Thursday, February 12, 2009

If you didn't go to Mass today, the first reading is the creation of Eve (and Adam's delight at finally finding a creature like himself) and the Gospel is Jesus' repartee with the Syro-Phoenician woman who was pleading for a miracle for her little daughter. Jesus had turned her down (!) with an appeal to his own specific mission to the people of Israel, but the woman turned his words back on him in a way that seems to have delighted Jesus. So, far from refusing her, he sent her home to see the miracle her faith had brought about.
Today's liturgical readings would have been even better (for us here!) if they had been yesterday's. That's because we had our Theology of the Body study group meeting here. You can still access the video (some technical problems--as usual!) and here are Sr. Helena's notes. Sr. Lusia attended the session--it was her first real exposure to the Theology of the Body (English isn't her first language, so Pope John Paul's weighty tome wouldn't do it), and she has been talking about it all day, marveling at the renewal it offers...
What is your experience of TOB?


mary montgomery aka greatgranmary said...

Experience of TOB? Zero zip nadda nayt. Can't get past the 60's or Christopher West or living in NYC metro. There is a link between them. If the tome had nothing to do with sex and birth control I could dip my little toe in the waters but each time I have tried I am afraid my Calvinistic Catholic upbringing rears it's ugly head. Too bad as I have heard that it is quite something. What I have read( just odd sentences here and there--but that's all I ever read of Augustine until some one had the good sense to edit out his sex angst) JP2 sounds too romantic. Oh that the world were as he describes it and I could get over the violence inflicted on women. Oh that marriages any marriages were lived out in the picture of the love of the Trinity. Now mine resides on the same planet--at least we have the desire. But then there are all of those pesky physical issues I cannot reconcile and the awful decisions that I and many others have had to make for the sakes of our lives in the shadow of those saints who chose to die and leave their children to others.
Then I heard the priest say on the webcast something to the effect of "we must come to the place of understanding that we don't HAVE a body we ARE a body. Gotta get that book.
There are many shoulds and oughtas in my life that do not in practical application live up to the ideal. But who should care now? Now we can only talk of what we might have done in an earlier time. Now even in the present that all is theory.
If the tome goes beyond the physical, if the physical is simply a platform from which reality is launched then I need to get over being a 60's kid and read the thing. All I know of it so far is why birth control is so evil.

xaipe said...

In general, none of us live up to our ideals. But we Americans, so legalistic, then try to rewrite reality, so that we won't fall short of our ideals! Without the ideal, we reduce our sights to the level of what is within our own power to achieve, and that seems to diminish more and more. And yet the ideal remains, beyond any rules or laws or "oughts."
Do get the book, Mary. The Theology of the Body is not at all about birth control. It is about what it means to be human, imaging God in our bodiliness, not simply in our interior or "spiritual" faculties.
If JP2 sounds "too romantic," it is with the romanticism of Jesus himself, who, when asked about marriage, spoke about what it was "in the beginning." It is God's image of us, not what we have done to it through sin. Violence against women, the abuse of children, the horrors of abortion and embryo experimentation, and, yes, chemicals and implements intended to frustrate the body's natural fertility in a mechanistic, not personalistic, way: all of these sins prove just how desperately the enemy of humanity wants to destroy the image we bear in our bodies.

mary montgomery aka greatgranmary said...

And what was marriage in the begining? In our house we think it was the two became so one that if one spoke the other made the noise.They were a perfect team. She may have borne the babies but he was better at settleing them down at night so he did. He didn't read bedtime stories he read whole works!And she was always getting involved in some crusade bringing home some waif or dragging him off to some conflagration.Their "discussions" were legendary, but they never interferred with the huge meals they prepared for whoever showed up on Tuesday nights for prayer and study. No one ever accussed her of being submissive or him of being dominant. In old age she can make 3-times what he can so she works and he takes out the trash. When the Grands come for a visit they all still pile in the same bed together as they did as babies until somebody nearly falls out and chooses the couch. The kids and Grands still put a limit on how much they can discuss the latest book or film together lest the pizza get cold. Where they see some deeper meaning or wonder the young see the color of the dress.
There is a huge price to pay for their partnership. They are viewed as being somewhat subversive not taking on the roles they "should" take on. And of course what to do when one departs?
They are heartsick about the lack of union they see in the partners around them, but have no easy solutions. They chose to come die together---die to any other option but union with each other. They think that is what is was from the begining.The breech came when the man did not convey the information correctly and the woman quoting the original command incorrectly became easy prey for trickery. He was right there with her and he never said a word. If there is a sorrow that will not abate a loneliness that will not heal it is that now as then his tendency is to hold onto his world and not share it fully or without fear with her and she is always wary of not having enough information to be safe, of getting tricked and having no one to save her. So they work out the scenario coming to a challenge and solving a problem both in real agreement that "thus saith the Lord" over and over until that day they will finally get it right. And no matter how many guides they encounter how many rules are set before them as the true an only safe way, they know that in the end it is only their union that will win out. That there is something so sacred and so unique about this union that those who choose this path can only stand in silent admiration of each other. "let the marriage bed be sacred" said the Apostle "and held in honor by all", let no one tread on this sacred place where union with God and each other can never be reduced to mere biology.
As these are the ramblings of an old woman and may not fit neatly into what official lines are feel free to discard this post.
In Admiration,