but they still continue in sin. But it is impossible for him who perseveres in mental prayer to continue in sin; he will either give up meditation or renounce sin. A great servant of God used to say that mental prayer and sin cannot exist together. And this we see by experience: they who make mental prayer rarely incur the enmity of God; and should they ever have the misfortune of falling into sin, by persevering in mental prayer, they see their misery, and return to God. Let a soul, says St. Teresa, be ever so negligent, if she persevere in meditation, the Lord will bring her back to the haven of salvation.” (St. Alphonsus, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, CHAPTER XV: MENTAL PRAYER, Moral Necessity of Mental Prayer for Religious)
Thus, in accordance with the advice of St. Alphonsus, a person should not be afraid of also praying from the heart, preferably at all times, in addition to saying vocal prayers, since this is the most perfect, highest and unitive form of prayer with God.
It is, however, a really bad sign when a person feels an aversion or contempt to holy prayers like the Rosary. A person should do his utmost to persevere in praying the Rosary and other vocal and mental prayers since the Devil often tempts people to stop praying them because he knows and feels how much they lessen his power over a person’s soul.
St. Louis De Montfort (A.D. 1710): “Blessed Alan de la Roche who was so deeply devoted to the Blessed Virgin had many revelations from her and we know that he confirmed the truth of these revelations by a solemn oath. Three of them stand out with special emphasis: the first, that if people fail to say the ‘Hail Mary’ (the Angelic Salutation which has saved the world – Luke 1:28) out of carelessness, or because they are lukewarm, or because they hate it, this is a sign that they will probably and indeed shortly be condemned to eternal punishment.” (Secret of the Rosary, p. 45)
Most people, for instance, do not frequently give themselves enough time to perform their prayers, and especially longer prayers, and the consequence of this will be that most of them will pray very little, or seldom. A good form of prayer, then, that is more easily performed by everyone, no matter how troublesome prayer may ever feel to you, or however little time you might imagine that you have to spare, is simply that you talk with God as with a real person at all times: in your car, in the toilet, in your work, when you eat... yes everywhere and at all times a man can talk with God, Our Creator and Father as with a real person in the same way as little children does towards their own Father, like when they tell Him how much they love Him, and mentioning all their troubles and worries and that He might help them and protect them, supplicating His help all the time. We should thus learn from these little Children and imitate them and behave as they do towards our own Father and Mother in Heaven, by telling Them that we love Them and that we want to love Them very much and that we need Their help to love Them even more and that we need Their help to resist sin and do good, whatever it might be. A person who prays with confidence in this way everyday will certainly not be lost or be neglecting his duty to pray well. Jesus Christ himself teaches us this very concept in the Bible.
Luke 18:1 “And he [Jesus] spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint...”
Haydock Commentary: “Always to pray, i.e. to pray daily, and frequently; (Witham) and also to walk always in the presence of God, by a spirit of prayer, love, and sorrow for sin.”
In truth, if we are like children, rejecting the vanity, shallowness, greed and lust of the world, we shall never be damned: “Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence.” (Matthew 19:13-15)
Haydock Commentary explains these verses: “Jesus said... Suffer the little children... and declares that the kingdom of heaven is the portion of such as resemble these little ones, by the innocence of their lives and simplicity of their hearts. He, moreover, shews that confidence in our own strength, in our own free-will, and in our merits, is an invincible obstacle to salvation.”
The word of God in the Holy Bible teaches spouses to practice chastity for three days while praying to God to beget offspring for the glory of His Holy Name before consummating the marriage by the marital act
The word of God and Holy Scripture further teaches that one should not consummate the marriage immediately after one has been married, but that one should wait for three days while praying earnestly to God to bless their marriage, “because for these three nights we are joined to God: and when the third night is over, we will be in our own wedlock.” (Tobias 8:4) The Holy Archangel Raphael, acting as God’s messenger, instructs husbands and wives to always wait three days in prayer before consummating the marriage.“But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her.” (Tobias 6:18)
These words shows us that spouses must remember their bond with the Lord first and foremost and that the fleshly or physical part of the marriage must always come secondhand. By this highly virtuous act of abstaining from marital relations for three days, the devil’s power over married couples is undoubtedly thwarted and diminished. Holy Scripture thus advices spouses to be “joined to God” for three days in prayer before performing the marital act. Not only that, but spouses should always fervently pray to God before every marital act and ask Him to protect them from falling into sin, and also after the marital act in order to ask Our Lord to forgive them if they committed any sin during the act. This is the safe road of the fear of God that every righteous man or woman should follow if they wish to enter Heaven.
Tobias 6:18, 20-22 “[St. Raphael said to Tobias:] But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her.… But the second night thou shalt be admitted into the society of the holy Patriarchs. And the third night thou shalt obtain a blessing that sound children may be born of you. And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayst obtain a blessing in children.”
Haydock Commentary explains: “Verse 18. Days. No morality could be more pure. The Christian Church has given similar counsels [of abstinence before marital consummation], in the Capitulars of France, and of Erard, archbishop of Tours, and in many rituals published in the 16th century. The council of Trent only advises people to approach to the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, three days at least before marriage. The Greeks, in their third council of Carthage, (canon 13) order the first night to be spent in continence.”
