By: Vincent Weaver
In scanning through online news articles today, I ran across a fascinating story of a young engineer in NYC who frequently passed several homeless people on his way to work. One man, in particular, the engineer found to be “a smart guy” – someone who was often found reading books or writing. The engineer said, “I was trying to think of a way to engage him and help him.” Ultimately, the engineer came up with a couple of intriguing, helpful options for the homeless man to choose from, if he was so inclined. (Rather than spoil the ending, I’ll let you click here if you want to read the full story.)
Although this point may have not been immediately obvious, in considering how he was going to engage the homeless man in a helpful way, he was developing several dimensions of his sexuality. That’s right – he was developing his sexuality. “Huh? What are you talking about?”, you might be saying. Let me explain.
At Family Honor, we present programs designed to unpack the meaning of Blessed (soon-to-be-“Saint”) John Paul II’s teachings on human sexuality known as the “Theology of the Body”. One of his many key points is that sex is not about what we do – it’s about who we are – and we are each a person with many dimensions. Those various dimensions of our sexuality can be summed-up with the acronym S-P-I-C-E. These 5 elements stand for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional. (To get an idea of one way SPICE is discussed in our programs, click on this video link.) It’s important that we each continually strive to develop ourselves in each of these aspects of who we are.
Spiritual – What can you do today, this week, or this year to develop spiritually? This all comes down to spending time building that relationship with God. Just like you’d do with a good friend, it takes time to nurture that relationship. Going to mass once a week or only praying once in a while isn’t enough for a fruitful bond with our Lord. Prayer, frequent participation in the Sacraments, Eucharistic Adoration and reading the Bible all are good ways to spend time strengthening that relationship with our Creator. Regular, every day efforts go a long way in this regard.
Physical – Our bodies matter. It is only through our bodies that others come to know the other dimensions of who we are. In the Bible, we hear that our bodies are like “temples”. Do we treat them that way? Do we treat them with sacred respect? How are we utilizing our bodies to reflect genuine love for others? This was one way the engineer at the start of this blog was developing his sexuality. He was physically approaching the homeless man to see what he could do to help. God gave most of us the physical ability to do an awful lot of loving things for others in this world. Are we making the most of those talents? What would this world be like if all of us did that?
Intellectual – What goals are we setting for ourselves? Do we think of the consequences of our actions? What are we doing each day to stimulate our brains – to learn and gain from the wisdom of the Church and from others with more life experience than us? Once again, the engineer was using his intellect to figure out ways to be helpful. What a good way to develop intellectually!
Creative – All of us have talents. Many (if not most) of us keep them locked up inside because we’re too busy, too distracted, too afraid to fail, or too concerned with what others may think of us doing something different. God has a plan for each of us. Seeking Him and listening to Him so we can know what He has in mind will help us discover those hidden talents and be the person He intends us to be.
Emotional – Our emotions can send us in many different, sometimes volatile, directions. However, our emotions are gifts from God. They give us the energy and the enthusiasm to step in when we sense an injustice, to help someone who’s down on their luck (like our engineer with the homeless man), or to simply express love. Our emotions are God-given tools to help us do the right thing. How can we better channel that energy each day to be more loving?
The key with each of these is to find balanced ways every day to work on all of these dimensions of who we are as a person – to become a sexually-mature person. A person who takes the time to do this will find genuine love to be at the center of who they are, and they will more easily see God in themselves and in others. Did that engineer “see God” in the homeless man? I don’t know, but I’d say his “eyesight” was becoming clearer with each step he took in developing his SPICE.