Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why I love being Catholic (Part 1)

First of all, there is so much wisdom and truth found in the teachings of the Church, and I'm sure I'll talk about these more later but today I'll talk about the teachings on the body, marriage and sexuality. Those are huge topics and I won't be able to fit them all on one post, but I'll talk about what I like most about them.

Theology of the Body is amazing! For anyone who hasn't read on the subject, or worse, even heard about it must immediately remedy this. I started reading about theology of the body last fall and it has completely changed my life. Once I learned how God intended us to live and interact with one another, I can easily see when this "original setup" is being broken and can therefore deal with it for what it is: sin.

This summer the ladies of St. Michael's have started a small group where we are focusing on theology of the body. Last night we read about original solitude, original unity and original nakedness of man. These describe humanity's experiences before sin entered the world, and thus, is how God intended humanity to be. I also think these sum up very nicely all that we as sinful people search for all our lives.

Original Solitude:
The man is both alone as in being without woman (another like himself), but is also alone because he is his own person. Unlike the animals, Adam is a creature made in God's image, and is unlike the animals for that reason. Genesis states, "It is not good that the man should be alone", and so comes in original unity.

Original Unity:
God creates Eve from Adam so they are "bone of the same bone and flesh of the same flesh" and they become "one flesh". Original Unity overcomes the first part of solitude (man without woman) and affirms the second (that he is his own person). And since I can't say it any better, I'll throw in this quote:
By joining in "one flesh" according to God's original plan, man and woman rediscover their "original virginal value." The virginity of "the beginning" cannot simply be equated with an absence of sexual union, but is more properly understood as the original integrity of body and soul. The grace of the sacrament of marriage allows husbands and wives progressively to rediscover the original integrity of the "one flesh" union. (Christopher West)
This original unity is a "communion of persons" and thus "becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion" (Pope John Paul II).

How awesome is that?! It is God's plan for us to be own person while completely giving ourselves to another. Through this the man will only rediscover the woman as a person more deeply and the woman can do the same for the man. Amazing.

Original Nakedness:
Adam and Eve were "naked without shame". This is huge. It reveals the understanding that the body is the revelation of the person. John Paul says they "see and know each other... with all the peace of the interior gaze". They saw in their very bodies God's plan of love. To be naked without shame is to love without fear, and only holiness enables them to do this.

Although there is so much more, I feel I've explained it poorly and confused you, so I'll take a break for now. But please read the books for yourself, then you'll see what I'm talking about. Both are by Christopher West: Theology of the Body for Beginners OR Theology of the Body Explained.

I love being Catholic because these are available to me. Not only is it cool to learn about but it connects with everything else and makes it all make sense. God created our bodies and gave us our sexuality. We should know why he did such things and the proper way to use them. This is also what will show us our reason for being and purpose in life. More of this to come!

Peace and love!

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