Notes from page 177 to chapter 2.
Father saw "Sex and the City" movie. As the characters began to live TOB, they became happier. (Even though they didn't know it was TOB.)
This dense TOB text is immediately applicable. It is looking at old things (principles, Scriptures, Creation, the Church, God's relationship with us) anew. John Paul II wanted to go through these age-old principles thoroughly so that there is nothing left to be said. Our conclusion is irrefutable. The text is like the melody, and Father is going to add harmony!
Who are we as persons, gendered persons?
FTNOTE 23, P 178: We need an "adequate anthropology." The key is: "What is human"? What is different about us from the animals? (Not just scientifically: "What is a living organism?")
GIFT—one of JPII's favorite words. What does he mean by it? Everything God does is GIFT. In Creation, only man can give a GIFT. Man is the one whom it is for. Only man can understand the meaning of GIFT: the call from nothing to existence. One can also say that the world has received man as a gift. The nature of GIFT is that it is freely given and freely received. We need to go through life with open hands: giving and receiving.
GIFT is the language of liturgy.
If Father could say anything to us, he would say: return to the sacramental world view. If we return to this, it's the key to happiness, especially in our relationship with others…. We need to live FOR others.
"It is not good for the man to be alone," means man is not complete alone, he needs to exist in relationship. The way to have our legitimate needs met (emphasis on legitimate), is to live the spirituality of gift—to move out toward the others. Personal fulfillment is reflexive, reciprocal. We only are fulfilled by reaching out to others. We need to be aware that WE are gift and that others are GIFT to us. This is why contraception is so wrong. It is living in the opposite direction of reciprocity. It is holding back, not going in the direction of the other. And our bodies tell us so. A celibate priest lives FOR the Church.
Q: Is a married priest like a double symbol?
A: Yes. Celibacy also subsists in marriage. The married priest is living two mysteries: the ESCHATALOGICAL marriage and the SACRAMENTAL marriage. The priest relates to his parishioners as spouse, father, brother—like we all have various levels of relationships.
Often the married priest marries a daughter of priest. She is like a spiritual mother of the community also. Being a married priest is not about a priest who happens to be married to a woman. It's about a woman helping in the ministry. All of this can be summed up: we all have to live spousally, which means GIFT. Our bodies are made FOR the other sex. Male for female. It doesn't matter what you feel/think, the body doesn't lie. It is very insensitive to call someone a "homosexual"—we define people in TOB as "gift," as "person." You may have SSA (same-sex attraction), but that's a whole 'nother issue that you have to deal with.
When we're unhappy, it's always because we're not living the spousal gift of ourselves/our bodies adequately.
You first have to be able to possess yourself to be able to give yourself away. You can't give what you don't have. You have to have a self to give. Our culture hates discipline! (Or thinks it does.) If you play an instrument, you have to be disciplined and practice, and you have the FREEDOM to play music and make a gift of that.
What does it mean to be gendered? Someone from Mars would say—Oh! They're meant to give themselves to each other.
Q: What about hermaphrodites (intersex)?
A: It is out of the order of things. A disorder. This is not a bad word or thing, or insensitive, it's just what it is. The exception doesn't change the norm. Hermaphrodites are usually more male or female, however. But no matter what you are,
Gender means: FOR the other, and they for me. Everybody has to be "married," to be happy. Even celibates. Life won't make sense without marriage. Our society isn't sexual enough!!
[VIVE LE DIFFERENCE!] Be more genuinely human! Be more and more in the image of God!
Q: How does the single person live spousally?
A: The Church doesn't say that singleness is a vocation! There isn't permanency about it. They will be married one day to God! But even now, they have to live by making a gift of themselves. A person doesn't really live singly for any "good reason."
Q: Can't you stay single in the world to serve God?
A: You may be called to do work for God/world AS a single person, but your VOCATION is to "marriage." The single state can always be changed. It's not permanent. Once you're a consecrated layperson, you're not "single," you're in a covenant relationship, it's explicit, it's permanent.
We must be FRUITFUL.
We need to be disciplined fully, in our totality as persons, not just mind, for example. Our desires should not CONTROL us. We need to be able to look at each other, male and female, with the "peace of the interior gaze." Like Adam and Eve did.
Father was an art student, and because he was an artist, he was free to look at the human body properly, as beautiful. If you can master the human body as an artist, you can do anything, because it's the most beautiful thing in creation. It's a difficult discipline. Without that discipline, you'll be overcome with lust. If you are looking with lust, you're not free. JPII doesn't say: "custody of the eyes, look away," because that is imperfect.
Non-TOB, non-sacramental worldview sends us into individualism, narcissism, relativism. The Catholic worldview sends us into community. Laypeople for centuries lived in a more monastic style: a rhythm, prayer, sacraments, nearby church, God as the reference.
Catholic is not a religion, institution—it means to be human. The truth about being human. [Reality. Living in accord with reality.] What is being human about? The invisible being made visible through the physical. We humans have a fundamental desire to make the invisible visible also! Birthday cakes, flags, fireworks!
Everyone is called to marriage. Everyone is called to celibacy. Heaven is perpetual virginity: that is, total openness to God, total union with God. That's why we say: "Till death do us part," because we belong to God ultimately. To be Catholic is to keep these two things together: marriage and celibacy. We think: celibacy/virginity—loneliness, gross, don't want that. We think: marriage—love, intimacy, sex, yes! we want that. But that's wrong to think that way.
The Eastern Church says: "Till you are united forever." (But meaning in Christ in heaven, and not exclusively any more.)
The best celibates make the best married people and vice versa!!! Don't separate them! Catholic is integrated, Catholic is good, Catholic is the best!
We find our IDENTITY only in relation to the other sex. The only way something comes back to us is if it first moves out of us.
[Check out top of p. 202! Woman is not an object!]
If we keep pushing towards each other (two hands pushing against each other) everything stands. If one pulls back and only receives and doesn't give, then it all collapses.
Biologically, intercourse makes people bond to each other (bond to one person). There are actual specific male and female hormones secreted. One of the causes of teenage suicide is sleeping around. It's just so biologically painful to keep breaking up.
Scientists study animals to learn about humans. JPII says study humans to learn about humans. ("Adequate anthropology.")
Assignment over the summer: up to page 364. Next meeting: 2nd Wednesday of September.