It’s just me and the sophomore boys, sitting around a table, asking the difficult questions, facing difficult truths, seeking to understand the heart of God’s mysterious plan for the full flourishing of the human person as regards sexuality.
Sounds illuminating, eh? In truth, the guys are mostly interested in the utterly practical however unsatisfying questions: what is sexually permissible, from a moral (i.e. sinful) standpoint? At what point does the pleasure I’m seeking to attain send me to hell? Can I convince my girlfriend that she can still call herself a virgin even if she lets me do “X” to her and even if she does “Y” to me?
It was sobering to read some of their anonymously submitted questions…but it wasn’t altogether surprising. This is where they are; this is what they face. They’ve been thrown into the lion’s den — and often — without so much as a loin cloth to protect themselves.
As an educator, I often find myself following the wisdom of St. Augustine, who concluded that the foundational work of the Christian teacher isn’t necessarily imparting new knowledge, but in helping his students unlearn whatever falsities keep them from embracing the truth.
To that end, I turn to the principles laid out in JPII’s Love and Responsibility and the modern interpreters of his Theology of the Body. I also work through the sections from Thomas’ Summa Theologiae on the human person’s happiness and utlimate end.
So we chat; and we pray; and we speak frankly of these things.
And all the while, I consider the souls of these young men, who were made for greatness, and recall my own struggles as a teenager and young adult, recognizing that it was by God’s grace and mercy that I was saved from the clutches of the Evil One.
To the question of every heart, Jesus Christ is the answer.