THEOLOGY OF THE BODY: HUMAN LOVE IN THE DIVINE PLAN
To Live as a Gift in our World
We all have questions. Whether we are young or old, where we know it or not, we all want to know what we are here for? What is the meaning of my life? Why did God create me this way? Why did God make me? What does He want me to do with my life? What is my purpose? What will make me happy – truly happy, completely happy?
Theology of the Body is a treasure in Catholic teaching. A treasure that if we allow it – has the power to transform our lives and the way in which we live – giving us the joy and happiness that each of us longs for. One of the main goals of St. John Paul II in his teaching of the Theology of the Body was to answer some of the questions we all have: Who am I? What is my purpose in life? What is love all about? Through Theology of the Body, St John Paul II explores the meaning of our bodies and of sexual desire as they relate to the purpose of our existence.
In Genesis 1:26,31 we read that our bodies are very good. When God created man and woman, he declared them to be ‘very good’. We are very good! We have been created in his image and likeness. To be a human person means that we are body and soul – intimately united. Our bodies express a deep hidden mystery. Although we cannot visibly see God, our bodies reveal many truths about Him because we are made in the ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ of God. When the teachings we encounter in Theology of the Body are taken in, reflected on deeply through prayer and in communion with Christ, they have the potential to change our lives in a radical way. You will never see yourself, the world and the people around you the same again.
Theology of the Body is for everyone. It is a reflection on the meaning of our existence. In the words of Christopher West, an American Catholic speaker who has dedicated his life to teaching the truth of Theology of the Body all over the world: “Theology of the Body lays out a banquet that truly satisfies the deep hunger in our hearts. It reveals God’s ultimate plan for each of us in a full, life-giving way.” It is not only an unpacking of the Church’s teaching on morality or sexual ethics but encompasses the entirety of Christianity. It is centred on Christ and because of that, it opens our eyes to who we are. One theme that is weaved through this entire catechesis is the idea of ‘gift’. To be a gift in our world. Our culture often presents a message that focusses on maximizing pleasure even at the expense of the other. The idea of self-gift is countercultural. However, to be authentically happy, St John Paul II asks us to consider another way. He points us to the ultimate GIFT and shows us Who will give us the ultimate happiness we all seek.