who do not have a sound palate,
but seek other tastes,
cannot taste the spirit and life of Gods words;
His words, rather, are distasteful to them.
St. John of the Cross
The Living Flame of Love, 1. 5
Christian Lifestyle |
Spiritual Counsels |
The Call Away from Sin |
Cultural Brainwashing |
The Allure of Common Love |
Love is of the Spirit |
The Emptiness of Common Love |
A Dream |
Holy Matrimony: Real Love in Real Marriage |
The Call to be Holy |
Beyond Lack and Limitation |
Freedom, not Repression
ASKED the LORD, O LORD,
why is it that we are so troubled with genital arousal and erotic desires?
Why does our sexuality have to be this difficult?
He replied, No one enters My Kingdom who has not resolutely
chosen the Spirit over the Flesh. Let your genitals be a constant reminder
of this, in every moment, with every breath you take.
For You love
all things that are
and loathe nothing that You have made;
for what You hated, You would not have fashioned.
And how could a thing remain, unless You willed it;
or be preserved, had it not been called forth by You?
But You spare all things, because they are Yours,
O LORD and lover of souls
for Your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Yet listen to what follows from
rebuke offenders little by little, warn
them, and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in
You, O LORD!
The Call Away
Gods creation is good.
God loves His creation. God created us to be goodto be capable of sharing
in divine love. Knowing we have fallen into
sin and disobedience,
He still loves us. But does this mean that anything goes and
that everyone will go to heaven? Well, no. God loves us by
calling us out of our sinsthe very offenses that separate souls
from God in this life (and that separate souls from God eternally in
hell) if they are not
repented. When the Jews talked about God wiping
away sins, they referred to Gods willingness to allow us to be
reconciled to Him if we repented our sins. Gods willingness for
reconciliation with us was later sealed with bloodChrists
bloodas a contract, the New Covenant of Christianity.
Our part in this contract is to
love God with all our mind, all our heart, all our soul, and all our
Yet most Christians today love
God only intellectuallywith their mindswhile their heart, soul,
and strength is given over to the hope of feeling wanted and loved by the
world. Oh, they love God, so they believe, but deep in their heart they are
consumed by the lusts of the flesh.
Our entire culture has been duped by the
entertainment industry, an industry that for decades has been working subversively
through movies and television to destroy traditional Christian family values
and to glamorize the sin of lust in our culture. For example, it may seem
on the surface that the woman has been idealized, because she stands
at the center of all erotic imagery, but the underlying
motive has been to defile Christian feminine
modesty, stripping the female body of its holy
dignity and reducing it, often with violent overtones, to a soulless
The end result is that our secular
culture worships sexuality as its goddess, and all Christians, even those
with same-sex attractions, are surrounded with temptation to abandon their
baptismal promises and to partake of the
Today, even Christians have been duped
by the anti-Christian progressive liberal agenda of the entertainment
industry into believing that sin is normal and acceptable
and that sexual pleasure is necessary for our happiness. As a result, instead
of taking personal responsibility to detach
themselves from social illusions, many Christians
willingly consume them, over and over.
You have been duped into believing
that you can use your own body to heal your emotional despair, and so sin
enslaves you even as you are told that sin does not exist. You have been duped by
anti-Christian cultural brainwashing, and you dont even realize it. You
continue to believe in what is impossible.
This concept of
the impossible, can be approximated by
the old Zen question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
For example, I have seen both men and women who have tried to seduce a woman
to get from her the nurturing and attention they never received from their
mothers. And I have seen both women and men who have tried to seduce a man
to get from him the protection and attention they never received from their
fathers. And in the end it’s all an impossibility. The moral is simple,
and cuts across the board, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual:
You can never seduce your despair, and you can never
find real love through any form of sexual activity.
Thus, one does not need a “sex life” to be a good person. Notice,
though, that a good person is not the same as a good citizen.
A good citizen is a spiritually empty, insatiable consumer, and, because of
the efforts of the advertising and entertainment industries, lust has become
a prime consumer activity. So let’s give a round of applause to those
industries Ah, can you hear it—the pathetic sound of one hand
The Allure of
In todays world, all human
cultures have, in one way or another, been seducing us into believing that
Satanic perversion (Do what thou wilt)
is not Satanic at all, but that it is just an innocent matter of human
freedom. “I want what I want; I deserve it.” Therefore we believe that we have
the “right” to reach out and take what we want.
Thus common “love”—or romantic love—has
an unholy allure, though it differs for men and women. Men experience an aggressive
desire to devour: to take from the other what they want until, like an
overinflated balloon, they explode with an orgasm. Women experience a desire to be
desired. They enjoy the power and satisfaction of seduction—of making themselves
seen and desired—until they experience an implosion of orgasmic relief for finally
being possessed by the desire of an other.
