A Catholic appreciation of human sexuality (A TOB pilot project)

From May 30 to June 1, 23 teenagers from various churches in the KL archdiocese attended a seminar entitled Created for Love.

Jun 20, 2014

By Kirsten Michele Fernandez
From May 30 to June 1, 23 teenagers from various churches in the KL archdiocese attended a seminar entitled Created for Love: A Catholic Appreciation of Human Sexuality at the Archdiocese Pastoral Institute (API). The participants were the pioneer batch in the Archdiocese’s pilot project, which was developed to address the inadequacy of sex education in schools — not so much in terms of the biological aspect, but rather, on aspects pertaining to morality, which is a core element of the Catholic faith.

The project was the result of a year’s worth of training, study and development of relevant and appropriate content for the youth. The blueprint of the project: St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB). As St. John Paul II tells us, “through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology... through the main door” (TOB 23: 4). Thus, the TOB affirms and makes reference to the human body in its approach to understanding God’s plan for humanity.

Against the backdrop of the TOB, the seminar aimed to deliver a very simple yet profound truth to the participants: God created us to love and be loved. Divided into eight sessions, the first session highlighted the identity of the human person as a child of God, made in His image and likeness (Gen 1:27) and the call to discern His loving plan for us. That plan is succinctly captured in the words of Christ “love one another as I love you” (John 15: 12).

The eight sessions were divided into two main parts: the first focussed on helping the individual to recognise that he is made in love and for love, while the second part expanded this love to relationships which include the elements of dating, marriage and sex.

As love is unable to contain itself and finds its fullness only when it is shared with others, so must we share God’s love. Through our relationships, we discover and learn anew what it means to love and be loved. However, true love can only be experienced when it is free, total, faithful and fruitful (FTFF) just as the love of Christ is. By loving others in this way, we recognise all that is true, good and beautiful in the other — which inevitably leads us closer to sharing in the life of Christ. Essentially, it is only when we love like Christ loved that we become more like God.

At the end of the seminar, the participants were invited to give a short testimony of what touched them. Of course, the juiciest topic garnered the most feedback, with comments such as “I never knew that sex was sacred, I always thought it was NOT A BIG DEAL”, “I never knew why the Church said ‘No’ to premarital sex, but now I do” and “This camp answered so many of the questions that I had, but never knew whom to ask”. It is blatantly apparent therefore, that our teens are desperately seeking the truth, which can only be found with certainty in the Catholic Church who is the spotless Bride of Christ. It is also equally apparent, that the danger in not addressing these questions will inevitably lead to our teens looking for the answers in all the wrong places. The Archdiocese is therefore working towards recommending that all teens go through these sessions prior to Confirmation.

The project team is thankful to the participants from the Churches of Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Francis of Assisi, Holy Family, Sacred Heart and St Thomas More for their active participation and to the facilitators cum presenters who worked tirelessly to prepare the eight Topics and delivered them so beautifully through power point presentations, activities and role play, credit of which must surely go to our TOB trainer. However, highest praise and thanks belong to Almighty God who poured out His free, total, faithful and fruitful love on all who were involved in that exciting weekend, and to Mary, to whom St JP II dedicated TOB and to whom he remains “totus tuus”.

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