In the first book of the Bible, we read that we are created in the image and likeness of God. He created us male and female and we are complementary and can come together, in what we call today Marriage, and procreate according to God’s will.
In the New Testament, Jesus taught us how we ought to love in Marriage. God’s love for His Church, His Bride is:
Free – He came freely to save us
Total – He gave His all (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity)
Faithful – He said He will be with us always
Fruitful – He said He came that we may have life and have it abundantly.
God wants spouses to love each other in that same way.
As it says in the wedding vows: Have you come here freely, no one forcing you to marry, and without reservation – giving yourself completely as a gift to your spouse, no holding back any part of oneself? God wants spouses to remain faithful to each other for the rest of their lives together and to be fruitful – open to life. Will you accept children lovingly from God?
In the very first chapter of the Bible, Gen 1: 28, we read: “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…’.”
So we see that from the beginning children are a great blessing. God loves life and wants us to be generous in giving life.
There are two purposes of the marital act or sexual intercourse: bonding of the couple (Unitive), and babies (Procreative). Therefore, no one should be surprised when a pregnancy occurs since that is part of what sex was created for. In Humane Vitae written by Pope Paul VI, he said that these two meanings, bonding (Unitive) and babies (Procreative), are inseparable, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative. This is the very nature of sex and this natural law is “written on hearts” and in our bodies!
So every time a couple come together to renew their married vows through sexual intercourse (because that is what it is) they ought to respect these two ends. In other words, each act of sexual intercourse is supposed to be open to the possibility of a new life and it is contrary to God’s order to put any barrier to stop this from occurring. Natural Family Planning respects these two ends in that the couple abstains during the fertile period if they are planning to postpone or avoid a pregnancy for the time being. It is the difference between using one another for sexual pleasure, disregarding God’s order; and loving one another by respecting God’s order of keeping the unitive and procreative aspects of the marriage act intact.
Pope Paul VI has said that contraception is intrinsically evil, meaning that it is disordered from within. Nowadays many people do not know this because our culture promotes contraception as normal and many people take it for granted that they will use contraception to avoid a pregnancy. They may be innocent in using contraception and it is not our business to condemn anyone. However, when a couple come to understand how detrimental contraception really is, how harmful it is particularly to women’s health, how easily they can end up using one another, how easily they can lose respect for one another through not taking into account the gift of the woman’s fertility, which is such a precious part of her, then they will want to learn the natural method of family regulation.
Pope Paul VI also spoke to these couples encouraging them to keep striving to live the truth and to recognise that the Church is a mother who is always willing to give them another chance and to avail of the sacrament of reconciliation regularly and of course the Holy Mass where we receive the Eucharist, which is food for the journey, where we receive Jesus through whom all the graces are available to live this good and free life.