Notice how Our Lord and God in the biblical book of Tobias promises that those who pray and abstain from the marital act for three days before having marital relations shall receive the inestimable graces of “sound children” on the third night and that they shall be admitted “into the society of the holy Patriarchs” on the second. The honor of being “admitted into the society of the holy Patriarchs” is of course too great to even describe in human terms. The blessing on the third night of “sound children” obviously means that those couples who do not perform the marital act for the sake of lust or too often, and who are virtuous and wait for three days in accordance with the promise of Holy Scripture, will receive a child without birth deformities or defects. This may be hard for many to believe, but this is really and truly what Holy Scripture is promising and saying.
It is sad to see that none today seem to care anything about these promises or virtuous deeds that promise these remarkable and wondrous graces that Our Lord said He would bless a virtuous couple with. One could think that even a worldly or ungodly couple would appreciate the grace of not receiving a child that is deformed and that they, if they believed in God or were aware of these promises, would act in accordance to the words of the Holy Scripture; but now neither “Catholics” or so-called Christians nor any people of the world care anything about these words of our Lord that promises the inestimable grace of receiving “a blessing that sound children may be born of you.”
Tobias 8:4-10 “Then Tobias exhorted the virgin, and said to her: Sara, arise, and let us pray to God today, and tomorrow, and the next day: because for these three nights we are joined to God: and when the third night is over, we will be in our own wedlock. For we are the children of saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God. So they both arose, and prayed earnestly both together that health might be given them, And Tobias said: Lord God of our father, may the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains, and the rivers, and all thy creatures that are in them, bless thee. Thou made Adam of the slime of the earth, and gave him Eve for a helper. And now, Lord, thou know that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever. Sara also said: Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, and let us grow old both together in health.”
St. Augustine also taught that the first man and woman were waiting for God’s order and commandment to engage in intercourse since God created Adam and Eve without sexual desire for each other. Thus, St. Augustine, with the rest of the Church, understood that sexual desire was not an aspect of God’s design for the male and the female: “For why should they not await God’s authorization for this, since there was no drive of concupiscence coming from rebellious flesh?” Augustine concluded that sexual intercourse was “fundamentally alien to the original definition of humanity.” By this we can understand that the biblical teaching (in Tobias 6:18) of chaste and humble prayer for three days (before one consummates the marriage by the marital act) comes directly from God’s original plan and will for humanity before the fall and original sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden; for before the fall, the human will was infinitely more directed to obeying and following God’s perfect will and direction in all things rather than their own reason and judgment, as it sadly is now.
This is also why St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215) taught that “the first man of our race [Adam] did not await the appropriate time, desiring the favor of marriage before the proper hour and he fell into sin by not waiting the time of God’s will… they [Adam and Eve] were impelled to do it before the normal time because they were still young and were persuaded by deception.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, On Marriage XIV:94, XVII:102-103)
It is thus certain and an established fact by both the Holy Bible and Apostolic Tradition that those spouses who do not practice chastity and prayer for a while before they perform the marital act will much more easily fall into sexual sins of various sorts since they will be more easily controlled by the devil and his demons because of their carelessness and sloth in praying to God and invoking His Holy aid in resisting sinful inclinations and temptations.
Anne Catherine Emmerich was also told in her Revelations that Adam and Eve performed penance for seven years before “Seth, the child of promise, was there conceived and brought into the world”. Our Lord and God – whom they had offended – consoled them with this child for their loss of their first son, Abel, after seven years penance, which shows us that God requires penance from spouses who behaves badly or lustfully and that penance should be done without command. “I have learned many things which took place in ancient times in the Grotto of the Crib. I remember only that Seth, the child of promise, was there conceived and brought into the world by Eve, after a penitence of seven years. It was there that the angel told her that God had given her this offspring in the place of Abel.” (Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ) Either one makes penance in this life or in the next in Hell or in purgatory. God always requires penance when people commits evil acts. That is just a fact.
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself indicates in The Revelations of St. Bridget that after the fall and sin of Adam and Eve, the devil aroused sensuality in them, and that their first sexual act or acts after the fall were heedlessly and thoughtlessly planned. The reason for this was that they were inspired by the devil to act more in accordance to their selfish lust than their reason, and that they did not pray to Our Lord before the marital act in humility, pleading to and asking Him to guard them from sinning during the act, as Our Lord wants all spouses to do. The Revelations also shows that Adam and Eve understood their lustful error after this happened, and that they thereafter were afraid to perform the marital act, and chose to completely abstain from the marital act for a while because of their fear of God’s wrath. They thus learned that Our Lord wanted them to pray for a while before they performed the marital act, and awaited Our Lord’s commandment for them to come together in marital union again, and after a while, God directly told them that they could have marital relations again.
The Son of God speaks: “After the disobedience was enacted, my angel came over them [Adam and Eve] and they were ashamed over their nakedness, and they immediately experienced the lust and desire of the flesh and suffered hunger and thirst. … And for the sensuality the devil had aroused in them after their disobedience, I gave and created souls in their seed through my Divinity. And all the evil the devil tempted them with, I turned to good for them entirely.
