I have not always been a practicing Catholic. I used to be one of those Catholics that say they are Catholic but want to change the Church, on such issues as contraception. I figured it was old-fashioned and would one day change with the times.  Never in a million years did I think I would actually change, not the Church.

I was raised by parents who believed contraception was valid and healthy. I remember my mother handing me an Ann Landers book on how to know if you are ready for sex. It included all the contraception methods out there, as well as statistics on reliability. It also had a love test to know if you are ready and mature enough to have sex. Any love-struck teenager girl could have easily passed the “Love Test.”

When I was in college, my mother found my birth control pills. She was really upset. I was confused because I thought she would be proud of me. I was “taking care of myself,” isn’t that what she wanted me to do? All she wanted to know was if I was planning on marrying the young man that I was sleeping with, and that might make it all right in her mind. I was not even close to thinking about marriage and made that clear to her.

My mother’s generation didn’t mind pre-marital sex if a promise ring was involved, or maybe a marriage proposal nearby. My generation had taken it to a new level: pre-marital sex was fine if you liked the guy.  I remember the debate with my mom so clearly, “Mom, what is the difference? They are both pre-marital sex! Is it wrong, or not wrong?”  She did not have an answer for that, so she started praying the rosary every day, and I noticed.

There is a saying, “Sin leads to more sin.” I did not like the girl I was becoming and wanted to change. This was something I could not accomplish alone — I needed some Divine help. So I went to confession, I returned to Mass, I went to Holy Hours, I stopped dating. I told my girlfriends my new decision to not have sex again till marriage, and asked for their support and help. A true friend wants you to be the best you can be.

My life changed for the better because “Virtue leads to more virtue.”  My grades improved, my outlook on life changed, I had a purpose and goals that God was going to help me accomplish. I also started praying for my future husband, that God could help him with any struggles he may have with purity.

I also decided the Church was right about pre-marital sex being wrong, and that contraception had led me down the road to a bad decision. I figured it would affect me the same way in marriage. I decided it was wrong and I would trust God to lead me to a man that felt the same way.

God took care of me and led me to a great husband. We consider fertility a gift and we are not at war with and trying to “fix” our fertility issues.  Natural Family Planning has led me to be able to read my body, discover a thyroid and hormone problem that may have gone unknown if masked by a Pill.

I have a mini-van full of kids and would not have it any other way. If you see a large family, don’t assume NFP doesn’t work. Assume that the parents are still really attracted to each other, assume that their love is strong enough to accept another child, assume that they really, really love each other and don’t mind little people exactly like their spouses on this earth.  God is good, do not be afraid of His blessing, He will give you more than you can handle so that you are truly dependent on Him.

submitted from Virginia

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