Grace builds on nature. It does not negate it. This is a bedrock principle of our Faith. But we often don’t understand this critical principle or apply it. In fact, to apply it is rather shocking, even scandalous to many.
How so? Here’s just one example.
During the Christmas season, the Church gives us this mystery to ponder from John’s Gospel: “to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God . . . born not by natural generation . . . but of God” (Jn 1:12-13).
The entire Christian life flows from this supernatural generation in which we are “born of God.” The grace of this “supernatural generation” and “new birth” builds on natural generation and natural birth. It does not negate it. In other words, natural generation – which happens, obviously, in God’s loving design through sexual union – provides the foundation, the model, the picture, the “prototype,” as St. John Paul II puts it, for understanding and entering the mystery of the Christian life.
But this means we have to face – and be healed of – all our diseased ways of thinking about our sexuality and sexual generation.
Yes. It does.
And that is a long, difficult, painful process. Negating the body and sexuality in favor of a “purely spiritual” vision of things is much, much easier. It’s also a diabolical trap, a “loophole,” as St. John Paul II calls it, “to avoid the requirements set in the Gospel” (TOB 44:6).
The Gospel requires us to undergo the painful purifications that allow us to see the body as a theology and the sexual embrace as a “great mystery” that proclaims and reveals our supernatural life in Christ. Only to the extent that we undergo these purifications in our lives are we able to see and live what it means to be “born of God.”
What’s to prevent us from saying “yes” to these purifications?
[tweetthis]The entire Christian life flows from this supernatural generation in which we are “born of God.” – Christopher West[/tweetthis]
Photo copyright 2006 Andrew Morrell, Flickr