Did you know that in and through your body you are given a gift and a task to be a window into eternity? Blessed Pope John Paul II states that “the body and it alone is capable of making visible the invisible, the spiritual and Divine.” Humanity, he said, is called to reveal God in and through the body.
John Paul gave a series of 129 “Wednesday audiences” in Rome between 1979 and 1984 on this very topic, which have come to be referred to as the Theology of the Body. He summoned all humans, inviting us to contemplate the beginning of creation in Genesis where we see the original plan of God for man and woman. Pope John Paul II continues to take us on a journey through time revealing the disunity with God, with each other, and, indeed, within our very selves that became the aftermath of the “original sin.” He also explores the results of the grace offered when the fullness of divinity was united with humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ opens for us a door not only back to the beginning, but forward into the heavenly (eschatological) destination of man and woman. Christ’s covenantal love for his bride, the Church, shown through his total self-gift for her on the cross, reveals to us the key to true spousal love in matrimony and reveals, as well, the true spousal love found in consecrated celibacy for the kingdom.
Often the Church is misunderstood and thought to be prudish in regards to sex and sexuality, but John Paul’s exploration reveals that, far from rejecting the body and its sexual essence, God’s plan is to reveal through our sexuality an insight into the very nature of God himself. Theology of the Body hinges on the very understanding of the meaning of love, life and our sexuality being a reflection of God, who is an eternal exchange of love among Father, Son and Holy Spirit, an eternal exchange of gift. Our call to image him through living the truth of the spousal meaning of the body is meant to lead us to our ultimate destiny and the fulfillment of all our desire, which is nothing less than the marriage of mankind with God.
Theology of the Body seeks to discover the meaning of our existence as bodily creatures who are both male and female and who are called to union with each other and with God. The language we speak with our bodies in sexual union, as well as that spoken in consecrated celibacy, is meant to proclaim truth: revealing who God is, who we are and how we are called to live. The body is a window into the divine through reciprocal gift-giving, holding nothing back and receiving the other totally. All are called through a vocation (marriage, holy orders or consecrated life) to make an irrevocable commitment to an “other” for a lifetime. It is through this radical gift of self that all are able to peer into the divine. Through this work of Blessed John Paul, we come to see God’s desire from the beginning of time to marry us in light of man’s call and destiny of being a complete spousal gift!
Jesus Christ revealed in his human body the mysterious love of his Father for all of mankind. It is also through our bodies that we, too, are called to reveal the total gift of love that God is. God is meant to be seen in the world, and the ultimate meaning of our bodies (ourselves) is to be that image of him to others.
Father John Linden and Dawn Hausmann are avaible throughout the diocese to give vocational presentations that are based on an understanding of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com