March 13, 2008


Assignment for April 9: 1st 15 pages of "Man and Woman He Created Them--A Theology of the Body" by Pope John Paul II (skipping the Introduction and going right to the text).

PERMANENT NEW LOCATION: PAULINE BOOKS & MEDIA, 172 N. MICHIGAN AVE., (BETWEEN LAKE & RANDOLPH). We close at 6pm, but someone will be there to let you in for 6:30--8:00pm study group. There is a ROUND doorbell at the back door, also (no doorbell at front).
"Jesus told us that new wine needs new wineskins. WE need to be the new wineskins.

There is only ONE REALITY: the invisible God/Reality becomes visible through the physical.

Lucifer got wind that the invisible God would become visible and have a body--something Lucifer would never have.

The drama is now either an affirmation of this reality or a denial of it. (All denials are different "heresies.")

We need a S C H L worldview:

Sacramental--integrated: spirit AND matter together, inseparable, SEE the world as a whole. We need to look at the world through SACRAMENTAL GLASSES.

"Catholic"--Catholic is not a religion, it's a way of seeing. It's the worldview that affirms the one reality.

Human--if you're human, you're "Catholic" because you make make visible the invisible (in yourself). Being human is making the the invisible visible. For example: We don't wish people Happy Birthday in our heads. We bake a cake, send them a card, etc. That's all that Catholic does. The Eucharist is the ultimate making visible the invisible.

Liturgical--all humans are natural priests because we are the only creatures that can offer Creation back to God, say thank you

Before the 16th century, we didn't need Theology of the Body. We got it. But then the scientific revolution came along and we were able to manipulate nature for the first time. Matter came to be seen as less, now that it could be dominated and controlled. The mind/spirit was seen as higher. This was, in a sense, the return of Manichean dualism: body bad, spirit good. Since we've all been born after the 16th century, we're all formed in this climate and we don't have SACRAMENTAL GLASSES ON. (Especially if we were raised in America, it's very, very hard to be truly Catholic.) Protestantism rose in the same century: no Eucharist--denial of the sacramental. "God couldn't possibly transform the bread and wine into Himself." (Invisible thru visible.)

The great "-isms" then arose: scientism, rationalism, fascism, communism, secularism, naziism. All these -isms are the denial of the one true Reality. Karol Wojtyla (PJPII) lived at the height of the -isms. Karol thinks: "I have to take the world back to school (S C H L), because we've forgotten how to see, especially in the male/female relationship.

Fr. Loya's favorite phrase of TOB: "Humanity in its dignity/balance depends on what he will be for her and what she will be for him."

Why am I a man or why am I a woman? If we don't know, we hurt and destroy each other.

Today, people don't accept "objective truth," they care about what they feel and experience. That's what's real to them. So Karol says, "OK, let's walk through your experience, but we have to do it with relentless HONESTY. We're going to look, touch, smell, taste everything. 2 +2 doesn't equal 4 until we EXPERIENCE it to be so. THEN we won't be able to deny it.

(The all-male priesthood is also about the system of honesty about the language of the body, but we'll get to that later.)

No one chooses to live life without love, marriage, sex, children, friends, intimacy. And we will destroy ourselves in the process pursuing these things, but we won't give them up. OR we will find joy in them. The bedroom is real to people. But if we don't know the WHY of the bedroom, we won't enjoy sex as much.

God is a community--don't try to figure it out--live it.
What did God do? CREATED, moved out and united Himself intimately with His Creation. This sounds like marriage, doesn't it? God espouses His Creation.
How did God make us? In His IMAGE.
No human being can live without love, marriage, sex, children, friends, intimacy.

How do we know someone is a man or woman? Their body speaks to us "man" or "woman."
TOB is all about unfolding what the body is saying. If a man knows what a woman (woman's body) is saying, he'll know how to relate to her and vice versa. Otherwise we'll hurt each other. We'll know what each others' needs are. If we don't listen to each other's needs/fears, we'll hurt each other.
Today, we have no idea why we're men and women--it takes a sacramental worldview or "adequate anthropology." If someone doesn't know what a car is and you give them they keys, the car will become a weapon.

The spiritual and physical are wedded. We can't see where one begins and the other ends.

Take a coffee cup. How do we know what it's for? By some crusty, old, celibate men in Rome telling us it's a cup? No, by our total experience of the cup. We could drink beer or wine out of it, but that wouldn't make it a "beer mug." We could drink the beer in it, but it would be less of a human experience. We need to keep trying to figure out what the cup is for, and when we discover that it's really for coffee (by our total experience of it), we need to interface honestly with it in the future. We need to do this with the crown of creation (humans) also.
TOB is about being honest--an exhaustive journey to honesty. All we need to know about Church teaching is--honesty. Don't speak a lie with your body. It's that simple. Dishonesty hurts and the Church doesn't want us to hurt.

Just remember three terms, it's simple: GIFT, LANGUAGE, HONESTY.

TOB tells us what people are really looking for. JPII knew if we put men and women back together, we could put the world back together. TOB is discovering the created order.

It's OK if you say "sex is what's real to you," but what is your body saying? What's going on there?
Sex is an experience of God. The more you know about God, the "better sex you'll have."

Sex is a noun. It only means one thing: gender.
Sex = gift of self, one flesh union, garden enclosed, bone of my bone, tabernacle.

Adam's body didn't make sense without Eve.

mystical = seeing things as they really are, the whole picture
rational = compartmentalized, piecemeal

"irrefutable science" is the friend of TOB--it affirms the invisible made visible, it's the rational-ISM (reductionist) worldview that's the problem.

If we would just listen to our bodies, we wouldn't need TOB, we could write it ourselves." --Fr. Loya

Theology of the Body is not Gnosticism. It is not some secret knowledge OR secret club of the enlightened OR something you have to "get" or you're out of the loop. It is the exact opposite. God came to reveal EVERYTHING to EVERYONE in Jesus Christ.
Some people already live Theology of the Body because they are in touch with themselves and God. For the rest of us there's a 735-page book and CDs by Christopher West.
You don't have a body, you are body.
YOU are the theology of the body.
A new starting point for all theology (the body).
A new starting point for all philosophy (the body).
An invitation to union with God, body and soul.
Theology of the Body corrects the mind/body split.
Theology of the Body is what everyone was looking for in the 60's.

Theology of the Body is healing for all bodies.
Theology of the Body is the healing of human sexuality, male and female.
Theology of the Body is the restoration of the original plan for the male-female relationship.
Theology of the Body is going to God through desire.
Theology of the Body is going to God through the desires He gave us.
Theology of the Body is not the repression or indulgence of desires, but the redemption of desires.

"The status of the male-female relationship is irredeemable." --Leonard Cohen
Theology of the Body circumvents cynicism, suspicion and bad memories about the male-female relationship to show us what is possible.
Theology of the Body is a "theological timebomb" that will "effect every article of the Creed." --George Weigel (official biographer of JPII)

Theology of the Body is the long-awaited answer to Descartes.
Theology of the Body is the truth about the human body.
Theology of the Body is a celebration of the goodness of the human body.
"The theology of the body is the answer to all life's problems." --Fr. Thomas Loya
"Theology of the body is the delivery system for the sum-total of the Church's wisdom." --Fr. Thomas Loya


Because it's so simple. We're complicated, God's not.



June 2008--June 2009
Year of St. Paul
Sr. Helena Burns, fsp

Daughters of St. Paul / Pauline Books & Media
172 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601 USA
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