But consider this more deeply.
What does all of this mean, psychologically? Taking what you want—making yourself
seen—having power—feeling desired—being possessed. This all a psychological
compensation for feelings of inferiority, weakness, and vulnerability. Its all
an immediate way of getting something to overcome the emotional hurt of
childhood insecurity. Romance, therefore is a game,
a way to even the score with the emotional pains of childhood.
Real love, in contrast, is not
a gameits reality raised to the level
of the divine.
True love is
far more difficult than common love because true love is
given, not receivedand certainly not madeand it
must be given with no expectation or hope of getting anything in
Love is of the
Now, you could use comparative
anthropology to document all the varieties of human sexuality throughout
history, the pagan delight in eros (erotic passion), the different
cultural origins of polygamy and monogamy, and even the primitive origins
of matrimony in the Hieros Gamos between gods and women. But none
of it means anything, really, because Christ instituted a new reality for
us, a reality based not on the flesh but on the
a reality based not on finding personal satisfaction in a romantic desire
for another person but on serving others through holy
My love so delights
the soul that it destroys every other joy which can be expressed by man here
below. The taste of Me extinguishes every other taste; My light blinds all
who behold it . . .
as told to Saint Catherine
Spiritual Doctrine, Part III, Chapter VII
The theological proof of
this mystical understanding is obvious: look as hard as you can, but you
will never find a single reference in the New Testament to romantic
relationships. Sexuality has a temporal value in regard to the sacrament
of Holy Matrimony for the sake of raising a family
in holy service to God, but it has no enduring place in the Kingdom of
At the resurrection
they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in
Real love is not
self-indulgence. Real love does not plead with desperate, hollow eyes for
recognition from an other. Real love never turns to hate. Real love never becomes
a cult. Real love never ends.
Why? Because real love, as Saint Thomas
Aquinas explained, is to wish the good of
someone.  Real
love is an act of will. Real love is, as Christ showed us through His personal
example, total sacrifice of self for the sake of the
salvation of others.
Eroticism has its basis in human
survival. Our sexual organs have a natural, erotic potential so that primitive
men and women would be inclined to copulate and reproduce. But this natural
tendency is the result of Original sin, not of
Gods original plan for humanity. So, as humanity matured, God gave
us His commandments to protect us from the raw
desires that make the body into a fetish, desires
that cause us to see our reproductive organs as nothing more than the means
to enjoy a raw pleasure severed from moral responsibility to the divine.
Consequently, without Gods guidance, we are led by our desires far
astray from the holy purpose God intends for us.
If you obey the
commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving Him,
and walking in His ways, and keeping His commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in
the land you are entering to occupy. If, however, you turn away your hearts
and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I
tell you now that you will certainly perish.
And so, despite its glamorous
portrayal in popular entertainment, eroticism
love. Eroticism is not an expression of a man and
a woman bonding into a family by their mutual love for God. Eroticism strips
sexuality of its divinely intended functionreproductionand reduces
it to an exchange of using and being used. Eroticism is a form of
idolatrya body adoring a body, an expression of the lowest levels of
desirethe allure of which resides in
immediate, tangible gratification. Eroticism turns your heart away from God
and leads you astray to serve the illusory glamor of lust.
Moreover, as the blatantly dark
Satanic side of eroticism shows us, lust has at its core a
rejection of the Holy and a desire for the domination and defilement of others.
Consider the most common curse in contemporary society: F*** you!
Does that give you a clue? Consider also that Satanic rituals are conducted
in the nude. Does that give you another clue? Social nudity is not an experience
of a natural truth of the body; it is not honest,
and it does not mean that nothing is hidden. Instead, it uses
the lure of bodily gratification to draw attention away from the truth of
the soul and to defile the souls opportunity to grow pure in chaste
desire to erotically arouse another person in
the context of romance is not an act of giving. The deep psychological truth
is that such a desire masks a more hidden desire: to manipulate someone
because you have been manipulated by others. That is, because you as a child
felt the helplessness and resentment of being emotionally and physically manipulated
by your parents, as an adult you will unconsciously compensate for
this helplessness by seeking out ways to manipulate others. You can do this with
wealth, you can do this with politics, you can do
this with education, you can do this with
social status, you can do this with
physical strength, and you can do this with lust.
Sad to say, therefore, the thrill of arousing lust in another person is really
an act of self-serving power over that person.