“Thereafter, I showed them how to live and worship me, and I gave them permission to have relations, because before my permission and the enunciation of my will they were stricken with fear and were afraid to unite and have relations. Likewise, when Abel was killed and they were in mourning for a long time and observing abstinence, I was moved with compassion and comforted them. And when they understood my will, they began again to have relations and to procreate children, from which family I, their Creator, promised to be born.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1 Chapter 26)
It is thus clear that “he who neglects prayer in the time of temptation is like a general, who, when surrounded by the enemy, does not ask for reinforcements from his monarch. Adam fell into sin because when he was tempted he did not look to God for help. We should say a Hail Mary, or at least devoutly utter the holy names of Jesus and Mary. "These holy names," St. John Chrysostom declares, "have an intrinsic power over the devil, and are a terror to hell." At the name of Mary the devils tremble with fear; when she is invoked their power forsakes them as wax melts before the fire.” (Rev. Francis Spirago, The Catechism Explained, A.D. 1899)
St. Ephraim, On Prayer Before Intercourse: “O Blessed Fruit conceived without intercourse, bless our wombs during intercourse. Have pity on our barrenness, Miraculous Child of virginity.” (Hymns of St. Ephraim: Hymn 7 On the Nativity)
Loving God during intercourse and at all times
We have already seen that Our Lord wants us to love and think about Him both before, during and after the marital act. There are many pious examples in Holy Scripture and the lives of the Patriarchs, Prophets and Saints that we can learn from in this regard. Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, however, never had marital relations. So the holiest example of a marriage that includes natural marital relations is the marriage of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s parents: St. Joachim and St. Anna. They were chosen by God to be the parents of our Lord’s Mother.
Concerning their married life, Joachim and Anna certainly engaged in natural marital relations. But does any faithful Catholic believe that these two Saints would either make use of unnatural sexual acts or advise anyone in any situation whatsoever to do so? Certainly not! The very idea is incompatible not only with the holiness of Saints, but with the ordinary holiness required by Christ of every married couple. All married persons are of course required by God to refrain from every kind of mortal sin, including sexual sins, actual mortal sins as well as objective mortal sins. We are all called to imitate the Saints, even the least worthy among us.
In truth, The Mother of God also reveals to us in The Revelations of St. Bridget that Her holy parents Anna and Joachim: “would rather have died than to come together in carnal love; lust was dead in them. I assure you that when they did come together, it was because of divine love and because of the angel’s message [that revealed that they would be the parents of the holy Mother of God], not out of carnal desire, but against their will and out of a holy love for God. In this way, my flesh was put together by their seed and through divine love.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 9)
Since Anna and Joachim’s marriage was so holy, pious spouses should also pray to these two holy Saints in Heaven to protect them from sinning in the marital act. When one reads these words about these most holy parents of Our Lady, and see how they despised the carnal and sensual love of the flesh and of the world, one can clearly see the great power chastity has in drawing down blessings from God. If God would have noticed any kind of sensuality in St. Anna and St. Joachim, they would never have become the parents of Our Lady. In truth, it was not fitting that the vessel of grace and the real Arc of the Covenant in which the Word of God made flesh dwelt, should be conceived in any other way than with a perfect and pure will, and without any shameful lust, just like it would have been for all parents in the Garden of Eden before the original sin of Adam and Eve.
Although a normal couple will not be spared from feeling any lust or concupiscence as it happened to Anna and Joachim through a special and divine grace, this should in no way hinder them from loving and desiring God during the procreative act. The Love of God should thus be the primary motive of the marital act along with the love of and desire to beget children for a couple rather than desiring or lusting after their own spouse. Most couples however choose to think about themselves or their spouse in an inordinate way and consequently to love themselves or their spouse during the procreative act. Anna and Joachim, however, clearly chose the best part, that is, loving, thinking about, and desiring to please God. If we think about pleasing God during the act of marriage and in our daily life, then our love will be directed towards Him – which is the best part. God’s love never dies! so it’s clearly a great mistake to seek love from a fleshly object that will rot and be eaten by worms in the grave, rather than seeking it from God, who lives and reigns forever and ever! Husbands and wives should thus love their own, their spouse and their children’s souls, instead of their own and other peoples bodies that will rot and be eaten by worms in the grave. This is an advice to those couples who wish to be perfect, as Anna and Joachim were perfect, and for those who wish to be united with God through love.
St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 38, Instructions For Married Persons: “Matrimony is a great Sacrament, but I speak in Christ, and in the Church... Would to God that his most beloved Son were invited to all marriages, as he was to that of Cana; then the wine of consolations and benedictions would never be wanting; for the reason why there is commonly a scarcity of it at the beginning is, because Adonis [the god of beauty and desire] is invited instead of Jesus Christ, and Venus [the goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility and prosperity] instead of his blessed Mother. He that would have his lambs fair and spotted as Jacob’s were, must, like him, set fair rods of divers colors before the sheep when they meet to couple; and he that would have a happy success in marriage ought in his espousals to represent to himself the sanctity and dignity of this sacrament. But, alas! instead of this there are a thousand disorders committed in diversions, feasting, and immodest discourse; it is not surprising, then, that the success of marriages should not correspond. Above all things, I exhort married people to that mutual love which the Holy Ghost so much recommends in the Scripture. O you that are married! I tell you not to love each other with a natural love, for it is thus that the turtles love; nor do I say, love one another with a human love, for the heathens do this; but I say to you, after the great Apostle, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church." [Ephesians 5:25] And you, wives, love your husbands, as the Church loveth her Saviour. It was God that brought Eve to our first father, Adam, and gave her him in marriage; it is also God, O my friends! who, with his invisible hand, has tied the knot of the holy bond of your marriage, and given you to one another; why do you not, then, cherish each other with a holy, sacred, and divine love?
