Last Sunday we had the first of eight sessions in our Theology of the Body Course at our Paulding campus. The evening was broken into four parts: adoration, food and fellowship, a video of Christopher West presenting Theology of the Body, and finally a short discussion. Here are some of the questions you could say the presentation would’ve answered:
–What is Theology of the Body? This is a series of 129 talks Pope John Paul II delivered between September 1979 and November 1984. It is a biblical reflection on the meaning of human embodiment as male and female, particularly as they are called to become “one flesh”.
–Why did John Paul II begin his pontificate by emphasizing a deeper understanding of the human person and sexual love? Answer: the Pope wanted to help the Church build a “culture of life”. But that culture begins with the relationship of man and woman. If we don’t return to God’s plan for making man and woman one flesh, we cannot advance in building a culture of life.
–Why is Theology of the Body teaching that everybody needs, not just married couples? God made everybody either male or female. Each person’s existence is as a man or a woman. And that involves our body. Understanding the meaning of our body means understanding the meaning of our humanity.
–What is the effect the culture’s understanding of sexuality has overall on the health of a culture? The union of man and woman is the deepest foundation of human ethics and culture. There is the saying: “As sex goes, so goes marriage. As marriage goes, so goes the family. As the family goes, so goes the world.” All social problems can be tracked back to a breakdown of the family and the male/female relationship. Consider abortion, poverty, drugs, crime and even world war. Reject God’s plan for the union of man and woman, and you build a “culture of death”.
-If secular ideologies were at work in the 20th century to rid culture of a Christian sexual ethic, the Church today must begin to reclaim it. Theology of the Body is an instrument to achieve that goal.
–Does there exist a “false split” between body and spirit in our culture today? Yes, there does exist this false dichotomy. On one end of the spectrum you see legalism, prudishness and repression of sexuality. All this characterizes a negative understanding of the body. But then there are those who wrongly emphasize the body (without considering the spirit/soul), leading to permissiveness, shamelessness and unrestrained indulgence of sexuality.
–How does the body make invisible things visible? The body is like a “sacrament” of the person. Of course it is not one of the seven Sacraments. But it works like a sacrament, because it is a visible sign of the invisible mystery of the inner human person.. When you look at a person, what you see is the body; but not just anybody, but somebody.
–Why do people often disdain their bodies, rather than seeing God’s beauty and them? The culture around us incessantly lies about the meaning of our bodies. The media hold out an impossible standard of physical beauty. Eventually this has a profound impact on the way people view their own bodies.
Thank you for your continued prayers for this course. I was so happy to see the number of young married couples and singles who attended the course. I hope that Theology of the Body becomes standard knowledge in all of our homes. In this way we can begin to protect our children against the current culture’s misunderstanding of human sexuality.
On another note, thank you very much to Deacon Bob Nighswander, Russ Reinhart and Paul Reinhart, who have worked over the last number of weeks to clean up our sacristy at the Antwerp campus. With Russ in the lead, the hallway between the priest’s sacristy and the altar boys’ sacristy has been opened again. For decades now, the altar servers have had to vest in a narrow, dark hallway, only wide enough for one person. It was nearly impossible to move around each other. Closets have been built for the servers’ cassocks and surplices, and cabinets have been moved around to provide a much more logical and efficient space as we prepare for all of our liturgies at that campus. Check out their work after Mass someday!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,