“The Blood of Christ,” he said to me as he offered me the chalice. My heart was ready to leap out of my chest, and in front of everyone, I felt as though I might weep (which is a big deal for me).
We exchanged heaven in our hands, the cup of my salvation.
When I was in college, I was blessed to have a wonderful group of girls as sisters who showed me one of my first glimpses of sacrificial love. My family has shown me time and again what sacrificial love is, but these girls showed me how to love people I barely even knew with the sacrifice of Christ. “My greatest desire is to see you in heaven,” it was a special greeting we had for one another, and without me really knowing, it began to transform the way that I saw others around me.
What if I loved with heaven in mind?
I began to ask myself at each encounter with another, what it would be like to be next to this person in heaven. If we had a negative encounter, it would be kind of awkward I think? (can there be awkwardness in heaven? I am not a theologian). Realistically, every moment I fail to love is another moment I gain in purgatory, and lets be real, I want to keep that time as short as possible. So I began to try hard to love with heaven in mind.
Then, I fell pretty ridiculously in love. In reality, I am falling in love slowly. First with my Savior, and then with a man. As a young teen-aged kid I promised God that I would be chaste. I promised God that I would save sex for marriage. I’ll admit, I didnt know exactly what I had gotten myself into in the moment. I feared that no man would ever be willing to go along with such a promise, but I made it anyway, because I couldn’t stand the idea of doing anything else. As the years went on, my high school self transformed into a college graduate and then an adult, and that little girl was right to be afraid. I didn’t know when I made that promise that I would be getting myself into a battle. I didnt know that I would be lonely some days, and that I would be so physically frustrated some days, and that generally, most people who weren’t in the battle with me would take me as an absolute joke.
Chasity never stopped being a joy for me though, the reality that I was treating myself with true dignity and loving the men around me in a sacrificial way was so satisfying that I never really wanted to throw in the towel.
Chastity gave me the chance to see men the way I saw my sisters, that my greatest desire would be heaven for them. I no longer wanted to use men to feel validated, or to be seen, I wanted to love them. I wanted to love them so much that when we saw each other in heaven there would be nothing but joy between us.
So when boyfriend showed up on the scene, chastity was obvious to us. It was a deep desire we both had. He’s a man who loves God more than he loves me, and on the first night of our relationship I told him: “My greatest desire is to see you in heaven.”
The battle of chastity has grown harder.
When I was younger, I thought that when it really came down to it, chastity would be easy because I would love the person so much. I thought that I would never even think of doing anything I shouldn’t because I would be so strong, and so in love. Now though, I have learned that loving a person means loving everything about them, and when that happens, the desire to give of oneself and to receive that person is very very intense.
The body is in a very intimate and specific union with the soul.
So as he hands me the cup of my salvation, I want to weep. The heaven that I am so mortifying my flesh for is exchanged between our very hands. I die to my flesh so that boyfriend can experience the glory of heaven someday and he does the same for me, and then God is gracious enough to allow us to hold him, hold heaven, in our hands. Heaven, everything we are working for, is there, so close. My Savior, the Author of all Love is there with me, with us. His body, blood, soul and divinity made present to me so that I can be nourished. His body given completely for me out of love, even before he knew if I would ever love him. It is the Living Water quenching my thirst.
And it is not just that I hold him, it is that I receive him.
Later I am sitting on the couch when it hits me. God becoming man raises my dignity to a new level, but me receiving God into my body raises the sacredness of my body to a new level as well. The same goes for boyfriend, his body is so sacred. The more we receive heaven, the more we are transformed, and Karol Wojtyla writes:
“Humility is the proper attitude toward all true greatness, including one’s own greatness as a human being, but above all toward the greatness which is not oneself, which is beyond one’s self. The human body must be ‘humble’ in face of the greatness represented by the person: for in the person resides the true and definitive greatness of man. Furthermore, the human body must ‘humble itself’ in the face of the magnitude represented by love…” (Love and Responsibility, 172).
So, sacredness, it requires reverence. The man that I love, God made him, God planned everything for him, God redeemed him.
God lives in him.
God wants heaven for him three thousand times more than I do. The Holy Spirit is alive in his heart. He is constantly being made perfect by the love of God. I must always put aside my desires in order to maintain reverence for the glory of God. I must fight to die to the desire of putting my physical satisfaction before the grandeur of God.
In this battle, I must proceed, though sometimes I am beat down, sinful and confused. All of this because weather he is my Vocation or not, his soul will always be more important than my fleeting pleasure.