“... But while I exhort you to advance more and more in this mutual love, which you owe one another, beware lest it degenerate into any kind of jealousy; for it often happens, that as the worm is bred in the apple which is the most delicate and ripe, so jealousy grows in that love of married people which is the most ardent and affectionate, of which, nevertheless, it spoils and corrupts the substance, breeding, by insensible degrees, strifes, dissensions, and divorces. But jealousy is never seen where the friendship is reciprocally grounded on solid virtue: it is, therefore, an infallible mark that the love is in some degree sensual and gross, and has met with a virtue imperfect, inconstant, and subject to distrust. Jealousy is an absurd means of proving the sincerity of friendship. It may, indeed, be a sign of the greatness of the friendship, but never of its goodness, purity, and perfection; since the perfection of friendship presupposes an assurance of the virtue of those whom we love, and jealousy presupposes a doubt of it.
“If you desire, O husbands! that your wives should be faithful to you, give them a lesson by your example. "How," says St. Gregory Nazianzen, "can you exact purity of your wives, when you yourselves live in impurity? How can you require of them that which you give them not? Do you wish them to be chaste? behave yourselves chastely towards them: and, as St. Paul says, ‘let every man know how to possess his vessel in sanctification.’ But if, on the contrary, you yourselves teach them not to be virtuous, it is not surprising if you are disgraced by their perdition. But you, O wives! whose honor is inseparably joined with purity and modesty, be zealous to preserve this your glory, and suffer no kind of loose behavior to tarnish the whiteness of your reputation."
“... Ladies formerly, as well as now, were accustomed to wear ear-rings of pearl, for the pleasure... But for my part, as I know that the great friend of God, Isaac, sent ear-rings, as the first earnest of his love, to the chaste Rebecca, I believe that this mysterious ornament signifies that the first part which a husband should take possession of in his wife, and which his wife should faithfully keep for him, is her ears; in order that no other language or noise should enter there but only the sweet and amiable music of chaste and pure words, which are the oriental pearls of the gospel; for we must always remember that souls are poisoned by the ear, as the body is by the mouth.”
Love is necessary for Salvation
For a person to be Saved, the word of God teaches that one must love his God with “his whole heart, and with his whole soul, and with all his strength, and with all his mind” (Luke 10:27). If any person fails to do this, that is, if he chooses to love something more than he loves God, whatever it may be or however small it may be, he will not be Saved. Consequently, it is of the greatest importance that all people who desires their salvation must do everything in their power to acquire and foster the love of God in their own hearts, soul, mind and body, by loving Him very deeply and at all times, and by praying to Him for help in loving Him worthily. Indeed, if a person can grow a deep love and attachment for their husband or wife or their children and have a fervent desire for them constantly, then, likewise, a person should have no problem in growing an even greater love and longing for God in his own heart, if he only so wish and desire: “For to Christians this rule of life is given, that we should love the Lord Our God with all the heart, with all the soul, and with all the mind, and our neighbor as ourselves… God alone, to find whom is the happiest life, must be worshiped in perfect purity and chastity… in chaste and faithful obedience, not to gratify passion, but for the propagation of offspring, and for domestic society.” (St. Augustine, On the Morals of the Catholic Church, Chapter 30, Section 62, A.D. 388)
Jesus Christ in the Revelations of St. Bridget gives us a perfect description of how good spouses in the spiritual marriage are to love and desire God above all else.
The Son of God speaks to St. Bridget: “For that reason, I wish to turn to the spiritual marriage, the kind that is appropriate for God to have with a chaste soul and chaste body. There are seven good things in it opposed to the evils mentioned above: First, there is no desire for beauty of form or bodily beauty or lustful sights, but only for the sight and love of God. Second, there is no desire to possess anything else than what is needed to survive, and just the necessities with nothing in excess. Third, they avoid vain and frivolous talk. Fourth, they do not care about seeing friends or relatives, but I am their love and desire. Fifth, they desire to keep the humility inwardly in their conscience and outwardly in the way they dress. Sixth, they never have any will of leading lustful lives. Seventh, they beget sons and daughters for their God through their good behavior and good example and through the preaching of spiritual words.
