True Love…and Marital Abstinence

“Marital continence is so much more difficult than continence outside marriage because the spouses grow accustomed to intercourse, as befits the state which they have both consciously chosen. Once they begin to have sexual intercourse as a habit, and a constant inclination is created, a mutual need for intercourse comes into being. This need is a normal manifestation of love, and not only in the sensual-sexual sense but in the personal sense too. In matrimony the man and woman belong to each other in a special way, they are ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24).” Love and Responsibility, p. 237

The book Love and Responsibility was written in 1960 (and based on a series of lectures) when Pope John Paul II was Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. It is a beautiful explanation of true love. I would guess that some of this also served as the basis for his talks on the Theology of the Body when he became Pope.

I discovered this wonderful book years ago when I was a young mother with little time for reading. Several times, I had started to read it, but found the intellectual language challenging.

Years later, however, when I finally read the entire book, I was enthralled. This is one of the most beautiful books ever written on love, sex and the responsibility each one of us has with the gift of sexuality. This particular quote helped me to understand why my husband and I often found periodic abstinence (or continence) so difficult.

Pope John Paul II was indeed a wise and holy man. A celibate priest, he had more insight into marriage than most married couples.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Living Together Before Marriage

Here is a comprehensive article called “Seven Reasons Why Living Together Before Marriage is Not a Good Idea.”

“The National Institute for Healthcare Research found that couples not involved before marriage and faithful during marriage are more satisfied with their current sex life than those who were involved sexually before marriage.”

Emily’s Hope and In Name Only websites

We have been working very hard redesigning the Full Quiver website. It’s a long process because we don’t have a lot of time to devote to the project, but our web designer, Mark, has just finished the individual novel pages.

First, contains reviews, a short video of my Catholic TV interview, audio clips of my radio interview on Sacred Heart Radio and an excerpt.

Secondly, contains reviews, another short video of me talking about In Name Only and an excerpt.

Until the end of March, anyone who leaves a comment on this blog will receive a free e-copy of either Emily’s Hope or In Name Only.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Holy Sex, by Gregory Popcak, a book review

In his book, “Holy Sex: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind Blowing Infallible Loving,” Dr. Greg Popcak expertly dispels the long-held societal myth that the Catholic Church teaches that sex is bad. He explains that the Church teaches that marital sex open to life can actually be holy, satisfying and “mind blowing.”

And, despite the fact that this book has “Catholic” in its title, it is not just for Catholics. Every married couple interested in having a great sex life would benefit from this wonderfully candid book.

Dividing his book into four parts, in Part I, the author introduces the truths of what he calls “Infallible Loving.” Part II gives the tools to tap into what he calls “The Five Powers of Holy Sex,” and how readers can learn how to celebrate the sacred, redemptive, heavenly, uniting and creative nature of holy sex. Part III gives readers the necessary information to apply the principles of holy sex to their marriages. Part IV offers practical guidance to overcome sexual problems and challenges.

As an NFP teacher for many years, I already knew much of what was included in this book, but I still found it to be extremely helpful. The author’s humor and candor are particularly entertaining. Anecdotal stories of real couples from the author’s experience as a marriage counselor make this a most interesting and compelling read.

It is explicit in parts and therefore recommended for mature readers. However, I highly recommend “Holy Sex” to any couple who truly wants to experience sacred sexuality.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Virtual NFP Course

James and I are thrilled to be part of a small team of CCL teachers involved in limited piloting of online virtual NFP classes. We have been teaching NFP for 25 years, but because of the rural area in which we live, we don’t get many opportunities to teach Natural Family Planning. We hope that this will change and that we are able to reach many couples through online teaching.

For more information, please feel free to email me at or leave a comment below.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Contraception and the Vocations Crisis

Here is a link to a great article by Rev. Dwight Longenecker about contraception and the vocations crisis:

“It has often been observed that Catholics who have used artificial contraception have helped cause the vocations crisis, because there are simply not enough Catholic boys and girls being born to provide the next generation of priests, brothers, nuns, and sisters… made me realize that the contraceptive culture has affected the vocations question in more subtle and powerful ways.”

NFP: The Long List

My column this month at Amazing Catechists is called “NFP: The Long List.

Natural Family Planning provides many benefits which not only promote healthy living, this remarkable method of birth regulation is also environmentally friendly and fosters authentic marital love.

To read the rest, click on the link below:

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach