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Theology of the Body: The Sacred Nature/Creation

April 26, 2014

I’ve started to read JPII’s Theology of the Body a couple times. It’s deep stuff. It’s good stuff. But apparently I’m not quite ready to read it all just yet. I will read it through and through though, eventually.

Maybe I’m not ready to read the document itself yet, but I’m still fascinated by it and I love to read about it, especially by the experts who know it well. Enter Sister Helena Burns. I’ve been following her posts on facebook and today I read her conversion story.

She was a nature loving youth, born and raised Catholic, but not really a Christian, because Nature was her god, her religion. God got to her in the end and she became a religious sister. She still had her nature loving side even then. She thought that something was missing in the Church’s teachings, namely Nature. There was Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. And they were too spiritual for our material world according to her early theological understanding.

Then she discovered The Theology of the Body:

John Paul II’s genius was this: Instead of starting from spiritual truths to get to physical truths, John Paul II said that from now on we’re gonna start with the physical to get to the spiritual. Why is it so important to start with the physical today? Because today people do not believe in what they can’t see. People no longer look to religion, sacred authorities or sacred texts for wisdom. They only trust what they can see and experience themselves. Our modern mindset is scientific, and we think the only truths that can be known with certainty are those that science can pronounce on. John Paul II said: Fine. We can start there.

This next quote is a really awesome observation:

Finally! Someone was saying Nature was an indispensable starting point! And it was a pope! (And now he’s a stone cold saint!) Finally! Someone was truly treating Creation like it is sacred, and putting it on the same level as Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition! These three things are very different in kind, but they are all sacred! What makes something sacred? 1. It comes from God. 2. It reveals God 3. It leads us to God. By ONLY focusing on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition as the sources of Revelation, we were only focusing on two Persons of the Trinity: Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We have been leaving out the Father (and Creation)!

Has anyone else looked at the Trinity and Church teaching this way? It’s a first for me. Sister Helena wraps up her concept nicely with this table:

Reason-and-revelation-SisterHelenaShe concluded that learning and living The Theology of the Body transformed her life for the better. We receive great healing for our person, our image and likeness of God, when we live according to God’s “Human Love in the Divine Plan.”

I need to get back to my copy of The Theology of the Body ASAP!!  Maybe I should start with a book like this: Theology of the Body in Simple Language.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lydia permalink
    April 27, 2014 10:34 pm

    Have you read Emily Stimpson’s book “These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body?” http://j.mp/IhyoSD  I was always leery of trying to learn about the topic because I had heard that it was difficult, but I really found this book to be an easy read. She writes about how the TOTB is not just about the bedroom, but about our whole selves and how we treat others, How we are all made to be spiritual mothers and fathers, even if we are not physicals ones. This goes from how we dress, what manners we use, to how we use technology. I really love the book and it is yet another side of St. John Paul II’s teaching that we will probably be unpacking for generations.

    • catholicwideweb permalink*
      April 28, 2014 1:11 pm

      Thanks Lydia, I too see whole person aspect to TotB, that’s what fascinates me about it, especially since I am into holistic healing. Pray for us St. JPII, we’ll need a lot of guidance in unpacking this, for sure!

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