There is a miracle fruit you can use to prevent pregnancy. Really.
I had no idea it was even possible to use a fruit for family planning, but you totally can.
I scoured the internet for information about fruit that could help plan a family and found this:
"In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases accessory tissues.
Fruits are the means by which these plants disseminate seeds."
Via - emphasis mine
And thought (and I quote) "HA! Ovaries, seeds...that's funny. And ironic."
OK - you want to know what the fruit is? Fine, fine...I'll let you in on this well-kept secret. The miracle fruit is...
Self-control? A fruit? Yes.
- Galatians 5:22-23
Except "prodigious persistent procrastination" which is difficult to say, but easy to do. Just me?
I want to break this down a bit. There's so much in the statement that self-control is a fruit of the spirit. And so much in saying that we can use self-control to plan our family.
That fruit comes from a flowering plant makes sense. After all, flowers are a thing of beauty. Humans, animals, and insects like flowers. Flowers on the plant attract bees & insects to promote pollination & fertilization, so it seems apropos that a fruit could be used as a family planning tool. Flowers attract the eye, they are things of beauty and are typically sweet smelling, attracting humans and animals to the plant so we can use its fruit as food.
But when flowers are cut off from the branch, vine, or plant they wither and die quickly and do not produce their fruit.
Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing." (John 15:5). I find it incredibly comforting to know that if I remain in Christ he will strengthen me to bear the fruit I am meant to produce. The thing about vines and branches is that it can be very difficult to see where the vine stops and the branch starts; conversely it can be difficult to see where the branch stops and the vine starts. They seem to meld to seamlessly into one another. I tend to think Christ had that in mind when he made this statement. Remain in me, and I'll remain in you and it'll be hard to tell where I stop and you start and vice versa.
Jesus promised us in Matthew 28:20 that he would be with us always, even until the end of the age. The Lord said he would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 & 8, Joshua 1:5). He remains in us - He comes to us in the Eucharist, literally entering our body, strengthening it and becoming one with us.
The farmer or vine grower prunes the branches so that they produce even more fruit. "He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit." (John 15:3)
Have you even gone to Confession and left feeling a bit, ummm, wounded? Like when the Priest cuts through your parsing of words where you tried to talk around your sin and he picks the one thing you wish he would ignore to counsel you in a way to help you grow and rip the sin out of your life? And it is for your own good, you know that. But it hurts.
When we remain in Him by frequenting the sacrament of Reconciliation which allows us to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, he truly remains in us strengthening us to bear fruit.
Can I just point something out about this particular fruit (self-control) though?
This fruit, self-control, is a stone fruit, Seriously, it's the pits.
The core of the fruit is hard, tough and when people encounter it, they usually want to spit or throw it out - but it is the seed - and if you use that hard part, you can grow more fruit!
I'd liken self-control to an avocado. It looks ugly on the outside (who would want to practice self-control?! That's no fun at all!). When you get into it though - mmmmm, so good (and good for you). Then you hit the pit. The big, hard, can't cut it, pit. And you think, "no way, this is too hard. I can't continue." But if you do - if you look at the hard part for what it is and use it like it is meant to be used (you plant it - offering it back to God), it bears more fruit. More delicious green avocado goodness.
Natural Family Planning (fertility awareness combined with self-control, a.k.a., abstinence) is all about helping us grow temperance, self-control and self-mastery in our marriages. Our marriages, a sacrament of communion, are all about helping our spouse to grow into the person God created him/her to be. And being the people God created us to be will lead us to our ultimate goal: Heaven.
And who are we meant to be? Someone who knows, loves and serves God. His disciples. "By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." (John 15:8)
Spend a few moments contemplating Matthew 13:3-9, the parable of the sower who sowed his seed, some on the path, some on the rocky ground, some among the thorns and some in rich soil.
When you think about the fruit (of the spirit) as a way for the vine (Christ, God) to disseminate seeds - what does Matthew 13:3-9 mean to you?
Welcome to Natural Family Planning Awareness Week! I have a couple posts about NFP this week. Please know that I am not speaking with a condemning tone towards anyone or towards the way anyone practices NFP. I am not putting down anyone's experience with NFP. As an NFP user and teacher, I have encountered people in every walk of life living NFP in difficult circumstances on all parts of the infertility/subfertility/average fertility/super fertility scale. In fact, I've moved along this scale myself over the years. Please know that you and your spouse and family are in my prayers. If you are using NFP - I admire you - not many have the courage to go against the grain and commit to such a radical view of and respect for their fertility.