In my book, The Veil, I discuss good fruits and rotten fruits. I share a concept called Superabundance first coined by Dietrich von Hildebrand over 70 years ago. Von Hildebrand was a brilliant philosopher and had a deep understanding of the nature and dignity of the human person. I can only scratch the surface of the meaning in most of his writings because he is so brilliant.
However, this term Superabundance caught my attention because I think it describes what happens when the virtue of Chastity is present before and practiced in marriage. With Superabundance, the marriage is lifted to the supernatural spiritual plane, with the power of grace, rather than remaining at the dull, human level. Let’s define Superabundance.
Superabundance: an inner richness that, because of its inner nobility, flows over and brings about a fruit that, in the case of the marital embrace, is a new human being made to God’s image and likeness.
Von Hildebrand’s concept of Superabundance is an inner richness that flows over and brings about fruit. This good fruit includes children and many other common human desires such as faithfulness, devotion, sacrifice, reliability, gentleness, constancy, affection, admiration, freedom, security, peace, compassion and protection.
For Catholics, our faith already teaches that chastity, which includes sexual abstinence before marriage, is a virtue, and that virtue bears fruit. The Catechism also teaches us that in the case of marriage, the practice of chastity (remaining open to life) naturally leads to patience, temperance, prudence, honesty and trust. Clearly these fruits of real love are characteristic of a man who is devoted and is into you.
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect
We should not judge by physical appearance alone. In fact, that is exactly what Chastity prevents. It takes the whole person into view; their mind, their heart, their soul and their gifts. It elevates their presence here on earth to that spiritual plane. And, it makes what the world would describe as a plain Jane, pretty, similar to what Pat Archbold describes in his article . Archbold makes the connection between the virtue of chastity (which results in a sense of innocence) and how women are seen, and treated, by others.
But what about physical imperfections? That is another thing I noticed about chaste couples and the Superabundance that flows from their virtue. The physical imperfections are there but the wife is at peace with herself and radiates that peace. Average women are lifted to a higher level. They become pretty because of their interior radiance. And, their husband’s love for them grows rather than diminishes with time.
My observation is that women in chaste marriage confidently remove themselves from the competitiveness often found in other women. Women in chaste marriages don’t hate their bodies the way other women seem to. They are not hormonally influenced by the birth control pill nor are they rendered neutral through voluntary sterilization. Their bodies are seen as life-giving and miraculous rather than flawed and in need of manipulation and fixing.
They feel free to allow their hair to go gray, or not, and see it as a sign of their mature achievement in life. They are proud of their age and don’t struggle against the clock as much or talk about themselves or other women in a degrading manner. They have endured and have peace with their bodies and themselves.
This, I propose, is the result of the Superabundance.