Thursday, February 08, 2007

Theology of the Body in 60 Seconds or Less

I'm preparing for a talk in Kalida, Ohio set for tomorrow on the Theology of the Body. So tonight I'll be sitting on the plane for a few hours, yippee!

Who knows, maybe some fellow traveler will look over at me reading a large book with Michelangelo's Creation of Adam on its cover, as they pass the thimble full of ginger ale and the nano-sized bag of pretzels (are pretzels still legal on planes?). Maybe they'll ask "Tall man, what are you reading?" And I could say something like "It's Pope John Paul II's theological reflection on embodiment, conjugal love and the escatological realization of humanity."

But I won't say that. I'll say "It's called the Theology of the Body... it's about God, sex, and the meaning of life."

"God, sex, and the meaning of life?" Now the strangers' brow may wrinkle, the eyebrows lift, but I got 'em. I just dropped the 3 biggies that every human heart has an abiding interest in. The curious traveler might step further into this mystery... "What's that about?" And for a brief window of time, a window in their mind will be open and ready. I will be challenged to slip in the truth of this incredible teaching of Pope John Paul II's before it's too late and they turn back to their Diet Pepsi.

So here's my soundbyte on the TOB, sandwiched into 60 seconds or less:

"Well basically it's a reflection on what it means to be human, male and female. Where did we come from and where are we going? It looks at the two greatest questions we can ask; "Who am I? And Who is God?" The starting point for getting to the answers is us. It looks at the human body not just as a biological organism, but as a theological reality. What is it about us that makes us so restless in this world, different from the animals, always hungry, always searching for More? And then it looks at love as a lead into the answer. It says that in our call to communion with each other as man and woman, in human love, there is something of the Divine, something touching on the Infinite. All human love is a sign, an icon, a pointer to Something Beyond ourselves.... and that's pretty exciting."

If the person keeps looking at me like a little kid watching the stars (the way I did when I first heard this teaching) I'll continue with "God has stamped right in our bodies a mystery that reveals Who He is! You see, a man is called to be a gift, in his very body, for the woman. And the woman is called to receive this gift right in her very body as woman. And this beautiful coming together of husband and wife creates new life! And the union, as beautiful, powerful, and wonderful as it can be, is really just the first sparks of the Love that we are made for beyond this world. The Church says that in the joys of their love, God gives spouses a foretaste of the joys of Heaven. Did you ever hear that one in Sunday School?"

And we'll see where it goes from there...
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