Sunday, January 29, 2006
However, as Christopher West puts it so perfectly, "Man is not fully human - his creation is not complete - until he emerges in his 'double unity' as male and female."
Man, as a whole, is not complete unless he has someone to share the experience of being human. This goes back to the idea of the "two in one flessh" principle. Humanity, man, is incomplete unless he has someone to share in that union of humanity with.
Here enters woman.
Man seeks to experience that total oneness of being human, but knows it is not possible without someone to share that with. Man needs a helper in order to be fully himself. Adam needs someone to share in his work, so that with the total completeness expressed by the utter distintiveness and equality of both sexes, man in his completeness is able to fully do the work that needs to be done.
In order to understand this creation of woman, let us first and foremost take a brief look at the idea of Adam's "deep sleep". This speaks, again, to that deep and personal experience that Adam has, and this experience expresses and divine and objective truth.
It is not a state of dreams, of sub-consciousness, but is rather a passing from conscious to un-consciousness. This sleep a "return to non-being" according to JP II. What does that mean? He is stating that Adam is not taking part in the activity of the creation of the woman. As we have stated, in order to be, one must have activity that is conscious, for it is that activity that brings about our personhood in a very real way. Man falls into sleep in order to awaken to find man in his completeness through the union of male and female in a unitive and loving communion. Man is fully realized when Adam awakes from his deep sleep to see Eve standing in front of him, Adam and Eve see in each other, through their experience of each other in their bodies the completeness of man.
The rib is a bone, and it is the bone that represents a person's very intimate and personal self. It is the stuff that they're made of. It can be likened to how people view the heart nowadays, it is the center of what makes us human. By creating Eve out of Adam's rib, the Bible is showing us the sharing of humanity that men and woman have. The rib thus indicates that they are equal in the eyes of God, and that they share that dignity which each and every human person shares.
Masculinity and femininity, thus, express in two different yet equal ways that solitude before God. In a more real way, that solitude of man is still very real after the creation of woman, in that man as a whole is still the only creature who is self-willed. It is the masculinity and femininity that complete what it means to be human, and what it means to be male and female. They complete each other in that loving communion that they share. They are very different, and yet, this difference is completely complementary. God creates Eve as a helper for Adam. Adam does not need another man to be his helper, but a woman, Eve, so that through such difference which is apparent to the other through the body, this perfect harmony is created in which these differences are completely complimentary. It is sin that will create tension between the differences.
The bone, too, expresses for the Jews the human being. So when Adam exclaims "Bone of my bone", he really means "being of my being", someone who he sees as another person, and he recognizes it immediately. Notice, too, that Adam does not name woman, but it is a title given to her from God. This declares her total unique dignity as a human person.
Now that woman is created, the idea of Original Solitude reaches that new meaning as I discussed earlier in this post. Original Solitude is completed through Original Unity. Man is completed through the communion of male and female in a very unique and profound way, and it is through this communion that man fully realizes his utter uniqueness in the world as a being who has a self, who has the will to choose or deny love, and has the will to fulfill the meaning of his very person through the total love between him and another. Man is fulfilled in communion, and his uniqueness is at its peak, because it is only through this willing and loving communion that man can come to realize for himself his true uniqueness in the most intimate way through the one flesh union.
I learned a lot this weekend, a lot about others and thus a lot about myself by getting to know others. The first thing I will say is that it was MUCH better then my previous experience at a CSA retreat. I had a bad taste left in my mouth because of said previous experience. However, there are now new people who are heading it, a wonderful couple, Charlie and Jean Allen, who I've slowly gotten to know over the past couple of years. They have a great love for Christ and a great love for the youth.
My big highlight was that there was such an amazing balance of prayer, talks, and fun. Everything fit in nicely. I'll be honest, my idea of fun is sitting in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the entire weekend. However, I know that I must experience Christ not only through the Eucharist, but by being at service to others. And so, I tried to lighten up a bit this weekend and have some fun and I did. I will be the first to admit that the more modern music used for singing and such generally doesn't take to me. However, I know that it is a perfectly valid way to show your love for God and is a very reverential way to show it. This is not anything new though, I've always like older music, since my musical tastes will only go as far as 1945 generally. But I forced myself to experience and understand the various ways people show their love for God, because it is important to know how to relate to various people in the Church. I saw that people show equal reverance to Christ in there way of singing as I would by singing a good ol' Salve Regina.
The talks were fairly good too. Some people really opened up and it was definitely quite a different experience, in a good way, to see where people are at in their faith and I was glad to see that Jean and Charlie had variety with who they had talking and such.
There was Eucharistic Adoration whenever we wanted which was amazing! And there was fun too, like dancing on Saturday night spontaneously, so I pulled out my swing music to add to the fun. It was a good time overall.
Still have much to consider about the weekend, to see what God wanted me to learn from these interactions with others, but it was great overall.
I best get my Theology of the Body post up!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
God bless and I'll see you all when I get back.
Also, here's a bit of a teaser for all yall. I've got the information all ready to go for the George Weigel conference. If any of you in Vancouver perhaps would like me to send you some pamphlets for the conference please let me know. We can have a maximum of 800 people and would love to see many people from Vancouver come over. You can hand them out to your friends and maybe even teachers!
Man cannot be understood without understanding the call to enter a covenant with God, a covenant of love. This is an immensely personal covenant, one that is experienced at the very core of the human person. Man is dignified to such an extent that God willfully gives over a gift to man to enter that eternal, loving communion, something no other creature could possibly share. God has made us for Himself! This gift from God, in all its immensity and mystery, explains to us who we are.
In order to enter this covenant, man must be able to willfully enter into it. This demands a choice, which is why there is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is that choice, we can choose to enter God's covenant fully, or we can choose to reject Him. Man ends up seeing the tree as the answer to that deep longing, they listen to the devil and are fooled. They eat of it and their world perspective becomes distorted. They see solitude no longer as a good thing, proper to prepare us for intimate loving communion, but now it is something that hinders our own personal progress, and thus it is no longer solitude, but is loneliness. This is why Adam was alone first, why both Adam and Eve were not created at the same time, he had to prepare himself for that communion. The same goes for us nowadays. And this will also be applied to those in the religious life. That life of solitude is not bad, it is a great preration for that reality of eternal communion with God. Loneliness is the result of sin's distortion of our world perspective.
And so, it is this freedom that makes for us the ability to have eternal life with God. We must choose, no one can choose for us. Adam and Eve had two choices, they could eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they could eat of the tree of eternal life. They chose to live apart from God. Adam, also, had a perfect understanding of what was meant by death. Just as we can contrast our own experiences with those of Original Man by reflecting on our own experiences, so too can Original Man, by reflecting on his own experiences and knowledge, contrast who is compared to God. Adam knew God, and knew that he was a limited being, dependent on God. If this is the case, he could see that he could have the opportunity of no longer living, it was all dependent on God.
Man, therefore, is, at the very essence of his being, defined by his relationship of dependence and partnership with God. Man is defined according to his relation to God. We are dependent because we have been created by God and are creatures, but we are in a partnership because God freely gives us a covenant of love in which we may participate in.
Man also comes to a deep understanding of who is through the very experience of his body! Man is formed out of the dust of the earth and God breaths His Spirit into man. Man is a person constituting a body and a soul, intimately intertwined. Thus, through the very experience of his body, man comes to learn of who God is and, it follows, who he is.
If the invisible has control over the visible, as is true with who we are, so too, then, does the visible express the invisible. Our bodies reveal that invisible reality of who we are. The body is transparent and penetrable in a certain degree so that it makes clear who man is.
This is why Adam saw none of the animals fit to be helpers for him. He knew, through his own experience of himself in his solitude, that his helper that would be fit for him would reveal to him through her body the inner depths of her personhood, of who she is and who she is meant to be! This is an awesome and beautiful mystery, one that we cannot fully comprehend. Furthermore, through the experience of his body in solitude, Adam sees that it is not fit for him to be alone. His very body expresses the reality that he is built to be in a communion of love with another! How beautiful is this?
It is thus through this Original Solitude that man is able to see that he is fit for another, to have a loving communion with another. This will come about with the creation of woman. His body anticipates that original unity which Adam and Eve will experience in which the "two will become one flesh". To bring this to an applicable side quickly, this is why it is good to have solitude, to see how we are fit to give ourselves completely to another through our vocation. For some it is in marriage (in fact, this is the most common case). However, for others, the vocation can be one of giving themselves completely over, seeing their body is made for that loving union between male and female, but that we are also made for a greater communion, that communion that is eternal and loving with God.
I have a note in my book here that I wish to share with everyone that can be applied to what has been discussed. We have seen how solitude prepares us for communion. I'm going to do a quick bit of application, though I'm sure this will be discussed in more depth with regards to the cycle on Religious Life. I put down that the religious life, priesthood, and single life is an intense preperation for communion with God because of the fact that these vocations express that eschatological reality.
What this means is that the time of solitude helps us prepare for that deep, personal, and intimate communion we have with the other. All people have that to a certain extent, regardless of their vocation. We are all preparing for that eternal communion with God. However, those who give up marriage for the sake of the kingdom are able to prepare in a more intense way. That is to say, the fact that they give up marriage, they make present on earth that reality which we all will be living in Heaven (the eschatological reality). They thus prepare in a very real and personal way through a life of solitude (from having a spouse) so that they can be as best prepared as possible for that Divine and eternal communion. This will be discussed more much later on, but I wanted to throw it out there. Note, this does not put marriage as a vocation under those called to a celibate life. I just wanted to throw this out there.
Next post will be about a very beautiful, profound, and deep subject, the Creation of Woman. It is one of my personal favourites.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Continuing along the lines of experience, we enter what JP II terms as "Original Solitude". It relates to the following passage in Genesis:
It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (Genesis 2:18)Original solitude has 2 meanings:
- The first derives from the relationship between man and woman, man is literally alone without woman.
- The second is fundamental to man's nature in that he is "alone" in the visible world as a person.
We must remember that Adam has no one to refer to. The difference between the sexes is only apparent when there is another person of the opposite sex to compare to. So, Adam being alone does not define himself as male. His first experience, also, is not that of being a male, it is the experience of being a person. Therefore, this solitude is in reference to the fact that man is the only creature who has a personhood. It thus follows that the experience of man as being male or female is secondary because of man's very nature of being a human person. Man experiences that original solitude in the sense that he experiences his personhood, his realization of being a person, before he realizes that he is a male (in reference to Adam).
This all falls into the realization that man realizes first his fundamental human dignity as a person. Before he can give himself to another, man must first realize that he is a person who can, out of his own love and free will, give himself over to another out of total love. Only someone with free will is able to give himself over as a loving gift. Personhood and the act of love of the person, as well as every act, involves free will, which is inherent in the dignity of the human person. This does not deny the importance of sexual differences, the difference between male and female, but that, in order to have that important disctinction, you must have a personhood in order to be able to realize that sexual difference.
God sees that Adam needs a helper. First, it is important to note what is meant by the term "helper". It is not a term that denotes being one's slave, to do the bidding of another. Instead, the term "helper" denotes someone to share in the duties and work of the other. It thus is necessary for the helper to be someone of equal standing with Adam, someone who is free to recognize the fact that they have a dignity that is inherent in their very nature.
In order to do this, God first creates the animals, in which Adam names them. This is man's own way of self-realization. Man, by naming the animals, is able to see that he is fundamentally different from the animals. He has dominion over them, being able to name them. By naming the animals, Adam sees that they are not persons like he is, but are simply creatures in which he has dominion over them as someone who has the dignity of freely loving. He does not see in them a helper fit for him because they are not able to freely love him, they are not created in the same dignity as he is, they are not created in the image and likeness of God.
This brings a speculative sidenote...JP II says that it is through the unique interaction between body and soul that man is able to come and experience things. Man comes to a self-realization through experience through his body. This is very Thomistic of JP II of course, taking the standard medieval motto that "nothing is in the mind that is not previously perceived through the senses." That is to say, in order to have ideas, thoughts, to come to self-realization, one must experience things through their bodies. This is interesting for me because it brings up angels for me, who are non-corporeal beings, they are pure spirit. Does this mean that angels are thus self-realized and that they don't have experience, because they come to that full realization of self at the moment they are created? I don't know the answer, I'm just throwing that out there as a result of this discussion.
Back to Original Solitude. By naming the animals and seeing that he is distinct, man comes to know who he is, that self-realization, based on his relations with the rest of the created world. This means that our own identity is dependent on relating to all of creation, we (human beings as a whole) are defined in contrast with the rest of the created world. We see that we are fundamentally different. The more animals Adam names, the more he realizes his fundamental difference from the rest of the created world.
Man, through this naming of the animals, reveals himself to himself. We must remember too that the body reveals to us the Divine reality of God, it expresses in a deep and profound way the mystery of God. Thus through that realization of himself before the fall, man becomes even more aware of who God is, he realizes not only his utter distinctness from the creatures and created world, he also realizes his utter distinctness in that God is far more greater then he is. This means that man is prepared for communion with God. God was willing to give all to man so long as man was willing to receive the gift, though as we will see (and know), man rejects that gift.
Thus, in this solitude, in this time of self-realization, man begins to know himself more and more, seeing how distinct he is from the rest of the created world. It follows then that this state of Original Solitude prepares man for the experience of communion. Man must realize who he is in order to properly and fully give himself over completely in love to woman. We will discuss this preparing for communion through Original Solitude tomorrow.
I will not read it right away, as I have much that I need to take care of in the next week or two before I can begin to give it the time it deserves, however, I took a quick glance at the first page with much joy when I saw the following sentence:
Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.
Pure and utter brilliance and beauty. I know it's been said and said by him and others, but now we have it in encyclical form! I can see hints already in it in how it is a continuation of what JP II had done, on the experience of God, but you can also tell that this is something that is definitely a work of his own that he has written, Benedict has that style about him :).
Needless to say I am very excited to read it and give it further reflections and such, I will be teaching on the encyclical in April at the College and Career group so I gotta make sure it's all ready to go by then.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
JP II says that there is an essential continuity and link between the pre-hisotoric (pre-fall) and historic (post-fall) man. This link is essential to JP II and, in a certain sense, this is of little surprise, for JP II is a Thomist to the core, and all Thomist's believe in the natural inclination towards the good. This is speculation on my part, but I do believe that for JP II, this natural inclination is that continuity between the pre-historic and historic man. All people are ordered towards the good, however, sin now has distorted that reality, though it has not taken it away. Sin has muddied our entire perception of the world, Christ wipes away that dirt so that we can more clearly see that good which we are to pursue.
So, JP II says that the imprint, the negative (as in a photo negative) is still imprinted in man. In order to have a fuller understanding of that state of Original Innocence we must flip that negative in order to see that positive which was there at the beginning. We can look at our human experiences and see what it is, to a certain extent, that we are no longer experiencing. Sin is only definable by the fact that it has disrupted that Original Innocence. Sin misses the mark, but it also reveals to us that mark we have missed, since we cannot miss a mark without knowing it.
The redemption of the body for us has been won by Christ. Through His Incarnation and thus through His death, our bodies have been redeemed by His death on the cross. It is because of Christ's redeeming act on the cross that man is able to have that continuity within himself. Without Christ, there is no ability to overcome our sinful nature, it is only through Him that we are able to grow closer to the way it used to be, to the way of Original Innocence.
Man does indeed participate in the history of human sinfulness, but even more importantly, he participates in and are thus co-creators of the history of salvation. By claiming faith in Christ, we automatically take part and help form that history of salvation for the glory of God through His grace. Faith means being open to the gift. By having faith in Christ, we are thus open to His gift. By being open to His gift, we become subjects and co-creators in salvation history. It is through viewing himself this way that man is able to see the "beginning" as his true fullness. We are aiming for our eschatological end through the fact that we are coming to aim for a fuller living out of that original state.
Here we run into a need for clarity. How is it that we are able to use subjective human experience to discuss the objective truth of revelation? JP II answers that if we do not apply subjective experience together with that objective truth of revelation, then these revelations become merely abstract thoughts that have no import on our lives. JP II states that both are important, and indeed revelation is of the utmost importance. We must, however, discuss revelation by applying it to our experiences and seeing how it affects each and every one of us, seeing how our own experiences cry loud and proud that we truly yearn for that truth about our human existance. Therefore, through looking at our own human experiences to their very depths, JP II is able to abstract from them those common experiences which speak true and reveal to us a deeper meaning about man in the beginning.
JP II sees it as very necessary of looking deep within the human experience, because the human experience speaks of truths which resound perfectly with revelation. The human desire to love, to be affirmed, to be loved, this is all true within the Church's teachings on marriage and sexuality and the very heart of the human person. JP II attempts to extract this and apply it in a more deeper way so that the Church can have a fuller understanding of the mystery of God's plan and of God. The reason for this is because, prior to the fall, there was no tension between man's subjective experience and the objective truth. They were in perfect harmony, in which man's experience coincided and revealed in the most intimate way those universal and immutable truths. However, with the entrace of sin into the world, everything is distorted. Because man grasps instead of freely receives, the interaction which was once mutually important to each other because their differences brought that perfect harmony to the world, there is now a perceived tension because sin has distorted our view. Instead of man freely receiving God's gift, he now tries to take it. God freely gives Himself in the fullest way through Christ, and man can again begin to have that harmony between subjective experience and objective truth by man freely accepting and nurturing the gift that God has given us.
Next time we will discuss the idea of Original Solitude. I could continue in more depth on the objective truth and subjective experience, but that could go on forever. It is important to have that basic idea of it, and to understand fundamentally that they are not at tension with each other, but are there to compliment each other. Christ expresses this perfectly in Himself. He IS the universal truths, yet He is also a person who has experiences and relations. Christ is the point in which the universal and subjective are re-orientated back to their original harmony.
After I finished my Divine Mercy Chaplet, I had the sudden urge to just close my eyes, sit up straight, and just try to be as silent as possible. I just sat in God's presence in almost complete silence (thoughts do come to my mind once in a while, but that happens). I did feel my self nodding off a couple of times, but I am tired and it didn't really ruin my prayerful state if I can call it that. It was amazing because I know now that there was stuff going on upstairs in the Sacrasty, it registered, but at the time, I just really didn't pay attention to it. It went in one ear and out the other. A nuclear bomb going off could not have gotten me to budge.
And so, as it was coming to an end, I had a sudden urge to write a poem! I couldn't believe it...me and poetry haven't been the best of friends in the past. But I just started writing, and writing until it was time to repose the Blessed Sacrament. I read it after and added one tiny thing to it, but it expressed perfectly what I was feeling. I just felt that today my love for the Eucharist has grown, thanks to God's grace, about a million times more. Oh how I long for another opportunity to adore and be in the presence of our Lord.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Also, Paul Martin has stepped down as leader of the Liberal Party. Will we get another nominal Catholic as the leader of the party? We will see, but, frankly, I'm not a fan of someone who says they're Catholic and yet refuses to live those beliefs in their vote.
We will see what happens. Everyone is already talking that this parliament will only last 18 months. I think the Liberals may begin falling with the loss of Paul Martin, they're going to need to think about a new leader and I don't think it'll be enough if there is another election so close in the future. We will see, I just pray that family and life values and truths can begin to be promoted in Parliament. This is the Conservative's opportunity to step up to the plate and show Canada what they can do for Canadians. I pray that they will promote life and family values.
*Quick sidenote, there will be no Theology of the Body posts tonight, I got home late and need to get to sleep so I can wake up for Mass in the morning.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Well, I'll be honest, I'm not too surprised. There seems to be a slight leaning in the article, of course, towards those who support abortion, simply by calling pro-lifers "anti-abortion". While it is true, it's definitely a much more negative title then the others.
And the article does do a good job at showing the utter lack of logical coherency. The pictures speak lourder then words (re: the picture section of the article, especially the woman who's got "My Baby is Pro-Choice" written on her stomach). As I've heard others say, how can a piece of tissue mass have a conscience? How is it that a "non-person" can have a moral opinion? If you don't believe a baby is a person, then how is it that your baby is making a moral opinion? Furthermore, just simply seeing the pictures of the pro-choicers compared to those who are pro-life speaks volumes. We're quiet and peaceful, while they have to scream and yell and make fun of people because they know they have no point.
