God’s beauty is everywhere we look. The Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, the Rocky Mountains, sunsets, are all examples of God’s beauty. In the most profound way of all, God’s beauty is in the different genders of humanity, male and female. From a ManHusbandDad’s perspective, the greatest of all of God’s beauty is in a woman’s body.
God made humanity as the pinnacle of His creation, and wills us to be with Him in His heavenly kingdom. The Beatific Vision is what we call the moment in which we get to see God, the Blessed Trinity, face-to-face with human eyes (See “First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity” By Dr. Scott Hahn for a more complete discussion). God’s beauty is so indescribable, that it is going to take us an eternity and we will still never be able to fully grasp the immense beauty of God. I personally believe that to prepare us for the Beatific Vision, God has given a foretaste of His beauty through His creation in the most profound way, in the beauty of a woman.
Men and women are different. Genders are distinct but complement one another. Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand in her book “Man & Woman: A Divine Invention”, powerfully shows us the beauty in the distinctiveness of gender. One cannot change genders like outfits. The gender we are given at conception is a gift from God, and even if we do surgical and chemical alterations to try and change it, or act in ways that ignore it or “identify” with another gender, our natural gender will always want to come through. Even though men and women are different, that does not mean they are not equal in dignity. Both have important differences that complete and compliment the human race.
Since God is Love; we are made in His image and likeness, and are designed to reflect the essence of Divine Love. Because of the Fall, we are affected by Original Sin and have a distorted understanding of what love and beauty means. God made Man to be a creature who is attracted to the physical form of a woman’s body. Because males are sexually stimulated by physical imagery, there is a rampant problem of lust in our culture. A good example of this is in pornography, which entices a man to commit the mortal sin of masturbation and to desire sexual gratification through the imagery. Pornography inevitably causes a man to alter his perception of women, which leads him to regard and treat women as little more than objects. Among men, pornography has become a rampant addiction which dramatically impacts relationships among married and single men. It is important to stress that it is good that ManHusbandDads find the female body to be sexually appealing, but pornographic imagery is a distortion of sexual love and attraction. It is important for God-fearing Men to talk about this issue with each other to help them resist the temptation to seek out pornography. This is something I have done in my own life, and have found great benefit in it
We have in our culture a gigantic industry producing images of beautiful young women. The same goes with swimsuit models, cheerleaders, Hollywood actresses, etc. Young men enjoy imagery of beautiful women, and like to decorate their rooms and digital devices with their favorite female celebrities. Though pinups aren’t necessarily pornographic, they can at times be too provocative. When I was growing up I had posters in my room and images on my desktop computer of my favorite female celebrities who I had a crush on, such as Marina Sirtis and Melissa Joan Hart. I always tried to find chaste images of my teenage crushes. Although I must admit, that since I am a sinful male, amidst my weakness, I had the temptation to find more lustful images of these actresses when I was a teen. Although at the time, I could not articulate the Church’s teachings on the issue of sexuality, I knew in my heart that it was wrong and never pursued my desire to post up these pictures. We need to understand that even an overly provocative pinup can cause damage to a man’s psyche, leading him further toward unchaste behavior even if it seems innocent.
One must understand that the Church teaches what it does about the sacredness of sex for a reason. In my adult years I have a deeper understanding of the Catholic teaching on sexuality and appreciate the Church’s wisdom. Church teaching regarding sexuality is to protect the sacred gift of sex. Today, I desire chastity, not because I have to embrace it, but because I want to embrace it. We as a culture need to reclaim the idea that there are certain images that are just not appropriate and should not be promoted. We need to go by the rule, of ‘would this image uphold the virtue of chastity’, and if not, we should not post the picture either on the walls of our rooms or on our digital devices.
We need to reclaim in our society the fact and reality that men and women are different, and that each individual gender compliments the other and are not interchangeable. Men are men, and women are women. Due to the distinct nature of the genders, men see beauty in women in a significantly different way than women see men; not to say that women are entirely free from the intrigues of lust and pornography, but meaning that it is an overwhelming drive in men. ManHusbandDads need to always embrace the Twelve Righteous Virtues, most importantly in this case, Chastity.
May every ManHusbandDad choose to embrace chastity more than just as a requirement, but rather as a desire.
In the next article, I will continue the discussion on this theme of gender and beauty in the area of dating, and how the culture has impacted this important part of life.