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Theme three: The meaning of Human Sexuality Print
Guest column
Thursday, Jul. 23, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Beth Ulaszek

To prepare for the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September, the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Diocese of Madison is providing a monthly series on a particular theme on marriage and family. Each theme is a chapter in the preparatory catechesis developed for the event entitled Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive, available in paperback from or for free online at

Four years ago I was given the first in a series of life changing gifts in the form of a diamond ring.

For weeks I would stare and delight in its beauty as light touched it and bounced back in various colors. In my excitement every friend, acquaintance, and stranger got to know my beloved as I feverishly relayed the story of how such a beautiful gift wound up on my finger.

Greater gifts followed as I became a wife and mother of two.

Chapter three of the Preparatory Catechesis for the World Meeting of Families, "The Meaning of Human Sexuality," emphasizes a key theme of both St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body and Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si': the idea of gift!

God saw how good it was

God sees and affirms the goodness of His creation no less than seven times in the first chapter of Genesis.

Human sexuality is taken even higher and given pride of place among the rest of creation as, "God created man in his image."

God created male and female in the divine image. In the divine image! This should absolutely stun us.

The gift

Humans are destined to participate in divine life, in God's eternal exchange of love. God's very nature is that of a gift.

God is a trinity because He eternally pours Himself out in love to the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the direct and real result of the Son pouring all of that love right back to the Father.

Human nature is to desire that gift. Our desire is made evident in our sexuality.

The complementarity of the sexes acts just as the Trinity does. Man gives himself as a gift to woman. As woman receives and returns the gift to man, a third person comes into existence just as the Holy Spirit did.

The divine image we are created in is God as an eternal gift. The Preparatory Catechesis says, "Sexual difference is a primordial reminder that we are made to give ourselves away to others guided by virtue and God’s love."

We are made to be a gift that reveals God's great love to our spouses, family, parishes, community, and the world.

Just like the diamond on my left ring finger tells the world that my beloved has chosen me, human sexuality properly understood and lived out reveals to the world God's great love for His creation and our eternal destination in heaven with the author of love Himself.

Beth Ulaszek is the associate marriage and family life coordinator in the Diocese of Madison.