“They preserve their faith undefiled when they stand outside the doors of my church where they give me their consent and I give them mine. They go up to my altar when they enjoy the spiritual delight of my Body and Blood in which delight they wish to be of one heart and one body and one will with me, and I, true God and man, mighty in heaven and on earth, shall be as the third with them and will fill their hearts. The worldly spouses begin their marriage in lustful desires like brute beasts, and even worse than brute beasts! But these spiritual spouses begin in love and fear of God and do not bother to please anyone but me. The evil spirit fills and incites those in the worldly marriage to carnal lust where there is nothing but unclean stench, but those in the spiritual marriage are filled with my Spirit and inflamed with the fire of my love that will never fail them.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 26)
In contrast to the seven good fruits of the holy marriage described by Jesus Christ above, this is how Our Lord describes the seven evil fruits of the evil and worldly marriage:
“But people in this age are joined in marriage for seven [evil] reasons: First, because of facial beauty. Second, because of wealth. Third, because of the despicable pleasure and indecent joy they get out of their impure intercourse. Fourth, because of feasts with friends and uncontrolled gluttony. Fifth, because of vanity in clothing and eating, in joking and entertainment and games and other vanities. Sixth, for the sake of procreating children but not to raise them for the honor of God or good works but for worldly riches and honor. Seventh, they come together for the sake of lust and they are like brute beasts in their lustful desires. … Such a married couple willnever see my face unless they repent. For there is no sin so heavy or grave that penitence and repentance does not wash it away.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 26)
In truth, only the ungodly or idolatrous couple would want to join in marriage to gratify carnal pleasures and evil desires or be working so selfishly in pleasing only themselves rather than pleasing God, who created them and even died for them. God must always come first! and He is always present in Spirit in every action, deed or move we will ever make. Let’s get this saving concept imprinted on our minds: “I am one God in three Persons, and one in Divinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Just as it is impossible for the Father to be separated from the Son and the Holy Spirit to be separated from them both, and as it is impossible for warmth to be separated from fire, so it is impossible for these spiritual spouses to be separated from me; I am always as the third with them. Once my body was ravaged and died in torments, but it will never more be hurt or die. Likewise, those who are incorporated into me with a true faith and a perfect will shall never die away from me; for wherever they stand or sit or walk, I am always as the third with them.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 26)
Jesus infallibly over and over again demands of us that we are to love Him even more than we love ourselves, our wife or even our children.
Matthew 10:37-39 “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.”
Haydock Commentary adds: “Ver. 39. But if he continues moderately happy as to temporal concerns till death, and places his affections on them, he hath found life here, but shall lose it in the next world. But he that shall, for the sake of Christ, deprive himself of the pleasures of this life, shall receive the reward of a hundred fold in the next.”
And in St. Bridget’s Revelations, Our Lord spoke these words describing how Adam and Eve’s love for God was perfect before the fall, saying: “but I alone was all their good and pleasure and perfect delight.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 1, Chapter 26)
The meaning of the above words, “but I alone was all their good and pleasure and perfect delight,” isn’t that a person can’t delight in or feel pleasure in/from God anymore after the fall, but rather that before the fall, God was the only delight and pleasure man ever felt and desired. Before the fall, man did all in God and for God, and no selfish love existed as it does now. After the fall, however, God had to compete for man’s love with human concupiscence and fleshly lusts. God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5), and He wants us to love and desire Him above everything else. So to love God during all times, even during intercourse, is an advice to those couples who wish to be perfect, as Adam and Eve were perfect, and for those who ardently longs and desires to be united with God through love.
St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 39, Of The Sanctity Of The Marriage Bed:“Now, excess in eating consists not only in eating too much, but also in the time and manner of eating. It is surprising, dear Philothea [to whom the book was written], that honey, which is so proper and wholesome a food for bees, may, nevertheless, become so hurtful to them as sometimes to make them sick: for in the spring, when they eat too much of it, being overcharged with it in the forepart of their head and wings, they become sick, and frequently die. In like manner, nuptial commerce... is, nevertheless, in certain cases dangerous to those that exercise it; for it frequently debilitates the soul with venial sin, as in cases of mere and simple excess; and sometimes it kills it effectually by mortal sin, as when the order appointed for the procreation of children is violated and perverted; in which case according as one departs more or less from it, the sins are more or less abominable, but always mortal: for the procreation of children being the principal end of marriage one may never lawfully depart from the order which that end requires; though, on account of some accident or circumstance, it cannot at that time be brought about, as it happens when barrenness, or pregnancy, prevents generation.
“In these occurrences corporal commerce may still be just... provided the rules of generation be followed: no accident whatsoever being able to prejudice the law which the principal end of marriage has imposed. Certainly the infamous and the execrable action of Onan in his marriage was detestable in the sight of God, as the holy text of the 38th chapter of Genesis testifies: for although certain heretics of our days, much more blamable than the Cynics, of whom St. Jerome speaks in his commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, have been pleased to say it was the perverse intention only of that wicked man which displeased God, the Scripture positively asserts the contrary, and assures us that the act itself which he committed was detestable and abominable in the sight of God.
“It is a certain mark of a base and abject spirit to think of eating before meal time, and, still more, to amuse ourselves afterwards with the pleasure which we took in eating, keeping it alive in our words and imagination, and delighting in the recollection of the sensual satisfaction we had in swallowing down those morsels; as men do who before dinner have their minds fixed on the spit, and after dinner on the dishes; men worthy to be "scullions" of a kitchen, "who," as St. Paul says, "make a god of their belly." Persons of honor never think of eating but at sitting down at table, and after dinner wash their hands and their mouth, that they may neither retain the taste nor the scent of what they have been eating.
“The elephant, although a gross beast, is yet the most decent and most sensible of any other upon earth. I will give you a specimen of his chastity: although he never changes his female, and hath so tender a love for her whom he hath chosen, yet he never couples with her but at the end of every three years, and then only for the space of five days, but so privately that he is never seen in the act. On the sixth day afterwards, when he makes his appearance, the first thing he does is to go directly to some river, where he washes his body entirely, being unwilling to return to the herd till he is quite purified. May not these modest dispositions in such an animal serve as lessons to married people, not to keep their affections engaged in those sensual and carnal pleasures which, according to their vocation, they have exercised; but when they are past to wash their heart and affection, and purify themselves from them as soon as possible, that afterwards, with freedom of mind, they may practice other actions more pure and elevated.
“In his advice consists the perfect practice of that excellent doctrine of St. Paul to the Corinthians. "The time is short," said he; "it remaineth that they who have wives be as though they have none." For, according to St. Gregory, that man has a wife as if he had none, who takes corporal satisfaction with her in such a manner as not to be diverted from spiritual exercises. Now, what is said of the husband is understood reciprocally of the wife. "Let those that use the world," says the same apostle, "be as though they used it not." Let every one, then, use this world according to his calling, but in such manner that, not engaging his affection in it, he may be as free and ready to serve God as if he used it not. "It is the great evil of man," says St. Augustine, "to desire to enjoy the things which he should only use." We should enjoy spiritual things, and only use corporal, of which when the use is turned into enjoyment, our rational soul is also changed into a brutish and beastly soul. I think I have said all that I would say to make myself understood, without saying that which I would not say.”
It’s a fact of history and tradition that holy parents often raise pious and holy children. The reasons behind this is that the children of holy and devout parents often imitate the good and righteous deeds of their parents as much as they are able. In contrast, according to numerous saints and spiritual revelations, sinful and lustful parents influence and affect their children by their bad life and example, inflicting sinful thoughts, impulses and temptations upon their children. Thus, every parent who love their children and their future children should do their utmost to live in holiness, knowing that every act they will ever do can have an effect on their children – for better or for worse. Only in Hell will bad parents understand how their deeds effected their children in a negative way, but then it is sadly too late for them. In St. Bridget’s Revelations, it is described how such evil parents will be damned for their sinful lives.
The Son of God speaks: “Sometimes I let evil parents give birth to good children, but more often, evil children are born of evil parents, since these children imitate the evil and unrighteous deeds of their parents as much as they are able and would imitate it even more if my patience allowed them. Such a married couple will never see my face unless they repent. For there is no sin so heavy or grave that penitence and repentance does not wash it away.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 26)
St. Francis de Sales, in his book Introduction to the Devout Life, in the chapter Instructions For Married Persons, gives parents important information about how they are to raise and care for their children: “St. Monica, being pregnant of the great St. Augustine, dedicated him by frequent oblations to the Christian religion, and to the service and glory of God, as he himself testifies, saying, that "he had already tasted the salt of God in his mother’s womb." This is a great lesson for Christian women, to offer up to his divine Majesty the fruit of their wombs, even before they come into the world; for God, who accepts the offerings of an humble and willing heart, commonly at that time seconds the affections of mothers; witness Samuel, St. Thomas of Aquinas, St. Andrew of Fiesola, and many others. The mother of St. Bernard, a mother worthy of such a son, as soon as her children were born, took them in her arms, and offered them up to Jesus Christ; and, from that moment, she loved them with respect as things consecrated to God and entrusted by him to her care. This pious custom was so pleasing to God that her seven children became afterwards eminent for sanctity. But when children begin to have the use of reason, both their fathers and mothers ought to take great care to imprint the fear of God in their hearts.
“The devout queen Blanche performed this duty most fervently with regard to St. Lewis [King St. Louis IX], her son. She often said to him, "I would much rather, my dear child, see you die before my eyes, than see you commit only one mortal sin." This caution remained so deeply engraved in his soul that, as he himself related, not one day of his life passed in which be did not remember it, and take all possible care to observe it faithfully. Families and generations are, in our language, called houses; and even the Hebrews called the generations of children the building up of a house; for, in this sense, it is said that God built houses for the midwives of Egypt. Now, this is to show that the raising of a house, or family, consists not in storing up a quantity of worldly possessions, but in the good education of children in the fear of God, and in virtue, in which no pains or labor ought to be spared; for children are the crown of their parents. Thus, St. Monica fought with so much fervor and constancy against the evil inclination of her son St. Augustine, that, having followed him by sea and land, she made him more happily the child of her tears, by the conversion of his soul, than he had been of her blood, by the generation of his body.”
The lack of fear of God is one of the greatest reasons why spouses sin sexually
The Book of Tobias of the Holy Bible describes how The Holy Archangel Raphael delivered a message from God to the youth Tobias, telling him that: “when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord,moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children… [Tobias said] And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.” This shows us that one must have the fear of God both with regard to the marital sexual act, as well as with all other acts. One should, however, fear to offend God in the marital act more than other acts, as it is so potent to offend God and damn and deceive a person because of its intoxicating and shameful nature.