It reminds me a lot of what happened last year at UVic with regards to the vote at the UVSS. We had a vote to take off of the UVSS's policy that "the UVSS supports a woman's right to an abortion." It was opposed by Youth Protecting Youth, a pro-life club at the school, because of the fact that the UVSS is thus forcing students to pay fees into a Student Union that supports a position that is contrary to their fundamental beliefs. Del did a great job at putting together a very coherent argument for the pro-life side. Unfortunately, because of the scare tactics of the pro-choicers, we didn't win the vote because they would be taking down our signs and so forth and scream across campus.
It just goes to show that when you deny human life, you fall down the slippery sloap. You deny babies are human beings and so you start to think that you're nothing but a silly animal and so the only way to win is to scream and yell and destroy because it's your only way of expressing an opinion. No coherency to the argument. I pray for them, that they may see the error of their ways.
David seized his garments and rent them, and all the men who were with him did likewise.They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
So, why does David and all those with him fast for Saul and Jonathan and the soldiers? It's the same argument as for 2 Maccabees, that if they're in Heaven, they don't need our prayers, and if they're in Hell, our prayers are fruitless. So, why pray for someone if they are eternally "set"? It seems inappropriate. It seems to give us further scriptural proof for purgatory.
As I was sitting in Mass yesterday, that just hit me. It was kinda nice to have, because using 2 Maccabees doesn't always work when discussing with our Protestant brothers and sisters.
Christ, in that passage, uses His authority to re-orientate that initial meaning of marriage by saying "let no man put asunder." By saying this, Christ re-institutes marriage to its original meaning, a life-long loving union between a man and a woman which is to be totally self-giving with acceptance and affirmation of that which is given to each other.
By looking at this passage, JP II sees an echo stamped on man's heart. It is because of the hardness of hearts that Moses allowed divorce. This means, however, that if only man would not harden their hearts but see the plan that God created for them, they would realize immediately that divorce is against God's order. That is, one can see from within that divorce is not to be so, that it is a result of the disorder that has been brought into the world thanks to sin. Christ is saying that if we look into ourselves, we are able to see that we experience a deep longing within ourselves to fulfill the precept of our humanity, to discover fully the meaning of our sexuality as male and female.
This is a theme that runs throughout JP II's Theology of the Body. He is attempting to do something that has been for a while seen as not possible, bringing together the subjective(personal) experience and the objective truth. Later on, we will discuss this as ethos(subjective) and ethics(objective). Keep this in mind as you read Theology of the Body. This is also an important tool for proclaiming the Gospel. The modern world is so caught up in the norms of relativism, doing what one pleases because it's for them, while whatever is good for someone is ok for them, even though it's "not their thing."
One of the most popular phrases nowadays expresses this perfectly "to each their own." JP II answers this voice in the world. He affirms that each person does have their own personal experiences, and that, if one were to look at what they experience and apply it to the Truth, they could see how their own experiences express in a personal way the Divine and Eternal Truth, which is God.
JP II is thus saying that yes, to each their own in their personal experiences, that everyone does have different experiences, but not "to each their own" with regards to the universal truths, for our own personal experiences are to reflect that Divine Truth and reveal it in a full sense. Our personal experience is that which expresses in a very personal and intimate way eternal and immutable truths. Man, in his masculinity and femininity and through their bodies, express the truths about God, our bodies in their own personal way are a theophony of God. Our experiences are supposed to lead to the truth of God.
If we un-harden our hearts, we will well up for a desire for the truth. This is why those who have a passion for the faith are so passionate. They have unhardened their hearts in cooperation with God's grace, and by doing so, they see that their experiences are expressed most truly in the teachings of the Church. They say "all that I know and experience in my innermost being is expressed most perfectly and beautifully in Christ through His Church."
JP II distinguishes between the two accounts of creation in his Theology of the Body. These two accounts are known as the Elohist account for Genesis 1 and the Yahwist account for Genesis 2 and 3.
JP II expresses the Elohist account as an account that is "loaded with powerful metaphysical(objective) content definining man in the dimensions of being and existence." That is to say, the Elohist account expresses those eternal and objective truths about the human person. It is here that we obtain part of what it means to be man. Man is not defined solely with regards to his relation to the rest of the created world, but more so with regards to his relation to God. This is the metaphysical content of the meaning of the human person, that is to say, God, the non-physical (what metaphysics discusses) is what we relate to in order to define ourselves as human beings. We are the only creatures who can obtain part of their meaning of who they are through their relations with God! This shows that we cannot consider man to be merely reduced to his physical components, but there is a deep spiritual reality which goes hand-in-hand with defining man. It is the body and the soul that defines man. We bear the divine imprint of God on our body because our body is not merely physical, it is also spiritual.
The Yahwist account describes in a very profound way the psychological(subjective) element of man. It is here that man's self knowledge is expressed in a very real way, it is here that man is described through his conciousness, through his personal experience and thus self-realization. We see that we are indeed free beings, it is inharent in being made in God's image and likeness. Through this, we see that by being procreative, we are freely giving ourselves over to the other and sharing in God's creative act. Inharent in the definition of "creating" is that one must freely will to create that which is being brought forth. Thus, through the nuptial embrace (more will be discussed on that later), man and woman freely consent to share in God's creative act in the most intimate and personal way, in the most loving way possible.
