7 Things Charting Taught Me c/o Cassie Wilson

Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Method are typically associated with married couples trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy…. but fertility awareness encompasses more than pregnancy achievement/avoidance. It’s a refreshing, holistic, reverent way to view the body of a woman and the way it is designed.

Cassie Wilson, a young adult Catholic, shares what she has learned through charting her cycles and diving deeper into the understanding of her feminine genius. Click here to read about what she learned.

You can follow her on twitter @cassiedrajw

If You Wanna Be My Lover by Ken Fitzgerald

“You’ve ravished my heart, my sister, my bride” (Song of Songs 4:9).  I’ve been fascinated by this line in Scripture from the moment I first read it 12 years ago.  The lover calls his beloved, “his sister, his bride.”  Now, this not Marcus Aurelius’ son in the movie Gladiator, tying to hook up with his blood sister.  This is a man who is deeply in love, who God is speaking through to show us a little somethin’, somethin’ about love.  Let’s dive into this…

For me, the journey started 13 years ago when a beautiful young lady ravished my heart.  I had a big crush on this woman and she knew it.  I went to ask her out and she says to me, no, she will not date anyone until she’s known them a year.  She wanted to be friends for one year before dating.   What?!?  At first, I took this as a rejection, but then as a challenge.  This girl was worth waiting for.

When the year came around, I asked her out.  Again, she says, no, there’s another stipulation.  I have to read the book Love & Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla, first, and then she’ll decide.  For real?  Yep.  So I got to work and I’m a really slow reader, but I was motivated like never before and I knocked it out in week.

I can’t tell you how much respect I had for this young lady.  I’m so thankful for her.  She made me wait; she wanted to see if we could be friends first and then possibly build a relationship on that foundation.  In the book, I found out what love is and is not, and what its opposite is:  use.  I learned about the hard-core responsibility one has in using the word love in the context of a relationship between a man and a woman.  I enjoyed having to work for this young woman’s heart.  As it should be!  To a playboy like me, she said, “Prove it, that you really want to love me and that I’m worth it.”  I had so much respect for her, and though we never got married (I decided to pursue the priesthood), that foundation we established has never gone away, and we both, I hope, left each other as better people.

Now a lot of people agree with me on this principle of building a friendship first, but the Scriptures seem to take it a step further and say be brother/sister first before becoming groom/bride.  Ladies, do you feel your spirit jump at the sound of this?  Hopefully!  Guys, are you feeling a little sick in your stomach?  Hopefully not!  This idea is good news, great news!  To learn to express my love/affection for my beloved as a brother to a sister, and vice versa, is a wonderful blessing and a beautiful call.  This is something that will help build a healthy relationship, one that is not based on pleasure derived from making out, fondling, or intercourse, but on care and concern for the other, based on love and service to the other.  It will give you the opportunity to learn to communicate well, the foundation of all relationships.  Learn to have fun together in multiple ways that don’t involve a bedroom.  Learn how each other interacts in group settings, out in public.  Serve the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the youth, together, as a couple or encourage the other to do so even without you.  Do things for one another, pray with one another, build each other up as a brother should his sister, and vice versa.  Protect one another from the dangers of this world, and help them be holy because there are only Saints in Heaven.

Man, to view my beloved as sister/brother first and go from there, that’s tough.  It can be, but for God, nothing is impossible.  Come Holy Spirit!  God come to my assistance.  Lord make haste to help me.  And may we always do what love requires.  Amen.

P.S. If you’re already in a romantic relationship, one that did not begin as sister/brother, it’s never too late to put aside the physical relationship and concentrate on the emotional/spiritual elements, learning to love one another intimately without so much the kissing and/or fondling and/or clothes coming off.   Be creative.  “I can do all things through Him (Jesus) who strengthens me.”  Amen.

Seat Belts and Contraception – What’s the Difference? by Mark Gonnella

There seems to be an irrational confidence in the use of contraception.  In the modern age, the use of contraception is accompanied by the blithely deluded comfort of ‘Well, at least they are not getting pregnant!’  This achievement, as well as the prevention of most STDs, has contraception being touted as a staple of modern medicine with unremitting alacrity.  It is the preferred alternative–nay, the    only perceived alternative–to unprotected sex.  Abstinence is outdated and oppressive.  We are sexual beings and should be allowed to act according to our own nature.  For the secularist, such statements induce no qualms of conscience; but for the Christian, they should.  There is a reason why prior to 1960, there were only two commonly known sexually transmitted diseases, and now over 25 venereal diseases are identified: people are having sex more frequently and recklessly because contraception promotes such behavior.

