From time to time, all of us need to go back to our roots, reflecting on and recapturing those treasures which may have been lost or corrupted over the years. For Catholics, going back to our roots as Christians means revisiting what it means to have been baptized; it means delving deeper into the implications of having been confirmed in the Faith and being fully initiated as Christians filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit; it means comprehending the  consequences of being transformed by the Body and Blood of Christ when we receive His Real Presence in the Eucharist; it means acknowledging the need to repent of our sins in the Sacrament of Penance, with a firm purpose of amendment when we have strayed from His path, so that we can be restored to a right relationship with God through His bountiful and merciful grace.
For us, as Catholics, recalling our roots as Christians also means living as a people whose collective memory of the faith goes back 2,000 years, to the time of Jesus and the early post-resurrection Christian community. This enables us to better understand why our century is so focused on itself rather than God.
One of the problems with this generation, is that the rebellious youth of the 1960’s invented the “sexual revolution” to ‘liberate’ people from the ‘stifling’ codes of sexual conduct that had reigned for centuries. The truth is that they didn’t really discover anything new; they simply returned to the libertine practices of sexual behavior found in the pagan worlds of ancient Greek and Roman cultures. In fact, it was the early Christian community that brought about a sexual revolution, rejecting the hedonism of the Greco-Roman culture and replacing it with an ethic that valued purity for the sake of the Kingdom of God, and viewed marriage between a man and a woman as an icon of the covenant relationship between Christ and His beloved Spouse, the Church. In this sense, the virtue of chastity is the pearl of great price that we read about in the Gospel, because it leads us to the Kingdom of God.
One of the reasons why this historical Christian understanding of sexual morality is incomprehensible to so many people today is that so many of them, including many who actually call themselves Christians, adhere to a type of ‘religion’ that is essentially non-Christian. This belief system is found to be especially prominent among Catholic and mainline Protestant teenagers. While there are some worthwhile elements (such as belief in the existence of God, loving our neighbor and seeking happiness), what is missing from this approach are some other very important elements of Christianity: the Word of God revealed in Sacred Scripture and Tradition; a Trinitarian understanding of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the incarnation of God as man in the person of Jesus, His redemptive suffering and death, and His resurrection and ascension into heaven; the Lord’s call to repentance, conversion of heart, taking up one’s cross, self-sacrificial love, purity of heart, and, most of all, putting God above everyone and everything else so as to enjoy eternal life.
It just boils down to this: to decide whether God is more important than sex. As simple as that answer may sound, it is also deeply profound. It seems to escape most people in our culture today. When you stop to think about it, the fact that so many people regard sex as more important than God is at the root of so many of our society’s ills, including abortion, contraception, adultery, fornication and homosexual relations.
Obeying God’s commandments is not impossible, if indeed we are convinced that God is more important than our own selfish desires.. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). There is no greater happiness than to see God. It’s very possible to live a life of purity and chastity if we truly love God more than our own selfish desires. Coming to that conclusion and living according to that conviction of faith requires God’s grace, for “with God, all things are possible.”