In many ways, we are all on a continuing journey to learn about some of life’s most important topics. What is love? Why is sex a minefield? How do we view our body?
Sometimes parents give “the talk” to explain mechanics, risks and the need for “protection.” Some children are subjected to “sex education” classes. Often we learn the importance of chastity through our faith but fail to pursue real understanding of why.
Mostly, we learn about love and sex from the culture we live in where it is abundantly displayed, discussed – and wrong, very wrong. Heartbreak abounds through shallow relationships and failed marriages. People use, and are used, leaving only emptiness. Real love, being a real man or woman, and the enduring joy in the gift of ourselves to another as God intended eludes us.
Pope John Paul the Great understood our pain and confusion. He undertook as his special mission, before and throughout his papacy, to explore and explain every facet of this topic. Collectively, his work is known as the theology of the body.
As a non-Catholic, I had never heard of it. As near as I can tell, many Catholics have not either and that is a shame. The answers people are looking for are there. For many, it is a complete “paradigm shift.” I simply ask those in doubt – does your way work?
I first learned about this from the excellent videos of Jason Evert and his wife Crystalina. See a sample of those in my 7 Quick Takes Friday #13 if this is entirely new to you.
Marcel LeJeune, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at Texas A&M’s St. Mary’s Catholic Center recently wrote a wonderful book entitled Set Free To Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body. Marcel writes one of my favorite blogs (Aggie Catholics) and is one of the driving forces behind the incredible Catholic community there.
I like the book. After a good introduction to Theology of the Body, a dozen personal stories are presented detailing how it has changed their lives. Each story is unique and very different including not only single and married people, but same sex attraction, a priest and a sister.
Friends, this is an inexpensive paperback book. Being introduced to (or deepening your understanding of) the theology of the body is priceless. I recommended this captivating and inspiring book.