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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CD Review - From Love, By Love, For Love

CD Review – From Love, By Love, For Love

          The most recent CD received by members of Lighthouse Catholic Media’s CD of the Month Club is called From Love, By Love, For Love, by Father Michael Schmitz.  I had never heard of Fr. Schmitz before, but he is an extraordinary speaker.

          This CD touches upon the timely topics of contraception and same-sex attraction, in the context of a Catholic understanding of authentic love.  The CD is not only excellent for its clear explanation of Catholic teaching, but also because of Fr. Schmitz’s energy, compassion and humor, which make the presentation so accessible to everyone.

          Father begins with a look at the Gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar who died at the rich man’s door.  He asks how people of different world views would understand and react to Lazarus.  To a Christian, Lazarus, as a person, is a body and soul made in the Image and Likeness of God.  Because Man is both body and soul, what happens to our bodies matters.  When we suffer in our bodies, we suffer; when we sin in our bodies, we sin.

          He discusses the nature of Man and goes on to discuss the nature of sex, which is twofold: the unity of the spouses, and the procreation of children.  He stresses that the sexual embrace can be engaged in primarily for either purpose without violating the nature of sex, so long as the other purpose is not excluded.  Excluding openness to unity is rape; excluding openness to procreation is contraception.  Both violate the nature of sex and are sinful.

          He then goes on to talk about homosexuality and people who struggle with same-sex attraction.  He speaks with such emotional compassion it is clear that he has great love.  He notes that homosexual acts are a violation of the nature of sex but points out that the Church condemns all violations against the nature of sex, as shown by the inclusion of homosexuality in the Catechism with heterosexual sins.  However, the Church is also very adamant in its condemnation of unjust discrimination against homosexual persons.

          Fr. Schmitz also laments the labels people are constantly being defined by, especially when it comes to same-sex attraction.  (Same-sex attraction alone, of course, constitutes a temptation, not a sin.)  He says, echoing Pope John Paul II, “You are not defined by your sins, your weaknesses, or your failures, or your temptations, or your attractions.  You are defined by the fact that the Father loves you, by your capacity to receive the Father’s Love, and to be an image of Christ to this world.”

          He goes on to make the bold statement that, “there is no safer place for a man or woman with same-sex attraction than the Catholic Church [because] we will not stop saying that you have a dignity – that you are made in the Image and Likeness of God.”

          Father urges compassion for people who struggle with same-sex attraction, pointing out that for most it is a heavy cross, and reminding us that we all struggle with sexuality; each has his own particular struggle.  And even if we have failed at times in that struggle, no one’s sins are too big for God.

          If you are interested, you can get a copy of the CD at the “Online Store” on the sidebar of this blog.  You can also sign up to receive a new Catholic CD each month by clicking on the “CD of the Month Club” icon.  You can even sign up to receive more than one copy of the new CD each month to give extras to family and friends.  If you do, please listen to it first, as some have Scriptural references that people may have trouble interpreting in context.  Prepare yourself to answer questions of clarification or refer them to a priest who can.

          Listen below to an excerpt of From Love, By Love, For Love.