Adam and Eve’s lack of the fear of God as well as their lack of belief that the punishment of death that they were told would befall them if they disobeyed God’s command and ate of the fruit “of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” shows us that the fear of God was and still is necessary both before and after the fall of man. “And He [God] commanded him [Adam], saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
If Adam and Eve had feared God, they would never have dared to do anything that would have contradicted His Holy Will or angered Him. In truth, the fear of God is not only necessary on this earth and for us humans, but it was and is also necessary for the angels in Heaven. Satan and the third of the angels that he deceived to follow him in his rebellion against God all lacked a fear of God. In contrast to these fallen angels, St. Michael and the rest of the angels all feared God, and thus were confirmed in their station as the most high servants of the Eternal and Almighty. Indeed, the very definition of the name “Michael” is “Who is like God” which is the exclamation and rebuke St. Michael made in Heaven in answer to Lucifer’s proud opposition to God. This defense St. Michael made for God, rebuking Satan, and saying “Who is like God”, as sweet as it is sublime, is an exclamation that represents both awe and reverence for God but also fear and the knowledge of one’s nothingness in the presence of Our Lord. The most common theme in the Bible is that The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 110:10), and that His mercy is only upon those who fear Him (Psalm 102:17; Lk. 1:50; 2 Cor. 5:11; etc.) and thus, it is evident that only wicked spouses who refuse to fear God or Hell dare to commit sexual sins or unnatural and non-procreative sexual acts with each other.
Ecclesiasticus 1:11-40 “The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy. The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed. The love of God is honourable wisdom. And they to whom she shall shew herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the womb, it walketh with chosen women, and is known with the just and faithful. The fear of the Lord is the religiousness of knowledge. Religiousness shall keep and justify the heart, it shall give joy and gladness. It shall go well with him that feareth the Lord, and in the days of his end he shall be blessed. To fear God is the fulness of wisdom, and fulness is from the fruits thereof.
“She shall fill all her house with her increase, and the storehouses with her treasures. The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom, filling up peace and the fruit of salvation: And it hath seen, and numbered her: but both are the gifts of God. Wisdom shall distribute knowledge, and understanding of prudence: and exalteth the glory of them that hold her. The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord: and the branches thereof are longlived.
“In the treasures of wisdom is understanding, and religiousness of knowledge: but to sinners wisdom is an abomination. The fear of the Lord driveth out sin: For he that is without fear, cannot be justified: for the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin. A patient man shall bear for a time, and afterwards joy shall be restored to him. A good understanding will hide his words for a time, and the lips of many shall declare his wisdom.
“In the treasures of wisdom is the signification of discipline: But the worship of God is an abomination to a sinner. Son, if thou desire wisdom, keep justice, and God will give her to thee. For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline: and that which is agreeable to him, Is faith, and meekness: and he will fill up his treasures.
“Be not incredulous to the fear of the Lord: and come not to him with a double heart. Be not a hypocrite in the sight of men, and let not thy lips be a stumblingblock to thee. Watch over them, lest thou fall, and bring dishonour upon thy soul, And God discover thy secrets, and cast thee down in the midst of the congregation. Because thou camest to the Lord wickedly, and thy heart is full of guile and deceit.”
This lack of the fear for God that so rules this wicked society today also verifies the sorrowful truth told by Our Lord in the Holy Gospels that very few of all humans escape being condemned to an eternal torment in Hell. Our Blessed Lady, also echoing this truth of Our Lord, revealed to the Children at Fatima, Portugal, in the year 1917 that, “The sins of the world are too great! The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! … Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God [since these spouses marry for carnal and lustful motives and perform unlawful and non-procreative sexual acts].”
Catholics must understand that few are saved. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed that the road to Heaven is straight and narrow and few find it, while the road to Hell is wide and taken by most (Mt. 7:13).
Matthew 7:13 “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life, and few there are that find it!”
Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.”
Scripture also teaches that almost the entire world lies in darkness, so much so that Satan is even called the “prince” (John 12:31) and “god” (2 Cor. 4:3) of this world. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is seated in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19) The sexual sin that so pervades society is undoubtedly one of the greatest causes of why so many are damned. Some saints even say that the sexual sin is the greatest cause in the world of why people are damned, and this is highly probable since this sin is so much more pleasurable than the other sins. Thus, if a person wants to be saved, he or she must make it their highest priority to correct or amend their sexual sins, for all other sins will in almost every case be less hard to conquer since our flesh is not as effected by them as the sexual sin is.
God must always come first
St. Paul, the chosen vessel of God, a former persecutor of Christ worthy of conversion, worthy of praise in the Lord and now one of the great apostles, teaches us in his first letter to the Corinthians how spouses should live in marriage.
1 Corinthians 7:29-35 “This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.”
What St. Paul is saying here is that even those who are married should not place the love of their family or the pleasures or affections they have from them above God, but consider that all are dust and that One, and One only is to be loved above all else—Our Lord Jesus Christ.
When St. Paul mentions “that they also who have wives, be as if they had none”, he is speaking about how spouses must not place the carnal love they have for each other above their love for the Lord. St. Paul’s words are clear: The spouses must act as though they were not married (within due limits of course) since the married man “is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.” This division of the married man makes it a great necessity that even married people should consider themselves in their own thought processes as though they are unmarried and chaste, although their external and physical marital duties hinders them from pursuing this endeavor to the fullest. As St. Paul says: “it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none”.
