Reflection on Theology of the Body
A few years ago, my husband and I attended our first two Theology of the Body Institute (TOB) courses, both taught by Christopher West. They were like a retreat nourishing the spirit, mind and body. The TOB sessions were based on talks given by St. Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences from 1979 to 1984, in which he gave an integrated vision of the human person and reminded people of their dignity,being created in the image and likeness of God.One thing that touched my heart was the beauty of being “woman”, the Mariological aspect of every woman found in Mary’s Fiat: “be it done unto me according to Your word”. She received God in His Holy Spirit so fully that she conceived Him in her womb. We, women, are all gifted with such dignity, such a capacity to receive, to conceive life(physically and spiritually), to collaborate in the beautiful creativity of God. During the course, Christopher mentioned that he knew there were many people present who were undergoing a time of great suffering in their lives. He said that many times we feel that somehow,we deserve the suffering and we feel that God is punishing us. But TOB reminds us that we are each unrepeatable, made in the image and likeness of God, who is Love. He said to the class, God wasn’t punishing you, He chose you because He had faith in you that you would have the courage to do the right thing. I cried. Those words pierced my heart like a sword. God has faith in me, but I had little in myself. I had believed the lie for many years that I was unlovable and replaceable, that I had to earn God’s love. But it is God that loved me first and He sent His only begotten Son to save me, even before I was born. What a huge healing moment that was in that encounter with God’s love, mercy, and grace. It made a very traumatic moment into something beautiful, a collaboration with God, rather than a punishment. It was also mentioned how frequently we are like the “stoic or the addict.” We block out / reject what we don’t have the strength to resist or we overdo it, seeking to fill our hearts and our needs with something that only God can fill fully with His infinite love. We are called to “stay in the ache”, not run from the pain of what life brings, but to go with Jesus into the parts of our heart, our lives, that are painful and let Jesus bring His healing grace. God stopped the world, giving us time to stay with Him in silence, in the quiet of this time of quarantine and to give Him our pain and brokenness, so that He can heal us in His grace.
Kathleen – thanks for posting this beautiful reflection. Reminds us all of the true gifts that God has given to us. Who/ what is he putting before us today, asking us to collaborate with His plan -
Hello Dear Kathleen! So true. Once someone said that the effect of Eve and Adam believing the lie of Satan, instead of God, is that we all have a problem in trusting Him. Even after being Baptized and Confirmed, we must constantly condition ourselves to clear that spiritual fog, always have an underlying doubt to deal with, despite the infinite times we have experienced His Amazing Grace in our personal lives. We doubt His love, we doubt He even has time for our petty problems. Mary Immaculate was free from that doubt. She never thought for a second that God would give her a bad deal. I think St.Maximilian understood this in his total consecration entrustment to Her. To help us trust God like She did as She suffered more than anyone ever did. I think that is how St. Maximilian managed to be that light of hope even in Auschwitz. Focus on Jesus like St. Faustina’s message, Don Dolindo “You take care of it”. I think it is very important to look at the Crucifix and make the sign of the Cross with awareness. That when the devil whispers the lie that God doesnt love us, to make us waver and doubt. Then we can bodly show him the Truth that He in Fact does love us. Kiss the Crucifix and say this is the 100% proof to crush your constant fake news Bad Dude. Drink your own poison. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Amen.
Love and prayers,
Thanks for this beautiful post!