On Sunday, February 28, we had our second session of Young Adult Theology of the Body. Once again there was a nice mix of married couples and singles. The format was the same: half an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, half an hour of food and fellowship, half an hour of watching the video presentation, and finally half an hour of discussion, led by me. The following are questions and answers that were covered in this session, entitled “The Great Analogy of Spousal Love.”
What is the “mystery” that has been hidden in God for eternity, and how does the body signify it? The mystery is the Trinitarian Life and Love of God’s eternal Communion as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The body signifies the life and love of the Trinity through the mystery of sexual difference and the call of male and female to become “one flesh”.
Why do you think the spousal image is used far more than any other in Scripture to describe God’s love for us? God uses the bridegroom/bride metaphor to refer to his relationship to humanity, because marriage is much more than a metaphor. It’s a sacrament. It truly communicates God’s love to us.
In what ways might the husband/wife relationship reflect or image the relationship between Christ and the Church? St. Paul calls the “one flesh” union a “great mystery” that refers to Christ and the Church. It is precisely through the commitment and union of spouses in “one flesh” that we see a sign of Christ’s commitment and union with us (Eucharist). John Paul II called spouses the “constant reminder” to the Church and the world of what Christ did for us on the cross. He “gave up his body for us” in a free, total, faithful, and fruitful act of sacrificial love. This is what spouses do for each other, and this is what joining in “one flesh” is meant to “re-enact” and symbolize.
Were you aware of statements by George Weigel, biographer of John Paul II, regarding Theology of the Body (TOB)? He said the following: “TOB is one of the boldest reconfigurations of Catholic theology in centuries”; “TOB has barely begun to shape the Church’s theology, preaching and religious education. When it does, it will compel a dramatic development of thinking about virtually every major theme in the Creed”; “TOB is a kind of theological timebomb set to go off with dramatic consequences, perhaps in the 21st century.”
Why is it important to look at our origin, history, and destiny in order to discover the meaning of our humanity? If we only look at our “historical existence” we remain cut-off from the deepest truth about ourselves. Historical existence (in the language of John Paul II) begins with the fall of the human race from God’s grace. Without an understanding of God’s original plan, we end up thinking our fallen state is entirely normal. Without an understanding of our ultimate destiny, we treat the pleasures of earthly existence as our ultimate fulfillment.
How am I supposed to live my life in a way that brings true happiness? To answer this question, the rest of the course will cover the following topics: Celibacy for the Kingdom; Christian Marriage; Sexual Morality and Procreation.
Since I preached the homily and wrote the bulletin letter several weeks ago about making sure there is one source of Catholic formation beyond the Mass in your life, I have learned of a number of people who have actually used the list and found something that worked for them, a radio station, a podcast, etc. Please continue to spread the word among Catholics that these resources are out there. Love for God and love for neighbor can only increase as we delve more deeply into our Catholic Faith.
Because I got sick in the days before the pilgrimage to Italy, I ended up canceling our last pastoral council meeting. So, obviously, there’s nothing to share of notes from that meeting. I can tell you that I’m moving forward with the idea of a new parish pictorial directory. Many people have mentioned it to me, and both finance and pastoral councils thought that it was a good idea. If families take the opportunity to purchase a family photo at the time they have their photo taken for the directory, the project should cost the parish nothing. I have approached somebody to lead this project, but I do not want to announce the person until we meet. Also, it struck me that the best way to move forward on some type of supportive structure for all of our awesome volunteer activity in the parish would be to have a small committee study the issue. That committee can report findings to the pastoral council for consideration and input. There are numerous parishes out there that have structured their volunteer efforts, and they have published those structures. Once again, I have somebody in mind to lead that project, and I don’t want to say anymore until we meet.
Have a great week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,