A man and a woman, uniting in sexual intercourse, do so as free and rational persons, and their union has a moral value, if it is justified by true love between persons.

St. John Paul II, in Love and Responsibility

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Sexual union between a man and a woman provides the greatest meaning, fullest experience when it expresses love between them.

Yes, the meaning derived from sexual union rests on the love a man and a woman have for one another.  John Paul II has it quite right in his 1981 classic book.

Having just finished the past weekend’s book review section and op-ed articles in The Wall Street Journal, I am struck my how many articles tell us (convincingly and accurately) of the turmoil and apprehension (even fear) in our culture today.

Yet, I am equally struck by how few articles make reference to how poorly individuals live as human beings in our culture.

What do I mean?

One can talk about failures in leadership, especially presidential and legislative leadership – and they are real and aplenty, or about the collective worry of the masses in the culture but one rarely sees this analysis: How are we living, person to person, each day?

Few ask: Do we have healthy lives?  Eat wisely?  Love meaningfully?  Have leisure?  Quiet?  Live within the ambit of a faith narrative that is applied to our life and provides meaning that surpasses all conflict and frustration?

Do we love another and are we loved by another?  Do we put our children first or live first of all for ourselves?  Is our family a sane and safe haven?  Or it is chaos and turmoil?  Is it angst, and uncertainty, distance-creating when it should be intimate and comforting, certain despite uncertainty?  Are we anchored in transcendent meaning?  Is our mate a source of strength and understanding?

When you come right down to it, a stable culture requires stable ideas and stable ideals that govern individuals.  When a culture losses its way, it losses its stability and that loss is the loss of personal stability, meaning, virtue, character, compassion, love, sacrifice, service, courage, wisdom and the like.  And, yes – its foundation is in precisely the observation that St. John Paul II makes above.

Make no mistake ideology and policy, power and governance are NOT the problem.  How we each live as individuals is the problem.  At present our leadership is but a reflection of our shabby (even grotesque) existence.

If we are broken and lost in our most fundamental interactions – we will be lost, and badly so, in the larger aggregate actions of the culture.

There is virtually no value in NPR and other news vehicles leading each news broadcast with breathless reports on the President (or the Congress – or the Courts, for that matter) except that each has become a barometer of how poorly we live and how disintegrated we are.

Let’s me honest, we have been led astray because we live poorly and, in effect, invite the chaos we now experience.

Shalom.

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