February 12, 2009


Somewhere around page 429.

[utterly useless comments by Sr. Helena in brackets]

The physical allows us to participate in the spiritual. In reality. The first Catholic was God because every time He made something He said, “It is good.” Adam was the second Catholic.

Singleness is not a vocation because there is no permanence to it. [No one can say their vocation is to “be alone.” Permanently.] It’s not the fault of the single person, it just hasn’t happened yet. But the single person can still live spousally (God is our ultimate spouse). Everyone is called to live spousally. A vocation is something permanent. A permanent giving of a gift. Singleness tends to be more temporary, unless there is a gift given permanently in the single life.

If we’re united to Christ here on earth, we’re united to Him forever (and to others) here on Earth and then in heaven. We should realize we’re really all together at Mass in a unique way (even if we’re sitting together with family!) When we serve at Mass, we leave our family in the pew to be part of the larger community.

Second marriages were frowned upon in the Eastern Church (even after death of spouse), and the second ceremony had a penitential tone. (Because marriage is forever, even in the next life, but transformed in the next life so that Jesus said: “There is no marriage in heaven.”) Paul said you could get remarried if you had to. Married Eastern priests cannot remarry after first marriage. There’s a belief that the “continence” rule came from Apostolic times (the Apostles). And it meant that after the laying on of hands/ordination, the wife (had to agree) and husband did not have relations. So, even the passage in NT where Paul says Cephas (Peter) and others had their wives with them, they may very well have been continent. Why? Because at the end of the day, we’re focused on God. Eastern priests’ ordination is like a marriage ceremony. Not a sacramental/EARTHLY marriage, but a mystical/HEAVENLY marriage (to the Church).

Chastity=the living out of your sexuality purely.

Married priests in the Eastern Church aren’t allowed to have sexual relations if they celebrate the Eucharist the next day. (ONE of the reasons the Orthodox don’t have daily Mass, as well as to emphasize the Lord’s Day Eucharist.)

If we totally separate marriage and virginity, we won’t know how to live either!!! That’s why we’re so bad at both today! It’s one of our problems today! One subsists in the others. Marriage=union, Virginity=singularly (all) God’s.

Women’s “non-ordination”: Some people who have a problem with it say that the only thing the Church officially teaches about it is that “Jesus didn’t do it.” But we have a clue why God does what He does. If we’re only going to live by the bare bones DOCTRINE, we’re going to miss a lot of life. AND then we can also tear the doctrine down: Jesus only ordained men because of the times, etc.….

No separation in East between doctrinal/mystical doctrine! If you’re a mystic, you’re a normal person. You know God. The rest of us need to become normal. Because it’s normal for people to know God. Paul gives us dogma and Christology because He knew Christ. They mystical is the MOST REAL. [Flannery O’Connor said dogma is the guardian of mystery.]

Why do we yearn for marriage? Because intimacy and fruitfulness is what makes us like God!

Fr. Tom doesn’t let people call him “Tom,” because his reality/relationship is different from that. Spiritual fatherhood and motherhood are very real things. And they’re not “formal,” they’re the best, deepest relationships!

If Fr. Tom was giving a retreat to married people and celibates, it would sound very much the same, because both groups are married, just in different ways. A married man is celibate to all women except one. A celibate man is “married to all women” but none in particular.

Q: Is the gift of self “natural”? A: Yes, because of our bodies. They speak the language of gift. Concupiscence gets in the way, though, so we can’t always hear our bodies.

Celibate priests need a sense of spousal love like religious women, otherwise their celibacy really doesn’t mean anything, and become empty.

Q: So how do men experience the love of God? God doesn’t want them to become women, but they have to become receptive. Men love to be doing things and rescuing, but you can’t rescue God. A: Spirituality in a sense is harder for men. Men/priests must develop a real deep love of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When we say men have to adopt the female principle, it’s mystical language. Men wrestle with God. Men grow through battle and resistance. Men draw strength from God, the way men draw strength from one another. Men MUST experience this to grow into men. Men become men externally. It’s not intuitive for men. It’s about connecting with something outside of them. How do we know that? Again, the body. Priesthood is synonymous with manhood. A priest is a man, a man is a priest. Men become men by having something external bestowed on them: “This is my beloved Son.” Men absolutely need approval (1. From father, 2. male world, 3. beloved—wife), bonding, rites of passage. But our world is taught to put men down, that men are buffoons, so they are getting the wrong message (which redounds negatively to women!) Men want to know that they have what it takes, that they’re adequate, that they can get the job done. Priests/men must develop relationship with God through prayer. Men experience God’s love as Father, brother, friend. That’s why the doctors of the church are theologians—theology (esp. Jewish theology) is wrestling with God! Men in the Jewish Temple would approach God while the ladies stayed back. It was thought of as an awesome thing and the guys would handle it!