Contraception promotes promiscuity because it vilipends the sexual act; it makes the serious act of sex into a causal one. Many sensible and intelligent individuals, like Pope Paul VI, knew what contraception would cause because they knew what contraception promotes: a sexual license.  Paul VI in Humane Vitae remarks on this fact in a compelling paragraph that is worth quoting fully:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings — and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation — need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection (HV 17).

It grants the individual all the pleasures of sexual intercourse without the consequences and responsibilities.  It tells the voracious child that he can eat all the candy in the store without getting sick.  But, alas, far off in the distance comes the shrill repartee of the enlightened generation.  They contend that contraception does not promote promiscuity inasmuch as a seat belt does not promote car accidents.  Upon the sound of the final syllable being uttered, laughter fulminates from the enlightened peanut gallery.  The matter thus seems to be settled, for, prima facie, this argument seems solid.  After all, preventive measures do not necessitate that one engage in the action that causes the effects from which the measure prevents.  Bulletproof vests, they will say, do not promote people to shoot each other.  Seemingly, then, this argument settles the dispute.  However, the intuitively conscientious person wants to object to this argument; they know that something is amiss.

The argument that contraception does not promote promiscuity inasmuch as seat belts do not promote car accidents seems sound only because it is deceitful; the argument is not strengthened by logic but by casuistry.  The reason why this argument is false is that it rests on a false analogy.  The intent is to fool the reader to focus on the category of instruments, namely, that both instruments (i.e. seat belts and contraception) act as preventive instruments.  Thus, without further inspection, the argument seems logical because of the congruity of intent of the instruments—each one acts as a preventive measure.  After careful analysis, however, one will immediately see the incongruity of the two acts.  Sexual intercourse and car accidents are qualitatively different experiences. To compare the two in a positive argument (i.e. x does not do this because y does not) presupposes a factual error: that without the preventive measures, both experiences are equal.

Let us unpack this argument further.  The sexual act has two primary negative consequences: unwanted pregnancy and unwanted STDs.  Car accidents have many negative consequences, but two primary ones, assuming that you are driving alone, are serious injury and death.  Clearly, the severity of the consequences of each respective act differs greatly, but the real qualitative difference is what precedes the consequences.  As mentioned above, the sexual act is a pleasurable and desirable act, while car accidents are not.  Whether the preventive measures exist, the former will still be a pleasurable and desirable act and the latter will not. The absence of the preventive measure will not make the sexual act any less pleasurable or desirable.  In contrast, without seat belts car accidents are still undesirable and painful.  Nothing changes with the addition of the preventive measure.  The seat belt may prevent the person from being ejected from the vehicle, but the car accident itself, with or without the seat belt, is still painful and undesirable.  The difference, then, between the two acts (the sexual act and a car accident) is that the experience of the sexual act does change with the addition of contraception–for contraception drastically limits the possibility of the two negatives consequences from occurring.  The car accident is still painful, there is still a high probability of injury to the person(s) in the car, and the damaged car is still a burden to the person involved, even if he was not severely harmed in the accident.

To put it simply, seat belts mitigates the negative effects from an undesirable act (a car accident); contraception greatly decreases the negative effects from an otherwise desirable act (the sexual act).   Therefore, one may argue, that the sexual act becomes more pleasurable and much more desirable with contraception, while a car accident does not become more pleasurable or desirable with seat belts.  The vulnerability of the sexual act is removed, for the person using contraception feels like he is in control of the act.  By greatly decreasing the chances of potential negative consequences, i.e. venereal diseases or unwanted pregnancy, the person believes that he can reap all the pleasurable benefits of the sexual act.  However, it is clear that contraception does not always work.  The issue, though, is not whether it objectively removes the potential negative consequences of sex, but rather it makes people think it does.  This is why it promotes promiscuity because it promotes an inflated confidence in contraception, that one can have the thrills without the dangers, and this illusory feeling of invincibility makes one more inclined to have sex and to have it abundantly.  In contrast, seat belts do not precipitate reckless driving, for the seat belt does not remove all the negative consequences of a car accident, and thus it does not invoke a sense of invincibility; the driver is still vulnerable to injury.  At the very least, the car accident is a large inconvenience for the individual even if severe injuries are avoided.

Clearly, you can see how the comparison between the sexual act and car accidents is a foolish one to make.  The only way that this argument would work is if the two experiences were similar.  If car accidents were comparable sensationally to having sex, but still had the consequences of headaches and whiplash, then the invention of seat belts would make many car mechanics quite wealthy.  However, the fact remains that car accidents and sex are not sensationally comparable, and thus they cannot be compared.