Therefore, the unpleasant truth is
that all sexuality not ordered to its natural function—reproduction—
is predatory. Acts such as masturbation; oral sex; anal
and interrupted coitus, or “pulling out” are all disordered to the natural function of
sexuality. It may seem that someone is “making love” but all he or she is
doing is “feeding on” the erotic pleasure of another person. With reproduction
taken out of the experience, all sexual acts becomes defiled as lust and reduced
to an act of devouring.
Terror overcomes any creature in danger
of being attacked and devoured. In such a situation, higher creatures will fight
for their lives; lower creatures will try to squirm and wiggle to freedom. This
terror has such a profound place in the human psyche, even in childhood, that it
appears in the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, two children threatened with being
devoured by a witch in the forest.
This theme of being
devoured also has a metaphorical aspect. When children grow up in a
dysfunctional family environment—an environment
characterized by such things as dishonesty, criticism, manipulation, and
violence—the children are not actually in danger of being roasted in an oven and
eaten, but they do experience a psychological devouring of their identities by
their parents, such that the children’s social success as adults can be
Moreover, if the family
dysfunction extends into the realm of sexual abuse by family members or other
adults, the children experience the terror of sexual molestation.
The terror of sexual
molestation has entered into folklore as tales of molestation by an
incubus or a succubus
during the night. It can be horrifying to experience the danger of having
ones body and soul devoured and possessed by a demon.
Childhood molestation is a grievous
crime because the unconscious terror of a helpless child being devoured by an adult
persists throughout the childs life and causes massive disorder through attempts
to numb the fear and pain with drugs and alcohol. Sexuality can even be used in an
attempt to hide the terror of molestation; in such a case, a person may even enjoy it
consciously, but unconsciously the person is really inviting molestation and acting
sexual acts exhibit this dynamic most explicitly, and pornography reveals the dark
hostility hidden behind all the seeming pleasure, the unpleasant (and politically
incorrect) truth is that all sexuality not ordered to its natural
function—reproduction—is predatory. So, however much you might think you enjoy the
pleasures of common love, you are really trapped in the hidden terror of making
yourself into someones prey.
Pornography, in its own subtle
way, derives from the urge to use someone for your pleasure because,
as a child, you were used by others. On the surface, it may seem
that pornography is simply about erotic pleasure. But when the human body
is made into a biological toy, it is stripped of all human dignity, and this
defilement is an act of aggression. The hostility may be unconscious or it
may be openly violent, but, either way, it has its basis in
So, to whom is the resentment
directed? Well, as in all things psychological, the resentment goes back
to the parents. Deep down, under all the apparent excitement, and despite
the attraction to what is seen, lurks the dark urge to
hurt and insultto get revenge forwhat
is behind the scenes: a mother who devoured, rejected, or abandoned,
rather than nurtured, or a father who failed to teach, guide, and protect.
Thus, when you feel resentment for feeling depriveddeprived of recognition,
guidance, acceptance, resources, or timeyou are drawn to pornography,
and even though it may feel exciting, you are really defiling
Have you ever
wondered why you are drawn to pornography even though you know it is evil
and can tell yourself that it is wrong? Well, its the revenge you
cravethe subtle revenge of using others as you have been used. So long
as your emotional pain and resentment stay hidden from your conscious awareness,
you will be drawn to pornography through an unconscious and irresistible
of Common Love
The Christian sacrament of Holy
Matrimony protects the holiness of a living sexual activity (i.e.,
sexual activity that is open to procreation) within a marriage blessed by
the Catholic Church, but all other sexual activity is just a dead, bartered
transaction, an empty game, a form of
narcissism which rejects the true love in which
God created us. This narcissism consequently defiles the souls mystical
union with God.
In this adulterous betrayal of
God, common love does nothing except make your partner
into an object of your own pleasure so as to
seduce the despair
of your own
emptiness. Yet the price for using common
love as a temporary escape from emptiness is everlasting emptiness
itself: eternal separation from God.
The psychological proof of the
emptiness of common love can be found in all botched
relationships: what starts out sweet turns sourthat is,
once your needs are not met, this common love suddenly switches
into hatred and spite. But true love, as I said
above, never turns to hate and never ends.
impossible to fill our own bodily emptiness with
an external presence. We cant alleviate our emptiness with
cigarettes, or erotic
fantasies, or sports,
or entertainment, or anything else generated
by our culture. Our
lack can be filled only with the Body
and Blood of Christ.
The Body of Christ
is faith, by which we see the invisible Father in
the visible appearance of bread. And the Blood of Christ is
love, for there is no greater love than to shed
your blood to save someone from destruction.
A man in treatment for
depression, and for many years caught up in
sexual addictions, had a dream.
