Former Franciscan student speaks on longing for intimacy

Elizabeth A. Boudreaux
Staff Writer

Few relationships can express the concrete intimacy we long for, said a former Franciscan University of Steubenville student at the fourth talk of the Human Sexuality Symposium in the Gentile Gallery Monday at 9 p.m.

Anna Carter, co-founder and president of the Eden Invitation, said many people think of “marriage as life’s end game.” Under the stresses of college life, students often feel a burdensome pressure to know the future, especially in the context of a future spouse, she said.

Carter said each human has a personal passion for “those relationships that are beyond sexuality.”

“We all exist in a network of relationships,” said Carter. “Jesus existed in a network of relationships.”

Not every relationship can provide intimacy, Carter said. However, Jesus offers an intimate friendship, as revealed in the Trinity. Carter pointed out that at the Last Supper, Jesus was close and comfortable enough with the twelve apostles that John rested his head on Jesus’ chest, as seen in John 13:23.

Carter said that although many people find one significant other with whom to spend the rest of their lives, there are a vast number of relationships that never go past the stage of friendship. Our culture greatly lacks an understanding of how to act in these simple friendships.

Often individuals will begin to date, and as they are known better by the person they are dating, other friendships that had been less exclusive are overlooked, Carter said.

Sometimes an individual feels a call to the religious life and no longer knows how to foster wholesome friendships that do not seek romantic attention, she said. In past years it has become especially hard to foster friendships with people of the same gender without pressure or concern for romantic feelings.

Carter gave practical tips to the youth of our time by identifying three main types of friendships: receiving friendships, reciprocal friendships and giving friendships. She said that it is important to understand healthy behavior and boundaries in each type of friendship in order for them to flourish and provide the love-filled intimate friendships for which everyone longs.

Carter said that “longing for love and intimacy are longing for God.” He created us to know Him and to be known by Him, she said.

The next segment of the Human Sexuality Symposium will be in the Gentile Gallery Sunday Sept. 12 at 9 p.m.