When God created Adam and Eve, he created them for one another. Men and women are made to physically and spiritually complement one another. When Adam saw Eve for the first time, he exclaimed in utter joy, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” And the author of Genesis continues, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:23–24). Though Adam enjoyed the intimate company of God his Creator, he still longed for and was not satisfied until he could physically and spiritually join himself to one like himself—a woman. Thus God established marriage as a communion of life and love by which a man and a woman share with one another a sincere gift of self.
Together in marriage, most especially in the loving act where the two become one flesh, men and women reflect the very image of God and his love for all of humanity. Yes, you read that correctly. Our Catholic faith teaches us that sex is good—that in fact, sex is holy—and that it allows men and women to come together in a union that draws them into the loving union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Blessed Trinity. God created our bodies with a spousal meaning, to be given in a free and total gift of self. While this certainly finds a high point in sexual union, it involves a whole communion of life and love as couples live out each day of their married lives together. A husband makes of himself a gift to his wife every day, as does a wife for her husband. Christ elevated the covenant of marriage to the level of a sacrament, by which the spouses’ gift of self draws each person into a deeper relationship with God. In this way the sacrament of marriage becomes a vehicle for God to plant his love more deeply in our souls and sanctify us.
God gave us the gift of our sexuality to draw us closer to him through one another. The act of giving and receiving love during intercourse mirrors God’s giving of himself completely over to us, his creatures, in the person of Jesus Christ. “Marriage has God for its Author, and was from the very beginning a kind of foreshadowing of the Incarnation of His Son.” This sincere gift of self embedded in the sexual intimacy of married love reflects Christ’s union with the Church as he gave the supreme gift of self when he died on the cross. His death, the gift of his very life for humankind, is the act that brought about our salvation and unites us with him. Because Christ’s union with the Church is reflected in the sacrament of marriage, Catholics often refer to Christ as the Bridegroom, the Church as the Bride of Christ, and to the Mass as the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Sex, then, is of primary importance as far as our Catholic faith is concerned. It is a foretaste of the intimate union with one another and with God that we will enjoy in heaven. Sex makes visible the invisible mystery of God’s love, when lived out in the manner God intends. In fact, sex is the act through which the sacrament of marriage is renewed and strengthened. Coming together as husband and wife, we renew with our bodies the promises we made on our wedding day. With our bodies, we say to each other, “I have come here freely to give myself to you. I will accept children lovingly from God. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”...
Excerpted from Facing Infertility: A Catholic Approach by Jean, Dimech-Juchniewicz