As he was walking
through vast, empty fields, suddenly a great wall loomed up before him;
it had the appearance of shimmering, crystalline light.
He approached a door. On the ground was a metal bucket filled with tiny
transparent crystals, like sand, but stained and discolored, and with a
stench worse than rotting fish. He knocked on the door.
A voice from the other side answered. “You may not enter. Go away.”
After a pause, it continued. “The price of entry is tears of love,
cried out in prayer. Look down at the bucket by your feet. That is what
your life has amounted to; that is all you have to offer: a bucket of
rotten orgasms.” And he woke up.
Real Love in Real Marriage
Now, if you want a good image
of Holy Matrimony, take a piece of string about a foot long and tie two small
weights to the string, one weight on each end of the string. Then stretch
the string out on a table. What happens? Nothing. All right. So now grasp
the string in the middle and lift it straight up off the tableand,
as the weights are lifted by the string, they will swing
In a similar way, a marriage
blessed by the Catholic Church is not made by a man and a woman drawing
themselves together by their own efforts. Holy Matrimony is made when a man
and a woman, through their mutual love for God, welcome Christ into their
lives to lift them up into divine love and service. Holy Matrimony, therefore,
never ends because it does not begin in the individualsit
begins in the eternally enduring covenant of love between God and
The Call to Be
And, believe it or not, that
eternally enduring covenant of love is what the call to Christianity
is all about, whether in Holy Matrimony or in celibacy. As Christ emptied
Himself in order to become humanto bring
forgiveness and to show us loveso we must
empty ourselves of all that is not love in order to be drawn up into divine
love, to become holy, and to lead others to holiness. Be holy, for I am
holy (Leviticus 11:45, 19:2, 20:7; 1 Peter 1:16; cf. Matthew
Do you think
that Gods commands are some arbitrary set of rules created by dictatorial
whim? The commands flow from love, to protect us from
When Saint Paul
warned us that by works of the law no one will be justified he meant
simply that justificationthat is,
redemptionis not a
magical process. A mere legal or ritual act,
performed simply as an act, has no meaning. Justification is about love on
Gods part for our sake, and our response to that love has to come from
the heart. Even the celebration of the
Eucharist is not a mere actits
a liturgical act, the work of the people. And it is hard
The proof is in Christ Himself.
Love one another as I have loved you, He said. Did He cheat us,
lie to us, kill unborn children, or desire the death of His enemies? Did
He use us for His sexual pleasure or to find self-fulfillment?
No. Instead He suffered for us, as an act of
mercy. In His Passion He showed us what
love isand what it has always been: a call
away from sin into holiness. And then He called us
to live a life of love, within Him, free from our own
identities. Thus Paul says, I have been
crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my
Beyond Lack and Limitation:
The Supernatural Mystical Experience
Jacques Lacan, in his writing (see
the book Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne and
the chapters “God and the Jouissance of The Woman” and “A Love Letter”) speaks of
the psychoanalytic concept of “lack.” Although he uses some complicated mathematical
imagery and abstruse psychoanalytic language to describe the matter, this concept of
“lack” could be summed up theologically by saying that we cope psychologically with
our human brokenness—that is, our separation from God—by using
illusions to create
for ourselves experiences of comfort in the midst of our misery. The illusions are
varied, such as food, drugs, romance fantasies, sexual activity, sports, militarism,
and politics, and the comfort can take the form of pleasure, pain relief, social
acceptance, and personal valuation.
Lacan points out that one “side” of life
is characterized by the use of this dynamic of illusions/comfort as an unconscious
compensation for our brokenness. Moreover, Lacan demonstrates that there is another
“side” of life that isn’t trapped in lack but that experiences something very real,
albeit “unknown.” Lacan speaks of this experience as something that some women
have encountered; it’s an ecstasy they experience without knowing what it is, and so
Lacan refers to it as something “beyond sex” and thus as something mystical.
Furthermore, Lacan states that even though most men are trapped on the “lack” side of
life, some of them also encounter the mystical experience.
Note carefully that Lacan spoke as a
psychoanalyst who was concerned with issues of neuroticism and sexuality, and so he
didn’t elaborate on his ideas as theological concepts. Nevertheless, to speak theologically,
it can be said that the side of life not trapped in lack is the place of mystical religious
experience, and that it is characterized not by futile efforts of compensation for what
is lacking but by a real experience of a fulfillment of a yearning for God.
Hence we can define mystical ecstasy
as a prescient experience of a complete union with God.