By Christ pointing to the beginning we are pointed not to just one part of the Creation account in Genesis, but in fact are pointed towards the entire pre-history of man. It is a pre-history because we do not have a full idea of what it was like, it is still shrouded in mystery. It is through the Theology of the Body that we come to understand this mystery a bit more and how there is still an echo of this mystery inharent in the human heart. We are all ordered towards to good, it is just that sin has disordered us to look away from the good. JP II attempts to show how we can again, through Christ, re-orientate ourselves back to God. This will be the next discussion, the Echo of Original Experience.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
It takes some time if you have a lot of posts. I'm still trying to figure out how to get rid of the old archive of Dec 2005 where I'm putting the category posts. It's not too hard and it just takes a bit of manual linking and you'll be all done.
Though the priest stopped practicing in 1999, it is still interesting to see that there are still heresy trials going on. They interview Jimmy Akin from Catholic Answers, who, and I totally agree, says that this is supposed to be medicinal, for the person to realize what they've done and come back to the fold. I think this will be unlikely with this priest, however. Interesting none the less, since excommunication and heresy trials are not so common anymore (or at least we don't hear of them as much when they do happen).
Friday, January 20, 2006
By the way, I'm in the process of working on the blog template. It's a work in process. It's been a LONG time since I've had to use stylesheets. I'm trying to figure out how to use them again, because it's not formatted exactly to my liking. I want to change some fonts and sizes and colours and so forth. If anyone knows how to make categories that would be great, because I know I'll be posting about lots of stuff, it would be nice to have categories to help people pick and choose what they want to look at. I am also trying to figure out how to change the "Most recent posts" links to coincide with the fonts for the rest of my links, that hasn't done much of anything yet though, because I can't seem to find the styles in the scripts.
Please let me know if there's things you think that may need changing layout wise or stuff you think would be cool to post.
Some Pharisees approached him, and to test him they said, "Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?" He answered, "Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave his father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one flesh? They are no long two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that a write of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?" "It is because of the hardness of your hearts," he said, "that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning..."
Gospel of Matthew 19:3-8 (emphasis mine)
John Paul deliberately begins his study of man (anthropology) by refering to Christ. By doing so, JP II is pointing the full revelation of man in Christ and that Christ is the authority to first be refered to. By refering to Christ, we now see that He points us to the beginning. This beginning can only mean one thing, the story of Creation.
By Christ pointing us to the beginning, He is showing us how the break from sin is something that involves all of history. Christ is not our only focus, but so is Original Man. By looking at Original Man, we can see the roots of our humanity, of our desires, of the meaning of what it means to be a human person. Thus, the redemption of human sexuality is not something that is simply for a certain time in human history, but it involves all of human history. All this history of humanity is thus brought to us through Christ, who is the Alpha and the Omega. Christ brings all history to Himself.
Christ is thus calling us through the discussion with the Pharisees to go back to the beginning to see our original calling to be one flesh. Christ is showing that this distortion in sexual relations is not something that is inharent in the nature of the human person, but instead, it is a result of sin.
The goal for JP II with Original Man is to show what the status quo was for Original Man, what it is that is still an echo in the human person today. Sin has distorted the perfect communion man had through the one flesh union of male and female. JP II takes our current state and flips it, to see, though not fully (he admits full well that this cannot be fully understood, that it is still a mystery) the mystery of why God created us to be male and female. The answer will astound you, as the reasoning behind it goes to the very core of what it means to be a human being!
Christ's mission is to restore that order through His death on the Cross. Because of Christ's death on the Cross, we are now able to re-orientate ourselves through God's grace towards that good that is experienced by each human person. Christ enables us to re-orientate ourselves back towards God, to the way it was in the beginning. This journey will be one of prayer and insight as we go to the depths of human sexuality, of the human person.
* = When I speak of man in bold, I am talking about man in general, not man as male. That is, man as the human person, fulfilled through male and female.
Love of truth, a desire to proclaim Christ, and dedication to the suffering are some of the key features the Church needs in its priests, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope made that assessment today at an audience with priests, deacons and seminarians of various countries studying at the Capranica College, the seminary of the Diocese of Rome.
Among the students of the seminary, founded in 1547, were the future Popes Benedict XV and Pius XII.
"To respond to the expectations of modern society, to cooperate in the great evangelizing action which involves all Christians, prepared and courageous priests are needed who, without ambitions and fears, but convinced of the Gospel truth, are concerned above all with proclaiming Christ," said Benedict XVI.
And, "in his name," they must be "willing to bow before human sufferings, making everyone, especially the poor and those going though difficulties, feel the consolation of the love of God and the warmth of the ecclesial family," the Holy Father said.
This implies -- "together with human maturity and diligent adherence to revealed truth, which the magisterium of the Church proposes faithfully -- a serious commitment to personal sanctification and the exercise of virtues, especially humility and charity," the Pope added.
It is also "necessary to nourish communion with the different components of the People of God so that awareness will grow in each one of being part of the one Body of Christ, members of one another," he continued.
For all this to be realized, the Pontiff urged priests and seminarians "to keep their gaze fixed on Christ."