One must obviously love all people as much as one can, but one must also remember that most people, however dear or near, often reject God and hinder one’s own spiritual advancement. The only one who will always remain true to us and that we know with a certainty will never become evil, is God, and with God, His angels and Saints in Heaven. But humans, however dear or near, often fall away from the truth and this rejection of God by our family or friends requires us to exclude them from our communion. Our Lord explicitly mentions that such acts are necessary sometimes.
Luke 18:29 “Amen, I say to you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive much more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”
Luke 14 gives us an even clearer example from the gospel which shows us that we must be able to renounce all association to our family or friends when necessity requires it.
Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
Douay Rheims Commentary on Luke 14:26: “Hate not: The law of Christ does not allow us to hate even our enemies, much less our parents: but the meaning of the text is, that we must be in that disposition of soul, as to be willing to renounce, and part with every thing, how near or dear soever it may be to us, that would keep us from following Christ.”
Our Lord does not only teach us to follow this principle, but he also practiced what he taught himself. His deepest belonging was to the Father, the Father’s House, the Father’s concerns. This commitment would reverberate at later times, severing ultimate claims on Him of his closest family. In the presence of these and to their hearing, He would ask, “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in Heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.” This, in His own life, was the moral authority to demand the same of all others, “You cannot serve two masters...”
Most spouses in this world undoubtedly commit a most grievous act of faithlessness against Our Lord when they love their spouse or the carnal love they derive from them more than God. Their treasure is sadly a most vile corpse that will rot and be eaten by worms in the grave. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)
The Christian servant is one who, “risen with Christ, seeks the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God” and one who “minds the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols.” (Colossians 3:1-5)
Luke chapter 18 is another excellent example in the gospels of how Our Lord wants people to think in their own thought processes.
Luke 18:15-17 “And they brought unto him also infants, that he might touch them. Which when the disciples saw, they rebuked them. But Jesus, calling them together, said: Suffer children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it.”
Notice that Our Lord states that those who shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not be saved: “Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it.” What are the good virtues or characteristics of children that Our Lord refers to in this verse that men must have in order to be saved? There are obviously many virtues that children have but two of the most notable ones are purity, and humility, among many other virtues such as strong faith and trust. The first virtue that children are naturally endowed with is purity, and just like children, men must also be pure and chaste in their own thought processes in accordance with Our Lord’s words, even though some must fulfill their marital duties. All children are also humble in a way since they know that they know nothing compared to grown ups, and that they need to learn more in order to understand different things. Men and women should also think in the same way. They should humbly think that they know nothing, and that they need to learn more in order to understand different things. Until the moment of death, all men can learn more about God, goodness or other things conducive to spiritual growth. Every day is a new day with new opportunities to practice virtues of different kinds, like patience, kindness, purity, love of neighbor and God etc. However, whoever states the contrary, that is, that he already knows all, is a proud liar who attributes to himself God’s perfect knowledge.
Children also love their parents in many ways and desire their presence at all times. Children also frequently tend to express their love for their parents in different ways. For instance, it is not uncommon for children to simply walk up to their parents for no other purpose than to express their love for them, and say they love them. Children also have total childlike faith and confidence in their parents, firmly believing that they know what’s best for them. It is indeed by children that God wishes to teach us how we should act towards Him, and love Him. Even though we are grown ups and not as children, we should still act in our mind towards God as do small, defenseless children towards their own parents; that is, we should have the same desire, love, longing and confidence for Our God and Father in Heaven as do children for their parents. And just like children, we should admit our own utter dependance on Him, seeking His protection and Fatherly care, having childlike trust in Him, firmly believing that He will do what’s best for us and our salvation; and just like children, we are to feel a deep desire and longing for God as do small children for their parents, who simply cannot stop crying until they are embraced by them; and finally, just like children, we are by our prayers, meditations and thoughts to confidently walk up to God and tell Him how much we love Him.
Every one has two lives. The first life (which is the most important life) is the inner life of the soul, consisting for the most part of desires, thoughts and affections. The second life is the outer or external life made up of the daily actions of the visible life. The pitiful state of today’s humanity however, is that most people completely lack the inner life and because of this, they lose their immortal souls. How trivial indeed must not those small trifles and things seem for those lost souls who loved and desired earthly and perishable goods and pleasures more than they loved God when after a billion years in Hell have gone by in the smoke that smothers and suffocates their whole being, while the painful and tormenting fire that will never be quenched however much they plead with Our Lord to alleviate their torment, continues to torment them mercilessly!
Romans 6:3-6; 6:12-23 “Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.
“… Let no sin therefore reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of justice unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto justice.
“But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed from the heart, unto that form of doctrine, into which you have been delivered. Being then freed from sin, we have been made servants of justice. I speak an human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh. For as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity, unto iniquity; so now yield your members to serve justice, unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free men to justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: Why do you say that the marital sexual act must be excused with the motive of procreation? Eating does not need to be excused, and therefore, neither does the marital act need to be excused. This argument also shows that one can lawfully perform non-procreative forms of sexual acts, such as sensual kisses and touches, that are not able to procreate in themselves, since one does not need to excuse an act just because it is pleasurable, as in the case of eating.