One of our famous Dominican friars of England early in the last century, Father Vincent McNabb, used to say: after my morning prayers I read the scriptures and celebrate Mass to get the good news. Then I pick up the newspapers to get the bad news.
I thought of that today, because our liturgical celebrations today stand in marked contrast with what one finds in the newspapers nowadays. Today is the commemoration day of Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland, one of the most gracious and exemplary ladies of the middle ages, and also of Saint Gertrude the Great, a cloistered contemplative nun of Germany. Those two women stand as beautiful examples of what Our Lord intends that we do with our sexuality. We can either renounce the use of it in favor of a higher purpose, or we can enter into a valid marriage and do our best to love spouse and children and contribute as well as we can to the spiritual well-being of spouse and children. King Malcolm of Scotland would not have been the virtuous man he turned out to be had he not married a really holy woman like Saint Margaret. And their eight children certainly would not have received the excellent education in the ways of the spirit that they did, without a mother like Saint Margaret.
So, Margaret and Gertrude are the good news that I referred to earlier. The other news: in yesterday’s paper, I found a photograph of a young college student somewhere holding up a sign of protest. What was he protesting? He was protesting the fact that he and his bed-partner, or partners, are now having to spend between $35 and $40 dollars a month for their contraceptives! Imagine: these poor college kids, whose expenses are so high nowadays that they barely have money for their beer and their cigarettes, now have to spend $35 a month to protect themselves from the pregnancies which their lives of fornication would cause, if they did not take means to prevent it!
We could spend a lot of time meditating on the morality of this kind of thing, but let me just point out to you how perverse, how totally opposed to God’s holy will is the idea of “protecting” oneself from pregnancy—protecting oneself from one’s own children who are not even born yet, and who are unwelcome in their lives. But the pleasure of sex is very much wanted, so these young people—unmarried for the most part and not ready or willing or able to assume the responsibility of having and rearing children—engage in fornication and then complain about the cost of their war against the children who might be conceived by their sins.
In the last few months, I have come to know a number of young people who have seriously messed up their lives: social, educational, financial, emotional, and above all, spiritual, by their abuse of their own sexuality. They say, either explicitly or implicitly, “If I had it to do over again, I’d do it very differently!” When I was a child, I often heard the old adage, “Marry in haste; repent at leisure.” Now, marriage is no longer in style. So the adage must be changed: “Go to bed with anyone and everyone you want, and then spend the rest of your life regretting it.”
Let us pray for our young people, my dear friends. Theirs is not an easy road to walk through the errors and temptations of our contemporary society. Many of them will make the wrong choices, and those choices with bring great suffering upon themselves and others. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.