The Male, the Female, the People, the God

An aggrieved party writes that he is offended by what he perceives to be my subtle attack on gay marriage. Because that’s what Catholics obsess on all day, obviously. Once again, projection, much?

The piece in question is actually about the blood covenant that exists between God and humanity and the way it is reflected and given fruitfulness in the shedding of our foreskins and hymens.

I know, I know, just saying the words makes people feel all ughy. But I think it’s well past time we pondered what that stuff is all about. I’m not saying I have all the answers, but my thinking runs this way:

The taint of Original Sin: God has been trying to get us to trust Him, to reveal ourselves to Him and to be vulnerable and open to Him ever since.

Perhaps this explains the command by God for the Jews to circumcise the men. The foreskin of the penis affords some protection for the organ—a bit of shelter, a place to hide. When God chose the Jews as His own, he required this symbolic (and real) acquiescence, this willingness to be completely vulnerable and exposed to whatever may come. The unsheathed penis is extraordinarily sensitive and responsive—precisely the qualities God wanted of the Jews. He made a covenant with them; He would be their God, they would be His people, and the deal was sealed in blood. At its shedding, man and God are bonded.

The need to be vulnerable and open to God is part and parcel of having a real relationship with Him, just as it is the necessary component in human relationships. We see the blood covenant and the need for vulnerability and openness mirrored in the relationship between a husband and wife—or we did, when virginity was kept for marriage. The thin membrane of the hymen is a kind of counterpart to the foreskin. In shedding the foreskin the Jew becomes openly vulnerable to God. In remaining a virgin until marriage, the woman becomes vulnerable only (but fully) to her husband, and he—in receiving that vulnerability—answers only to her, gives his deepest self and the sweat of all of his labors to her. It is another blood covenant. At the shedding of that blood, they become one flesh. One entity.

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about how far we are from understanding the profound depths of God’s love for us – a love so strong that he made himself vulnerable in order to teach us that we can depend upon him in our own vulnerability; a love so strong that God humbled himself to depend on human beings to assist in his Incarnation and survival, and still depends upon us to assist in the continuation of his creation – we little sparks of his Divine self:

Christ has opened God to us, through Himself. God does the unthinkable and makes himself vulnerable and says “Come . . . stop making excuses, stop hiding yourselves, stop blaming others, stop throwing yourselves away, stop running from my love. Turn and face me. Ephphatha, be opened, and let me love you, let me give myself to you as you give yourself to me, and this will bear fruit.”

Isn’t it just the most astonishing thing?

Simcha Fisher is also thinking about the male and female, today:

A few years ago, I found myself trading funny kid stories with a group of moms. I told them about my then three-year-old daughter who—unlike her older sisters—had older brothers as role models. She was running along and suddenly took a magnificent header, SPLAT, right on her face on the floor. “And then,” I said, “She just got up, shook it off, and kept running! It’s because she has older brothers.”

Shocked silence. I might as well have said, “It’s because we stopped binding her feet!” I might as well have offered them my business card as leader of the Artificial Gender Manipulation Consortium, now offering classes on How To Reinforce Outmoded Stereotypes. The group broke up and wandered away, the spirit of motherly cameraderie quashed.

We keep pretending we know so much. But the things we pretend we know, particularly these days, fly in the face of 5,000 years of previous understanding. No chance we’re getting any of it wrong?

Tim Muldoon, on Teaching Grace:

Sanity appears to be insanity to the insane. We who dwell within this way understand at a deep level—a level unknown to others, but obvious to us when we go there in prayer every day—that the reality of love is so powerful, so overwhelming, that it shapes every conscious and even unconscious decision.

If we, in this Lenten time, can allow ourselves to be just a little bit vulnerable, to learn to be willing to be loved, as scary as that sounds, then everything will become different. It cannot be otherwise.

See also: Tony Rossi’s piece on Embracing The Human Experience

Related:
“About Last Night…”
Diversity, Dignity and my Daughter
Journalist blames Church for Overpopulation
Second Guessing the Sexual Revolution

One Reason for Catholic Flight from Confession
So, this is love
Established in our minds through telling and retelling

"Brilliant. Despite lots of coffee, I just don't come up with such clarity of thought ..."

Pope Francis Has Set a Confrontation ..."
"While I haven't followed any of the brouhaha, I would like to say that what ..."

Pope Francis Sets a Confrontation in ..."
"I love Fr. Barron's take- miseria et miscordia, misery in mercy. Because mercy *requires* both ..."

Pope Francis Sets a Confrontation in ..."
"There is something positively medieval about the theologians letter. Sadly, not in the good sense ..."

Pope Francis Sets a Confrontation in ..."

Browse Our Archives