Sunday, September 29, 2013

Theology of the Body in the New Evangelization (Part One)

Theology of the Body and the New Evangelization. Whew, these two statements that are quite overwhelming.

Theology of the Body (TOB) is a collection of Blessed John Paul II's General Audiences while he was Pope. He examines and explains the "nuptial meaning of the body" and practically rediscovers the meaning of our existence and really, the meaning of life in general.

The New Evangelization is simply proclaiming the Gospel, trying to convert people, getting people into church, and even getting Catholics who are in a state of complacency back to being on fire for their faith. The word "evangelization" and "missionary" are practically synonyms. Adding the word "new" to "evangelization" makes the definition more like: proclaiming the Gospel ad gentes (to all the Nations) and outreaching to fallen away Catholics.

Since childhood, I have been very affectionate and loving. If I would take the "The Five Love Languages" quiz, I'd probably be Words of Affirmation, Receiving/Giving gifts...maybe Acts of Service and Quality Time too hahaha
So, once I grew older and learned about Theology of the Body, I was hooked. Nothing can be more affirming than the Song of Solomon in the Bible. Nothing you read can make you feel more loved and beautiful than TOB and Song of Songs. When you meet a person who loves and lives out TOB, you just know it.
For example, I have a friend named Roch and he is like THE ultimate man. I picture him as Lazarus...if Jesus was around today and Roch died, Jesus would weep. Jesus' heart would be broken. Just how David is a man after Jesus's Heart... Roch is too - I just know it. Roch embodies Theology of the Body and it is evident on how he lives out his faith and the way he speaks and the way he listens. His temperament or disposition and demeanor IS Theology of the Body and his example to others promotes the New Evangelization. His love and gentle personality is what makes people yearn to be true genuine Catholic.
If you'd meet someone with a Fire and Brimstone, someone may not be apt to want to join whatever organization. But, if you would meet someone like Roch - a gentle, kind, welcoming, holy man - you'd be more apt to do whatever he's doing.

In prayer the past two weeks, Song of Songs has been very present in my life. Last week in community morning prayer, a specific line said: "I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul; For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10

Then, when I went to do my personal prayer, I opened Scripture to Psalm 139:13-14 "I praise you for I am wonderfully made." To this I made the connection that the Lord takes delight in us. We, the church, are his bride and He is our bridegroom. We are all jewels in His eyes and that we are beautiful and wonderfully made. I have no reason to be self-conscious because God made me the way he did for a reason and I am exactly the way I am supposed to be for Him. In His eyes, I am beautiful. Reaffirming my realization during Desert Day, I read from Song of Songs 7:1 "...your rounded thighs are like jewels, the handiwork of an artist..." Even in my insecurities and my disillusions about my self image, I "shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem held by my God"..."you shall be called my delight", "as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you." The Lord takes delight in my fat thighs and what I think are my imperfections.
I just love the comparisons of the Church being the Bride! mmmmm, so good.

I have been reading "At the Heart of the Gospel" by Christopher West which is about "reclaiming the body for the new evangelization" and is recommended by many chairman of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and many elite professors of philosophy and theology and authors. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, cardinal archbishop of Vienna; general editor, Catechism of the Catholic Church; and grand chancellor, International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family said that this is a "teaching so urgently needed for an effective proclamation of the Gospel."

I'll have to update everyone on this book about Theology of the Body and the New Evangelization in my next Blog!

*Happy Lord's Day*

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