Thursday, June 26, 2008
A Theology of the Body
Just over a month ago I had the privilege to take a six day crash-course entitled “Theology of the Body” (TOB). TOB was a working title John Paul II gave to his first major catechetical project of his pontificate which recently has been published as a second edition entitled “Man and Woman He Created Them.” I had informally familiarized myself with the subject in the past through lectures and web articles so I had an idea what I was getting into. What I didn’t know was how this class would change nearly everything in the way I think, act, and even perceive. I believe it is safe to conclude that TOB has changed my life, is changing my life, and will continue to change my life indefinitely!
John Paul’s monumental work reflects on over 1000 verses of Scripture, seeking to show that Scripture adequately portrays the human condition and directs each and every person to genuine human fulfillment. In other words, this late great pope goes to vast and beautiful lengths to show convincingly that Christianity and Christianity alone fulfills the deepest desires of a person’s heart. Christianity does not pit spirituality against physicality, but rather brings them together so intimately that they become inseparable. We need not look any further than the mystery of the incarnation for evidence of such a claim.
This theology of the body is arguably the greatest message to a world that has lost the original meaning and value of the body. To many, the body has been reduced to a means of self-gratification, and something that is fully distinguishable from the “person behind the body.” What we do with and through the body does not affect the person behind the body, proclaims the world. It is not that the world has communicated too much about the body, but that the world has communicated too little about the body deems John Paul II. It is this message that is needed more than ever! There is good news in Jesus Christ and it lies in a proper theological understanding of the body.
Beginning this fall, I will be teaching Theology of Body at the Catholic Student Center on Monday evenings. If you are interested in learning more about this theological tour-de-force, please email me and I will keep you updated as the first class approaches. If you are not sure if this would be something you’d be interested in, I would encourage you to continue reading these blogs as many of them have been and will continue to be infused with Theology of the Body.