation on the affects of self gratification, of lust and teach them to love as Christ loves. The Sacraments are also another vehicle to ending this plague, by receiving the graces from God, freely given to each of His children, to fight the temptation and desire of self love and lustful desires.
God created us to love one another, not to use one another for our own selfish desires. Emptiness is a result of seeking love through self satisfaction. Let’s pray for fulfillment through the true act of love for one another and an end to a distorted selfish view of love.
If the human heart is a deep well, it is true that murky waters abound. But if we press through the mud and the mire, at the bottom of the well we do not find grime and sludge. We find a spring that, when activated, gradually fills the well to overflowing with pure, living water. This spring is the ‘deeper heritage’ of our hearts. “Theology of the Body for Beginners”