THEOLOGY OF THE BODY NOTES—FR. THOMAS LOYA—SPECIAL SESSION
USTREAMED FROM DAUGHTERS OF ST. PAUL/PAULINE BOOKS & MEDIA, CHICAGO
TO HESTER CAFÉ IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, TO YOU!
February 12, 2010
"Love & Responsibility" VJP2G, starting p. 101
When a man is attracted to a woman and vice versa, the couple doesn't always really know what's going on and therefore don't always know why it ends badly. JP2G says there are three elements in attraction: 1) SENSE--starts on the very basic sense-level. 2) COGNITION--Man knows this is woman, woman knows this is man. 3) IMPRESSION—this impression can remain even after they are not in each other's physical presence. Our interior senses can prolong the meeting/attraction. After an impression we can have a REACTION. A sense-impression is reaction to CONTENT. An emotional reaction is a reaction to a VALUE.
There is a hierarchy here:
There can be 3 results to the above:
1) sensuality—involving the physical senses
3) integration—putting it all together, prioritized properly. All parts work together in beautiful harmony.
SENSUALITY alone can be consumeristic. It does not try to come into contact with the deeper realities, the person, true beauty. It's OK to see someone's body first and be physically moved (and maybe see some of the person coming through the body). But if it stays only at this level it can fool us into thinking we're in love, that it's love, into thinking that we really know the person.
p. 106—It's OK to see someone as "hot." There is nothing wrong with this. It's natural. Even children—who are not sexually developed—can be attracted to each other: puppy love. But this is not true love.
p. 107—We can't use a person's body apart from the whole person because it's an integral part of the person. If we do, it threatens to devalue the person. The couple may not realize that they are using each other because in their erogenous zones they feel good, they feel close. If relationships are based only on the sensual and stay there, they usually end badly, even in hatred, because the persons feel used.
p. 109—SENTIMENTALITY involves attraction to the whole person, male to female, female to male—not just their body and is not an urge to consume with the excitability of the physical. Sentimentality is the source of affection. There is an admiration for what is feminine by the masculine and vice versa.
In general, women are more sentimental than men, men are more sensual. Women by nature need a relational connectedness, men by nature are more connected by the physical and the perception of visual beauty. It doesn't mean that he's more of an "animal" than the woman, we're just hard-wired differently. It's so important that men and women understand this about each other.
If we stop at sensuality and sentimentality, we're still not at LOVE yet. But sensuality and sentimentality are like the building blocks of love.
p. 114—Love is full of drama. Persons, among all objects on earth, have an inner life. "Integration" means bringing things together as a whole. We need TRUTH and FREEDOM in order to integrate ourselves. If people are seeing things honestly, they'll have a greater experience of love. He will see her as a PERSON, she will see him as a PERSON, honestly.
LOVE is always a matter of the spirit, an interior matter. Love is not a feeling. Love is a spiritual state of freedom, truth and honesty. What's going on in the body alone doesn't constitute love.
p. 117--The value of the person is bound up in freedom which is of the will. If we say: "I can't help myself, we love each other." That's not love! You're not free! Love is not a compulsion. (Sentiment can be a compulsion, too.)
The objective value of love matters the most (not just the subjective value—how I experience love).
Love is about a choice to do what is better for the other person, regardless of how/what you feel (physically or emotionally). Again, it's OK to have physical and emotional elements (and it's good), but ultimately it's about love.
Q: WHAT IS TRUE LOVE?
A: You have to read the rest of "Love and Responsibility" and "Theology of the Body."Ha ha. Love is greater than the sum of its parts. It's a mystery. God is love. Love is very outward oriented to what is not just good but BEST for the other and doesn't count the cost to self.
We don't want to be JUST objective about love or JUST subjective. We want both, and to be integrated.
Q: WHAT IF SENSUALITY AND SENTIMENT GO AWAY IN A MARRIAGE EVEN FOR A LONG TIME?
A: God and the Church say: there's more to love than that. There's a covenant. Sensuality and/or sentiment often comes back. Couples go through dry periods. But they have to give it TIME. There's a process. Couples fall in love over and over again.
[CHECK OUT THE PROMISES MADE BY MEMBERS OF THE "HOLY FAMILY INSTITUTE" FOUNDED BY BLESSED JAMES ALBERIONE IN VIDEO BELOW]
Q: MEN TEND TO BE WOUNDED IN SENSUALITY, AND WOMEN TEND TO BE WOUNDED IN SENTIMENTALITY. HOW CAN WE HEAL IT?
A: People need to learn to see each other as man and woman again. "Who is he for her? Who is she for him?" What are their needs as God created us? [And Father said he's serious about finishing reading/studying L & R and TOB!]
Q: WHAT ABOUT SAME-SEX ATTRACTION?
A: This is a very hot topic in our culture. Don't have time tonight to go into it. But remember: the body doesn't lie. The body tells you who you are and who you are to be attracted to. That's why it's "THEOLOGY OF THE BODY." Same-sex attraction says there has been a disturbance in the development of a person and who they are ordered to be attracted to. But these are very complex issues and have to be dealt with fully and with compassion, but also with TRUTH. Go to Father's website: www.taborlife.org to ask him more about this. You can also check out his articles/talks on: www.catholicradiointernational.com
and the Theology of the Body section of www.catholicexchange.com