Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Deacon Keith A. Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC

"The heart has become the battlefield between love and lust. The more lust dominates the heart, the less the heart experiences the nuptial meaning of the body.... The body remains an object of lust and, therefore as a "field of appropriation" of the other human being" Pope John Paul II

Several months ago, my wife and several of our children relaxed in the living room and watched a movie that at least had some comedic content and redeeming value. That alone made the experience a rarity these days, given the standard fare on television! However in calling it a rarity I am also referring to the hectic pace of our lives that seems to leave so little room these days for relaxation. We "moderns" seem to be so "busy" and yet have so little to show for the toil.

My wife and I have five children. Only two are still "being raised", as they say, under our roof. We also have a beautiful grandson who, along with our adult daughter, his proud mom, also lives with us. These days, it is this particular adult daughter who seems to have the most blunt and accurate insights of all of our children. Her comments prompted the writing of this article.

That night, a commercial for a mens' hair care product came on several times during the course of the movie. She pointed out the presence of a woman hair stylist in a short skirt who made absolutely no contribution to the promotion of the product. "Why is she there?" she asked. "You see, men just see women as objects". Well, I could not disagree with the comment. I simply did what I always do; I tried to "expand" the insight. "Well, unfortunately, it is a deeper problem", I said. "Women increasingly see men the same way. Love has been robbed, replaced by a counterfeit called lust". "Dad", she responded, "Let's just watch the movie" came the reply.

We live in an age of lust. Now, do not get me wrong. I am not against sex or sexuality. Quite to the contrary, as a Catholic Christian, I believe that it is a wonderful gift from the God who fashioned us as whole persons and made us for authentic love. In the words of the one whose quote begins this article "Man as a person is 'the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake' and, at the same time, he is the one who 'can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself'" Of course, "man" as referred to in this salient insight refers to the one whom God created "male and female." (Genesis 1:27)

Men and women were constitutionally made to give themselves to one another in authentic love. That gift includes their physicality, their sexuality, and their entire selves. That gift of self reveals the "nuptial" meaning of the entire human person, including the beauty and wonder of the human body and the deep and profound mystery of human sexuality. It is in the sexual act, within marriage, that we give ourselves fully away to our spouse. It is intended to be a wonderful, enjoyable and deeply fulfilling experience. After all, God created our sexuality! It is His idea.

We do not "have" a body, as if it is some kind of carrying case, at odds with our "soul". Such a view is not Christian. However, it has unfortunately crept into some of our mistaken notions of religion. That view, one that disdains matter as evil, was actually the bad fruit of one of the earliest heresies to infect Christianity. It was called Manicheeism. The Manicheans actually taught that all matter, including the human body, was evil. Sadly, this error still infects Christianity and impedes our ability to walk into a lust-obsessed culture and proclaim the truth about the beauty and purpose of human love and sexuality as created by God and redeemed in Christ.

Christians called to marriage and family need to understand the plan of God in creating us as physical and sexual beings, live it within chaste, happy marriages, and offer it to an age that has been sold a counterfeit. The Christian view of the human person is that we are a body. We are "body persons", in a sense we are "ensouled bodies" or "embodied souls". Matter is not evil. In fact, in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God came into our midst, becoming one of us bodily. Our ancient faith proclaims the resurrection of the body and the coming of a new heaven and new earth where we will, in the fullness of the Resurrection, live in resurrected bodies!

The God who the Psalmist David tells us "knit us together in our mothers wombs" (Psalm 139) created us to give ourselves away in love to another. Our bodies are configured sexually for that gift. Such a gift, now elevated in the "Paschal mystery" (the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is a symbol of - and becomes a participation in - the ultimate gift that defines the very meaning of our existence, God's gift to us in Christ and our return of a life of surrendered love back to Him. For those who are invited into the vocation of Christian Marriage, that gift includes a physical and sexual expression in the beauty of the conjugal act within the marriage of committed spouses.

