Saturday, April 29, 2006


Day two of the TOB conference was another good one, but it didn't have (for me!) as much power as yesterday. Still, it can't help but make an impression. For one thing, there were mighty few grey heads in that crowd. These were Catholic (mostly) young adults, people whose entire lifespan has unfolded within a culture of ever-increasing promiscuity (along with "openness" and "tolerance" regardless of the object), and somehow the message of the Theology of the Body reached them, attracted them, won them, so that they are the most ardent promoters of Church teaching in the area of marriage and sexuality. It really is GOOD NEWS to them, and they want to evangelize.
A little insight from the weekend; maybe it's a midrash, as so much of John Paul's "original" meditations on Genesis were. One of the presenters' books had a little remark about the setting of the "felix culpa" in Eden. It was that Adam must have been right there at the conversation between Eve and the "enemy of human nature" (St. Ignatius' term). Why on earth was he so passive? He was within arm's reach, because Eve simply "gave the fruit" to her husband, and he ate it. What struck me was what a reversal this was of our natural gender complementarity. Because it is proper to the male to "bestow" and for the female to "receive" (and then conceive) within herself, but in this original sin, there was already a kind of gender-bending. Not to be too anachronistic, but when these stories were written, people were very much in touch with nature--and it very well may be that this kind of gender-bending was, in fact, intended as a way of expressing the profound disruption that sin caused, all the way to affecting masculinity and femininity in the very first persons to fully experience themselves as persons, male and female, imaging the Triune God.
Just a thought.


Talmida said...

Sister, your idea about gender-bending is interesting, but I disagree completely. :)

Weren't women of that time constantly gathering food and FEEDING their husbands? Gathering firewood and water. Cooking meals and preparing clothing to GIVE to him. Getting pregnant and GIVING him children.

It seems perfectly reasonable that teh snake would offer the fruit to the woman before the man. The man might well have said, "Dinner is not my job, ask her."


xaipe said...

I still think I'm on to something, at least in line with the "real-symbolism" of the Theology of the Body. After all, in a "hunter-gatherer" society, the men go out to hunt, while the women gather in the fruits and nuts and seeds; the men provide the raw materials and the women bring forth the finished product...