There’s no such thing as marriage problems: only TOB problems! Men and women have to understand each others’ legitimate needs and fulfill them.

Just listen to the language of your body!

“Garment of skin”—[the ancient rabbis said this, too]—Church Fathers posited that our bodies didn’t have genitalia before the Fall….but they didn’t have developed theology yet, and certainly not the Theology of the Body!

Q: Would Jesus still have become incarnate without the Fall? A: The Church doesn’t teach either way, but theological speculation leans towards that He would have come—joining with His Creation would be the apex of Creation.

We can become very non-Catholic in our attempt to be very Catholic (prudery) and we can cause another sexual revolution!

We can’t retrieve the original innocence of Adam and Eve, but there is an “echo,” and in Christ we are propelled forward to the future when it will be even better than what Adam and Eve had….

Q: What’s the diff between “human being,” and “human person”? A: Person is deeper. We are persons because God is Person (3 Persons). [God is so intimate that He is 3 Persons in one.][Think of conjoined twins Abbey and Brittany who share 2 legs, 2 arms, but each has their own heart/lungs and head. They are teenagers. One girl operates one side (leg and arm) and the other girl operates the other side.]

Virginity/celibacy and marriage “interpenetrate” (JP2G). Father likes to say: “subsist within each other.” Married people show celibates what God’s spousal love looks like. Celibates show married couples what God’s spousal love looks like. :]

What makes you a TRUE parent is a SPIRITUAL INVESTMENT in the child for the child’s sake, not just giving biological life to your kids.

“apophatic theology”—knowing God by who He is not….. (Eastern church likes to use….)

[If we ARE our body, then it is a person, not a thing—we can’t USE it.] [male spirituality—EXTERNAL, concrete, git ‘er done, pragmatic, EUCHARISTIC ADORATION]

If some Catholic person has a problem with TOB, they simply don’t get it. [There’s also Ordinary Magisterium.] [The status/classification of what kind of Church teaching TOB is in the Introduction to TOB.] TOB IS dogma—it’s JP2G’s rearrangement, compilation of it. He looked at old things in new ways. “Go back to the beginning.” He connected the dots. He shook the box with the Catholic Faith jigsaw puzzle pieces inside and they came together in a way we could see. Different saints/ teacher thru the years did this.

FCC rules on the radio were determined by what would offend Catholics.

We’re letting millions of people flounder by not preaching this word, esp. thru the media. St. Paul would have done that. Fulton Sheen did it.

FAVORITE MOVIE FOR GUYS: “Braveheart”! We need to tell a good story. The best stories use the Catholic ethos.

“Marley and Me” made by a Catholic…. Father liked it a lot. Refreshing, very Catholic. “Bella” was too overtly too Catholic…. [“message movie”] Too contrived, too goody two shoes, if people think it’s religious or something, THEY THINK THEY CAN’T RELATE TO IT (AND PROBABLY CAN’T)—IT’S NOT THEIR EXPERIENCE. JP2G started TOB from people’s experience.

We should be able to say of a married person: they would have made a good priest/nun. We should be able to say of a priest/nun: they would have made good married persons. Because we are all called to live spousally with others and with God. Even couples who practice NFP are living monastically, celibately for a time. [Because, ultimately, sex is liturgical! The liturgy goes by the chronos—time, cycles, nature, etc.!]

For the 1st 1,000 years in the Church, both East and West had married priests, but there was always the question that from Apostolic times, once a man was ordained, he was to be celibate—so the Church has always leaned a little more toward celibacy for priests. Since the 1920’s the Eastern Rite in the New World required celibacy for its priests. But then JP2G allowed married men to be ordained in the Eastern Rite in the New World, but it was not to be with fanfare so that the Western Church would say: hey, how come not us? And the Eastern Church fixed their canon law so that the Western priests wouldn’t come flocking over just for that reason. :]

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