God does want us to be happy

Pope Francis reminds us, “God loves the enjoyment felt by human beings.” In Sirach, we read, “My son, treat yourself well. Do not deprive yourself of a happy day.” (Sir 14:11-14). Critics depict the Church as a wet towel on the human passion (the eros). Pope Francis building from St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict, assure us that the Church’s regard for passionate love is indeed genuine and far from a wet towel. What the Church does target is abuse and “warped” use of human passions and emotions. As the Church teaches morality (the ethos), it is giving us training in how to channel our desires in a healthy way. That healthy way builds strength in families discovering generous commitment, patience, hope, and goodness.
St. John Paul II devoted much energy early in his papacy to teach us the truth of God’s gift of our created masculinity and femininity. He was not shy in presenting the truth of our creation compete with all the passions that come with that. Some argue that the Church merely tolerates passion as a necessary part of procreation. That position is wrong. The Church has consistently taught that men and women draw from the eros in marriage, building unity as they partner with God to continue the human race. That theme comes out of St. Paul and St. Thomas Aquinas. Pope Francis reminds us that the Church does not simply tolerate our passionate side. What the Church does is lead us to ways to master ourselves. We learn perseverance and consistency with an appreciation for our physical existence bringing dignity to women and men.
Our differences as men and women are real. The differences enable new life to come into the world and allow husband and wife to become amazing and pleasurable gifts to each other. For couples that form a genuinely unbreakable covenant in marriage, this gift builds over the years through good times and bad. This two-person covenant commitment provides the special place where the pleasure of passionate love enriches the bond as two become one. Pope Francis teaches that giving dignity to another reveals “the marvels of which the human heart is capable.” Blessed be marriage in its fullness as it connects the eros and ethos on our human nature.