Attitude Conjugal act

Our Attitude is Everything

6:00:00 AMCatherine F. O'Camb

The most memorable day of the week is the day when everything goes according to plan. The day gradually unfolds before our eyes. As we take a deep breath and the crisp air fills our lungs we think to ourselves that the day could not get any better. But then we wake up.  Our perfect day, in our perfect dream, in our perfect sleep is actually not so perfect. We wake up twenty minutes late. We sleep through the alarm clock. We feel a sore throat. Our covers feel heavier than ever while we feel ourselves being swallowed into the bed. We are not able to uncurl ourselves. A second later, our thoughts cease and we expose ourselves to the cold. We quickly roll out of bed and stumble through the dark with one eye barely open. After we rinse our eyes and hurriedly get ready, we rush through the door to get to our car, to drive to work before we are late again. But as we stick our hand into our pocket, to grab our keys, a sudden terror rushes over our body-the keys are gone.  
The next step we take here is asking ourselves, how are we going to react? There is no doubt we have a couple of options, but we must keep in mind that no matter what: our attitude means everything. The options that can demonstrate the ending of this scenario are responding to the lost keys with a positive attitude or a negative attitude.
One option is to take this scenario into the positive direction. With a positive attitude we are able to look at the best outcome of any given situation. We find that being positive requires patience and endurance and constantly seeking the desired end, even when the present moment might damper our desire. We are able to handle the situation knowing that we can replace our keys or study harder for the next test. With a positive attitude, we look beyond the adversity of the given moment.
When we take our attitude in the other direction and negatively respond, we find ourselves no longer seeing clearly. We see things the wrong way or not in the best way possible. Losing our keys seems like the end of the world and stack on every possible thing that could go wrong from there on. When our attitude is negative, we do not do justice to the situation. Our judgment is provoked by hopelessness and misunderstanding. The negative attitude leads to a self-centered/self-pitying way of thinking. It not only affects us, but it affects not only us but also those around us through our behavior.
Little situations like the scenario of losing our keys happen to us everyday. The way we handle these situations with our attitudes becomes habitual and leads us to a greater understanding of ourselves. When we reflect on our habits, our true character is revealed.  Eventually the attitude we develop influences our character, whether that is positive or negative. Then, when we are faced with challenges that demand more of ourselves, we dip into our experience to recall what we know best and how to proceed in the best way, which again can be in a positive or negative direction.
As we observe the realm of purity and impurity with physical intimacy we find that our attitude has to be properly developed. We are intimate beings who long for union. We discover that physical intimacy is one of the most sacred spheres where we find ourselves struggling with positive and negative attitudes. Physical intimacy is sacred because there is a “fundamental union of love” that remains only between the lover and the beloved. [1] There is something unique and mysterious about the union, which makes us wonder in awe. The sacredness of the conjugal act is such a precious and hidden secret, in a sense it could draw us to our knees in reverence. The pureness it reflects in its uniqueness increases our desire to know its meaning, but we must try to understand and contemplate its mystery first. This attitude towards the conjugal act is a positive one. We look not to degradate or desecrate the sacredness of the conjugal act, but rather relish and delight in it. [2] Although we feel a tug by its attraction to know all of it in the moment, we choose to be patient and wait for when the time is proper and right for the mystery to be unveiled such as that in marriage. We remain pure as the conjugal act itself is pure, demands of us.
On the other hand, when our attitude towards physical intimacy is negative, we view the act in a way that counters the fullness of the relation that comes from being in union with the other (i.e. pure, impure way such as in the case of unwedded lovers).When our attitude is negative, we overlook that which is sacred and unique, focusing only on that which brings sensual pleasure.  The depth of the conjugal act is reduced to the point that the act is only “performed solely for its own unconditional love). [3] What we would have once pondered with reverence and awe (the lover, the beloved, and union together), we cannot anymore because we have betrayed ourselves and our partner of the “unique self-donation” which is contingent on giving ourselves to another freely.[4]
Therefore, we must reevaluate ourselves in our attitudes towards physical intimacy. Where our attitudes develop in the little things such as as in the case where we lose our keys, we must be reassured that we will not fall into a dark realm of negativity. We must not approach physical intimacy with impurity because we may encounter the danger of “flinging ourselves away” and negate all the beautiful and positive characteristics the intimate act possesses. [5] Let us then strive to cultivate a positive attitude towards our situation. Also, with trusting by being patient and enduring, our day can and will look as we dream. Most of all, let us be positively pure in our attitudes towards physical intimacy that we may enter into an “intentional and final surrender of lasting external union” with our beloved that we may be led into a sacred place of eternal love. [6]  

Image 1: A Few of the Keys. Fanny Chambers Gooch Iglehart (1842-1913) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/A_few_of_the_keys_-_p.040.jpg

[1] Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Defense of Purity. p. 24
[2] Ibid., p.22
[3] Ibid., p.21
[4] Ibid., p.21
[5] Ibid., p.21
[6] Ibid., p.21

 

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2 comments

  1. Your spoke from your heart and it shows. What you share is so true and a lot to reflect on. Our attitude in life makes a big difference in how we begin our day and end it. The gift of oneself to each other in marriage is a sacred act. You have expressed this beautifully in your writing. Thank you for your sharing your thoughts. May others who read your writings be inspired.

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  2. Dear Rebecca,

    I was going through the blog posts and just saw your comment. I am sorry for not responding sooner! Thank you very much for your kind words. I hope our writings continue to inspire you.

    Sincerely,
    Catherine O'Camb

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