He added: "The more you are in communion with him, the more you will be able to follow faithfully in his footsteps, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that your love for the Lord matures."
I agree with the Holy Father. It is very clear what he is saying here of course, that, by keeping our gaze on Christ, we can immitate Him more perfectly through the graces He gives us. Christ suffered, Christ served, Christ proclaimed. These are all things the Holy Father are calling all priests to do. It is important as, unfortunately, there are some priests who do not keep their gaze on Christ but instead on themselves. I think it is great that the Holy Father is giving those who are priests, training to be priests, and discerning to be priests very simple yet profound guidelines.
Pope John Paul II, as a young Karol Wojtyla, began discussing and answering the question of "what does it mean to be human?" His answer is one that is profound and one that will change the world.
His answer is the Theology of the Body. The Theology of the Body is based on 129 Wednesday Audiences the Pope gave to the pilgrims in Rome. It is through these audiences that JP II reveals the basis for his pontificate by answering the question "what does it mean to be a human person?". The talks are quite complex, but the words contain a beauty and truth that, if one searches the depths of their heart, could recognize this truth.
So why is the body a theology?
The best answer is Christ. Christ, through the Incarnation, took on human flesh, he took on human nature! Because God entered the world through a body, the body enters into theology. Moreover, the body, in its masculinity and femininity, reveals the inner life of the Trinity. The human person, both body and soul, not separable, but always together, expresses in the most profound way what God is like. This is not to say that we imitate it in a very close way, the difference is very great, however, the body does reveal in the most perfect way then any other created thing what God is like. This will be discussed in greater detail later on in my posts.
There are 6 cycles to study which are split into 2 parts. Establishing an adequate anthropology (Part I) and applying an adequate anthropology (Part II). Anthropology is the study of man, theology is the study of God. Thus, by studying Man through his body we are able to come to a deeper understanding about the mysteries of God, especially God's love. It is important that when I speak of "Man", I am speaking about all of humanity, both male and female.
Part I is divided into 3 parts: Original Man, Historical Man, and Eschatological Man.
Part II is divided also into 3 parts: Celibacy for the Kingdom, The Sacramentality of Marriage, and Love and Fruitfulness.
Over the next few weeks (perhaps longer) I will discuss these. Depending on how much depth I go into each subject will decide the length of time. I'm pretty open to it all, or I may just do one cycle and stop for a bit. We will see. It is through the Theology of the Body that we come to discover who we are, what we are destine for, why we are the way we are. It speaks to each individual's experience and shows how that experience points to the universal truth about human sexuality.
To define a couple of terms, when I speak of subjective experience, I am speaking of personal experiencs, experiences that are unique to each individual person. When I speak of the objective, I am talking about universal truths which exist outside our personal experiences, but which can be experienced by each individual human person.
I hope you all enjoy this over the next few weeks. If I make mistakes, please correct me, for I am but a mere human being who can make mistakes, I pray I'm not for the sake of God though.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Planned Parenthood in the United States is a government funded organization of about 250 million dollars a year. This indicates that the government in the US is now funding a group who is promoting offensive material against a visible religious group. Please refer to the following picture...
This disgusts me. This is a bumper sticker from said Planned Parenthood group. If you want to see other such bumper stickers go here:
So there are the American tax dollars hard at work. I haven't found such things yet, but I'm sure it's out there. If you want incoherant arguments and lack of consistency, visit a planned parenthood site.
THE HERETIC QUIZ
Is your boyfriend saying you're a Donatist? Is your girlfriend calling you an Arian? This quiz is the fool proof way to deny or confirm these accusations. Enjoy.
Thanks to AmericanPapist for this cool quiz.
Here are the words from his Holiness:
In this connection and with these sentiments, next Wednesday, January 25, feast of the conversion of the Apostle to the Gentiles, I shall follow in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to pray with Orthodox and Protestant brothers: to pray in thanksgiving for what the Lord has granted us; to pray that the Lord may guide us on the paths of unity.
On that same day, January 25, moreover, my first encyclical will finally be published, the title of which is already known, "Deus Caritas Est," "God Is Love." The topic is not directly ecumenical, but the framework and background are ecumenical, as God and our love are the condition for the unity of Christians. They are the condition for peace in the world.
With this encyclical I would like to show the concept of love in its different dimensions. Today, in the terminology that it is known, "love" often seems something very remote from what a Christian thinks when he speaks of charity. I would like to show that it is one movement with different dimensions.
The "eros," the gift of love between man and woman, comes from the same source of the Creator's goodness, as well as the possibility of a love that denies itself in favor of the other. The "eros" is transformed in "agape" in the measure in which the two really love one another and one no longer seeks oneself, one's enjoyment, one's happiness, but seeks above all the good of the other. In this way, the "eros" is transformed in charity, in a path of purification, of deepening. From one's family one opens wide to the larger family of society, to the family of the Church, to the family of the world.
I also try to show that the totally personal act that comes to us from God is a unique act of love. It must also be expressed as an ecclesial, organizational act. If it is really true that the Church is the expression of God's love, of that love that God has for his human creature, it must also be true that the fundamental act of faith, which creates and unites the Church and gives us the hope of eternal life and of the presence of God in the world, engenders an ecclesial act. In other words, the Church, including as Church, as community, must love in an institutional manner.
