Sexuality and God’s Covenant of Love

On March 10, 2014, young adults gathered at West 50 Pourhouse and Grille in Mississauga for Theology on Tap West. Professor Moira McQueen PhD, from the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, gave a talk entitled, “Sexuality and God’s Covenant of Love.” Using the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes n.49-52 on Marriage and Family, H.H. Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, and St. John Paul II’s “Catechesis on Marriage,” McQueen focused her presentation around three themes: Original Solitude, Original Innocence, and Original Unity, as found in St. John Paul II’s lectures on the “Theology of the Body.”

The first theme, Original Solitude, requires us to have a deep understanding of our individual identity. We must know ourselves before we are able to know and relate to others, and McQueen offers us three reflection questions on identity: 1. Who am I? I am a being who comes to self-knowledge through the processes of maturation and discernment. 2. What is my vocation? My vocation is to be in relationship with others and to relate to them in a variety of ways. 3. Why am I here? I am here because God created me and wills my good.

The second theme, Original Innocence, requires us to reconsider how we think about others. In the Genesis stories, man and woman knew each other at some depth and were unashamed of this knowledge. In our relationships we must recognize other people as absolute gift. This means that instead of viewing other people as objects to be used and discarded by us, we must regard others as subjects with inherent dynamism who require us to consider and reflect upon them.

The third theme, Original Unity, requires us to reflect on the quality of our relationships with others. In order to have healthy relationships, we must be open to others and totally giving of ourselves in the process. Just as creation is a gift and existence is a gift, so we are gifts to each other. True fulfillment only comes when we give our whole selves to another and hold nothing back because, when we hold back, we diminish the gift that we are and can be for others. This requires reciprocity of relationship where men and women give themselves equally to each other for the sake of transforming themselves and each other.

Professor McQueen’s talk on sexuality and loving relationships encourages us all to take the opportunities in our own lives to use our bodies and relationships to praise and glorify God for the sake of our spiritual development, both alone and apart, and to cultivate real relationships of significant depth with others. When we choose to live this way, having relationships of mutual self-gift, we come to a greater understanding of what our bodies are all about and how we can be better participants in God’s ongoing covenant of love.

— by Abigail L. Lofte, April 10, 2014