The Theology of the Body is the title given to Blessed John Paul the Great’s 129 Wednesday audiences presented between the years 1979 and 1984. Thoroughly grounded in Scripture and Church Tradition, Blessed John Paul gifted the world with a vision of hope as he explained the human person through the eyes of God. His talks have been called “revolutionary” as they run counter to the common secular message about the body–that it is an object for pleasure and immediate gratification, separate from the heart and soul.
Instead, Blessed John Paul unlocks the mystery of our very purpose for existence, our unique identities, and specifically the truth about the vocations of marriage and the religious life through the vision of heart, mind, body, and soul as one unified being. These insights carry over into every aspect of our lives, as our weak and fallen flesh seeks to combat the forces of evil and follow our soul to purification and worthiness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Theology of the Body is a gift that deserves to be studied and applied to our lives from day one. Read on and be inspired to gift your whole family with this wonderful blessing.
Be Not Afraid
I can’t wait to talk to my kids about sex. Yes, you read that correctly. I CAN’T WAIT! I can’t wait to teach my kids how to make this world a better place by holding a reverence for the sacred and by understanding that the Original Plan for sex was never Plan B. That God’s plan never included unchastity, infidelity, heartache, and despair. Sex is everything we are and everything we were created to be. In the proper context of marriage between a man and a woman, sex becomes something that gives us a taste of the bliss of heaven and a glimpse of the magnitude of God’s love for us. We become co-creators in God’s great plan for life in this world, and we have the ability to be a beacon of hope to all who are lost on their journey to true love.
I want my children to be able to recognize the corruption and distortion of the beauty of sex in this world as it stands in stark contrast to the heavenly purity within the sacrament of marriage.
As parents, we are called to lead our children on a path of purity and holiness. This is no small task as the very core of their beings, their sexuality, is bombarded with all of the wrong messages from the time they are born. But God has blessed us with the tools we need to combat lust with love and perversion with dignity. The Theology of the Body gives us everything we need to live God’s message of love and purity every day in our homes.
Be not afraid! Study this great work and impart it’s infinite wisdom to your children. Don’t just have “The Talk”. Live the message of the Theology of the Body in your marriage, your friendships, and your relationships with your children.
The Theology of the Body is not just for married couples. The Theology of the Body is a lens through which we can view how to better live every aspect of our lives. It points our hearts to the love of God in heaven and allows our bodies to follow. It gives us the gifts of self respect, dignity, and purity. It allows those in the celibate religious life to remain faithful to their vows, and elevates a good marriage to an extraordinary marriage.
Most importantly, the Theology of the Body lifts the veil of deceit that the devil has lowered over the radiance of the true meaning of sex. It allows our children to see the devil’s lies for what they are and realize their choices are not limited to those of this world. Sex is sacred! It is not something to be “protected”, “safe”, or “freely” and shamelessly given away while trapped in the fear of disease, emotional turmoil, or an unplanned pregnancy. Sex is meant to be experienced with wild, passionate abandon within the context of marriage. Through the grace of this sacrament, we find the ability to turn back time to the Garden of Eden–to experience a relationship with no shame, no fear of being used, and true freedom to love.
We are called to impart the joy of living the beauty of sex in this way to our children by living authentic, Catholic marriages. Study the Theology of the Body, take a Natural Family Planning class, pray for your spouse. We are all called to be saints, and as parents we must take this calling seriously. Our children are depending on us. They want to know the surest way to experience the love we all long for while still in this world. I can guarantee you they will not find it if we don’t fill their hearts with the antithesis of what the rest of the world is teaching them.
Be not afraid! We will all stumble as our humanity attempts to convey such a heavenly message, but I firmly believe the Holy Spirit will assist us generously in our efforts. The message of the Theology of the Body is what God desperately wants for us because He loves us. Let us seek Him with the same desperation by living out His plan for sex and marriage so that we might be filled with the grace and passion to teach our children well. For it is within this school of joy that our children’s hearts will find peace and purity by resting in the love of God.
Theology of the Body Resources:
The Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West is a great place to start learning about TOB
The Theology of the Body for Teens programs are excellent. The parents’ guides for both the high school edition and middle school edition list many other fantastic resources and provide great conversation starters for parents and their children.
Previously published at catholicap.com and CatholicMom.com