And this "Caritas" is not a mere organization, as other philanthropic organizations, but a necessary expression of the profound act of personal love with the God who has created us, awakening in our hearts the thrust to love, reflection of God-Love, that his image makes us.
Time has passed before the text was ready and translated. Now the fact that it will be published precisely on the day in which we pray for the unity of Christians seems a gift of Providence. I hope it might illuminate and help our Christian life.
Yes folks, this is indeed exciting news. It seems like it'll definitely be a worthy read.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
"Letter of St. Thomas Aquinas to Brother John on How to Study":
Because you have asked me, my brother John, most dear to me in Christ, how to set about acquiring the treasure of knowledge, this is the advice I pass on to you: That you should choose to enter by the small rivers, and not go right away into the sea, because you should move from easy things to difficult things.
Such is therefore my advice on your way of life:
I suggest you be slow to speak, and slow to go to the room where people chat.
Embrace purity of conscience; do not stop making time for prayer.
Love to be in your room frequently, if you wish to be led to the wine cellar.
Show yourself to be likable to all, or at least try; but do not show yourself as too familiar with anyone; because too much familiarity breeds contempt, and will slow you in your studies; and don't get involved in any way in the deeds and words of worldly people.
Above all, avoid idle conversation; do not forget to follow the steps of holy and approved men.
Never mind who says what, but commit to memory what is said that is true.
Work to understand what you read, and make yourself sure of doubtful points.
Put whatever you can into the cupboard of your mind as if you were trying to fill a cup.
"Seek not the things that are higher than you." Follow the steps of blessed Dominic, who produced useful and marvelous shoots, flowers and fruits in the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts for as long as life was his companion. If you follow these things, you will attain whatever you desire.
Now that you have this secret tool, you should have no problem becoming the next Doctor of the Church.
He states that he has aborted 10,000 - 12,000 babies in his career! First and foremost, be God grant His mercy and welcome them into His Kingdom.
He says that "life begins at conception". He knows that he is killing human life. Yet he has no problem with that. Why doesn't he have a problem with that, because the baby will be a stumbling block to the lives of the mothers who are pregnant. He does not advise them to adoption because of one case where he had a patient who had 2 children and gave them both up for adoption and killed herself. First off, the suicidal act doesn't necessarily mean it is connected to this mother's giving her children up for adoption. Needless to say, I was sickened by what this man had to say. He had no reasoning behind his arguments and I do pray that Judge Alito will bring some moral correctness to American law. I wish the same could be said for Canada, but we're on a moral downspiral.
Watch and let me know what you think. I would also object to his definition of personhood...there are two types of personhood, ontological personhood and psychological personhood. Ontological (Ontology is the study of being) personhood is the person's very essence, who they are without any interactions. It is their nature. Every human being has an ontological personhood at the moment of conception, it is the blueprint for their personhood. Psychological personhood is based on one's experiences, how they interact and relate with the world. This is something that does not come until their brains are developed enough to be able to interact which, to my knowledge, happen at the later stages of the pregnancy. Anyways, my point is that we all have personhood at the moment of conception, but this is not something that can be proven by science, and so it is not developed at all, it is something that can only be explained through philosophy.
Just keep on praying, we need to continue praying for all those unborn babies and those mothers who feel they have no other choice. If they would only put thought into it...God, please have mercy on us all.
Anyways, my nerves were settled immediately and he helped them be settled. He came in and sat down and we talked about school and one of my professors at the University. That calmed me immensely and everything else went well from there.
All in all, he seems genuinely open to me being a priest for this Diocese and he sees that I am of the proper understanding as to what this all entails. He is encouraging me to work so that I may pay off my student loans and experience life outside of school and that we will continue to discuss this more in the future. He also expressed his gratitude in the fact that he and I got to chat one on one as he had not had the opportunity yet since we are always in a larger group for lunches and such. So he seemed to enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
So I thank God and all who prayed for me. I got everyone to pray for me because it was a big thing, it kind of makes things official out there that I am discerning the priesthood and it brings me tremendous comfort knowing that I am going to simply let God take care of it and that I've got something to commit to. I know it's no final decision, but it's definitely a step on the right path I think.
This has pushed me to wanting to study the rest of JP II's Wednesday Audiences. So I've come across some books the Sisters of St Paul have put out which are a 6 volume set of his Wednesday Audiences. They are exactly like Theology of the Body in that he has a definite theme over the manner of several weeks or months. I am very excited to go over them in a detailed manner. I have Volumes 1, 3, and 6. The other 3 are proving very hard to find as they are no longer in print which blows my mind, who WOULDN'T want these?
George Weigel was indeed correct, though, when he said that "The Theology of the Body is a time bomb waiting to explode." Theology of the Body is definitely necessary for the New Springtime of Christianity that JP II had mentioned. It'll get the people in the pews excited (woah, the priest is talking about sex!) and it'll get the people in the streets excited (woah, the Church isn't down on sex, but approves of it and expresses the deepest desires of my heart!). I pray that seminaries will begin teaching this to priests, for it will be indespensible to them, to use it to explain why the Church teaches what it teaches, and through it speaking to the intimate personal experiences each and every person has.