Since love is the complete gift of self, that physical gift of self is to occur only within the lifelong bond of faithful marriage. It must also always remain open to its fruit, new life in the gift of children. Thus, we speak of married acts of sexual intercourse as being both "unitive", deepening the unity between the spouses who in the act of sexual love fully give themselves to one another, and "procreative", always open to the fruit of married love, that is children. This profound truth and insight is not about "restrictions" on our human sexuality. To the contrary, it is about its' very liberation and its fullness! Faithful marriage is the environment of love.

It is this vision of the dignity and beauty of sexuality, with all of its enjoyment and intimacy, that moves us away from lust to love. The personal battlefield concerning this is fought in the "heart", which, in the biblical and Hebrew sense refers to the center of a man or woman, the place where the fundamental choices are made. It is there where we also struggle with the reality of what Catholic Christian faith calls "concupiscence", one of the bad fruits of sin, a proclivity to choose wrongly. Our capacity to make right choices has been impeded by sin. We need help; that help comes to us through grace. It enables us to make the right choices and to be converted, made new, in Christ.

The "battlefield" also has a corporate expression in a culture that has lost its way and has been deeply infected by the structures of sin. It is into this sinful, lust obsessed, utilitarian, hedonistic and mechanistic culture that we Christians are now sent on mission. The joy and beauty of sexuality is part of our message of freedom for the contemporary captives. It is also one of the significant contributions that the Christian Church has to offer to an age that has lost its way in a sea of sexual counterfeits that reduce the human body, male and female, to objects of use.

We who bear the name Christians should proclaim, in word and lifestyle, what the Apostle Paul calls the "more excellent way" (1 Corinthians 12:31,13). Our bodies enable us to speak the language of authentic intimacy and love. We need to tell this age that we are not "against sex". To the contrary, we seek to liberate it and invite men and women to experience it in all of its intended beauty, pleasure, wonder and fullness within happy marriages! We need to live such compelling and attractive lives as Christians that contemporary men and women are drawn to this truth and opened by the working of grace to receive it!

Here is our challenge. We need to learn to articulate the truth about authentic human love and sexuality in a contemporary language that people can understand. One of the greatest voices of our age, Pope John Paul II, teaches us how to do just that in his extraordinary writings on human love and sexuality entitled "The Theology of the Body". It is his quote with which I began this piece. His insight into the Christian vision of human sexuality, the human body, the nuptial mystery, human personhood, and marriage is compiled in this incredible volume. It is subtitled "Human Love in the Divine Plan." It has the potential to completely transform our age if it is read and lived. I encourage everyone reading this article to obtain a copy of this historic work, read it, pray through it, read it again, pray through it again...then begin to fully live and proclaim it!

The encounter in our living room last night is not an isolated one. Raising children and continuing to guide them when they "grow up", is not an easy task. I understand the challenges of being a father and a grandfather in this lust-obsessed age. I also understand the challenge as a clergyman, a deacon of the Church, called to proclaim the fullness of truth to the faithful who live in a culture that has lost its moral compass. Finally, I understand the challenge of facing all of this as a citizen, called to live in the "real word", and to create a more just and human society that serves the common good.

The "battlefield between love and lust" is not only fought in the heart, it stretches out across the emptiness of contemporary culture. It will take well trained and truly enlightened Christians to enter into that battlefield, expose and confront the lies of the age, and build a culture of life and a civilization of love.

______________________

Deacon Keith Fournier is a married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia who also serves the Melkite Greek Catholic Church with approval. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, The John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Deacon Fournier is the Senior Editor and Correspondent for Catholic Online.

Contact

Third Millennium, LLC
http://www.catholic.org VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Deacon, 757 546-9580

Email

keithfournier@cox.net

Keywords

Love

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,719

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

The Light of Mother Teresa's Darkness - Part 2
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Christians stand your ground: Graduating class recites The Lords ...
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • St. Mechtildis: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: God is Good
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Killer nanny asks judge for freedom because ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Peter 1:2-7
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of our ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 14-15, 15-16
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 12:1-12
1 He went on to speak to them in parables, 'A man planted a vineyard; he ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 30th, 2016 Image

St. Joan of Arc
May 30: St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and ... Read More