Because the mystical experience is beyond
sex, both men and women can be mystics; nevertheless, more women than men tend to have
mystical experiences. This can be explained by the fact that anyone who preoccupies
himself or herself with illusions of compensation is obstructing the mystical experience.
In the past this was true of most men, and it is still true of most men today. And, in
the past, many women were not drawn to these illusions. But today, sadly, because of
social efforts in regard to “women’s liberation,” more and more women are being
“liberated” into sin and are crossing over into the use of illusions typically used by
Nevertheless, women who value the
supernatural—rather than shake it off as a burden—can have a special role
in their spiritual influence on men. In the book of Genesis we are told that the desires
of man’s heart are evil from his youth (see Genesis 8:21). In other words, both men and
women are prone to all illusions as a fact of (fallen) life, just as much today, in the
modern world, as in the past. Women, however, can be the glory of man (see 1 Corinthians
11:7). “Woman is the glory of man” means that when women seek the mystic way of life—that
is, a way of life governed not by an attempt to compensate for lack and limitation but by
a profound embrace of the fullness of God’s love—they renounce illusions for the sake of
an experience that is beyond sex, and so they take up a God-given spiritual authority
to relate to men with a real love that puts men in their proper spiritual place of loving
God rather than loving illusions.
Consequently, the containment of men’s
proclivity to using illusions of compensation can take place through the supernatural help
of women yearning for the mystic life. If a woman detaches herself from worldly approval,
renounces lust, dresses modestly,
and acts in all things with humility she will be of glorious
spiritual help to men.
Thus when both women and men seek the
supernatural side of life they participate in an equality that the trite illusions can
The mystics learned this lesson
of the call to be holy, and they learned something else, too. They learned
from personal experience that, just as the Apostles preached, you only come
to understand the truth of these things by submitting to them. Its
freedom, not repression.
remember that you have been called to live in freedombut not a
freedom that gives free rein to the flesh.
So if you arent willing
to give up everythingincluding any sexual
identityyou are holding back
something from your service to God. Youre trying to serve two masters,
as it were, and thus you cut yourself off from receiving all the
graces God has to offer for the sake of your
salvation. Sadly, if you withhold
anythingwhether it be eroticism, or wealth, or power, or intellectual
presumption, or even the pride of wanting revenge
on those who hurt youfrom the work of your spiritual
purification, there will always be in your heart
some dark selfishness which resists true love and
holds you in slavery to
Esau sold his
birthright for a serving of stew (Genesis 25: 2934), and many Christians
today are just as willing to sell their birthrighttheir
baptismal birthrightfor an
Thats why a culture
of sexin which reproductive sexuality has been stripped of its
lifedooms itself to being a culture of
1. That is, the body does not have meaning in
itself; the body has meaning in its being the temple
of the Holy Spirit.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.
I-II, 26, 4.
3. Acts or fantasies of anal
penetration pull us away from spiritual responsibility into a realm of anger
and self-loathing reflecting—or even compulsively re-enacting—those
times when we weren’t unconditionally accepted as infants or children. The erotic
element of such acts or fantasies ironically derives from the anger of having been
made into an
object—indeed, a piece of garbage—as
a child, in which all human dignity was surrendered and defiled. Thus, behind
all the seeming eroticism, is a dark urge to defile the other or to be defiled
yourself. These acts or fantasies, therefore, lead you right into the
psychological dead-end of sado-masochism, for in their deepest psychological
sense they represent a “worship” of putrefaction and death as a
psychological defense against the fear of death,
and consequently they defile any responsibility
to life itself. Therefore, putting genitals (that have the God-given purpose
of serving reproduction and life) into the place of putrefaction and death is
the sexual equivalent of defiling the Blessed Sacrament in a satanic Black
4. See, for example, Isaiah (54:4-8; 62:1-12),
Jeremiah (32:36-41), Ezekiel (16:1-63), Hosea (2:4-25), and the Song of Songs.
The writers of these works all use motifs of the pagan eros, easily
understood by the secular cultures to whom they wrote, to explain Gods
love for Israel.
The text of
this webpage, integrated with other material from my websites,
has been conveniently organized into a paperback book of 350 pages, including
a comprehensive index.
Though Demons Gloat: They Shall Not Prevail
by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
Though we are attacked by liberal activists from without and by apostasy
from within, the true Church—that is, the body of those who remain
faithful to Church tradition—weeps, and she prays, because she knows
the fate of those who oppose God.
Our enemies might fear love, and they can push love
away, but they can’t kill it. And so the battle against them cannot be
fought with politics; it requires a profound personal struggle against
the immorality of popular culture. The battle must be fought in the
service of God with pure and chaste lifestyles lived from the depths of
our hearts in every moment.