Theology of the Body - For the Divorced
What is the “Theology of the Body”?
It's a way to look at life and love that can help to heal the heartbreak of divorce. It's been called "revolutionary" but we know it's also timeless truth. We include an introduction to Theology of the Body in our DVD series because we know it can give YOU hope; it reveals what REAL romance, love and sex is meant to be: satisfying, healing and life-giving.
And those who have been divorced know that romance, sex, and love not rightly lived out can be frustrating, destructive, and cause the death of a family.
Christopher West is a well-loved theologian who has done much work in bringing the heart of TOB to people of all ages, and you’ll see and hear Christopher our DVD series. Christopher's fiery passion for the truth will set your heart ablaze! To acquaint you with just a little of TOB, we offer a very brief—but quite delicious—taste of the wisdom of this work.
We are BODY Persons
The mirror lies . . .your body is beautiful! Our bodies are not shells; they are just as much part of who we are as our spirit and soul. And they are not bad! God promises to raise our bodies—which He called ‘very good’—up and reunite them with our spirit in heaven forever. It’s through our bodies that we are visible to one another, so that we can LOVE one another as God loves us.
We Speak Body Language
We all know about “body language” . . . by looking at someone’s face, watching their hands move, or seeing how they stand, sit or walk, we “hear” what they are saying to us and to the world. If you have kids, you may have heard the phrase “attitude doesn’t need a voice!”
No audible words need to tell us when someone is happy, sad, tired, excited, scared or ANGRY. They “speak” to us with their bodies.
The same is true by just looking at the human body as male and female: they are made for each other! The way we were made (equal but complimentary) SAYS something profound about us, it says something about God, and it says something about God and His relationship to us.
Love desires union
To understand being “made in His image” we have to first remember who God is. He’s a loving “Communion”, a union of three Persons who are constantly giving and receiving perfect Love and Life between themselves and who are Love and Life.
God forever loves the Son, Who opens up and receives the Father’s love, and returns it completely and eternally. And the Love that’s constantly flowing between Father and Son is so mind-blowing, so REAL that it is the Third Person: the Holy Spirit!
So God created us in a way that though human relationships we could begin to experience something of that exchange of Love and to truly participate in it.
Imagine a husband, who loves his wife, and longs to give his whole self to her. He woos her, draws her to himself and makes his desire known. If he knows how to love her rightly, she will naturally open up in every way to fully receive him in her mind, heart and body. They express their love in their bodies and they “become one”. Sometimes new life springs forth from their love and is a real, separate person.
Do you see the pale parallel? It’s not that the Trinity is like us…no way! That would be pulling the Creator down to the level of the creature. Rather we are shimmery, pale reflections of that Love and our actions are meant to be lifted up to Him. The one-flesh union allows husband and wife to experience a little taste of God’s love on earth, but to eventually be drawn up into the fullness of it forever in heaven. You might say that when we love in the right way, we get the hors d’oeuvres now, and the full banquet later!
Our Bodies Reveal the Spousal Mystery
TOB points to Scripture and the spousal analogy, where God called Himself ‘Husband’ of His people, and how Jesus came to us as our Bridegroom. That marital image “speaks” of the love God has for mankind.
If you look at a man’s body, clearly he was made for woman.
If you look at a woman’s body clearly she was made for man.
Just like God is for us, and we are made for Him.
The “message” our bodies speak is that we are called to come together in authentic love. We are meant to image the love God has for man, and that Jesus has for His Bride, the Church (every human soul).
The man’s body “speaks” of strength, power, and protection.
God is pure strength, power and protection.
The man’s body contains the seed of life to be given in love to woman.
God is LIFE and in a loving gift of Himself He gives us life.
Man’s body initiates the marital act.
God is the Initiator: He first made us, first pursues us, first LOVED us.
Woman’s body “speaks” of beauty and being desired by man.
God calls all people (men and women) His Beloved and He greatly desires each of us.
Her body has a hidden place to receive Him and His Love and Life
God desires to be fill the interior (heart) of each human soul with the “seed” of life and love
Woman’s body is made to respond, receive, bear and nurture new Life to the world.
God desires that every soul be filled with His love, pour it out on others and nurture it
That’s why God said about Adam ‘it is not good to be alone” because we can only find our true meaning, the deepest fulfillment and the love we seek in being a gift to another the way God is a gift to us. No agendas, nothing held back, forever! Who doesn’t want that kind of love?
Thus, our bodies contain a THEOLOGY, something that is revealed to us about the very nature of God Himself: namely…that in a sense…God wants to “marry us”, give us His name, make us His and fill us with life and love forever.
We can love …or lie…with our bodies
“Theology of the Body” reminds us that what we do with our bodies has great physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual significance. Everything that we do with our bodies is profound and powerful . . . never to be reduced to casual, animalistic behavior.
We can speak the “truth” of God’s love to one another—and be happy—or we can lie with our bodies—and be miserable . . . as divorced people know!
Because marriage is all about a love that lasts, sex should always be ‘marital’: exclusive, faithful, permanent, and life-giving, proclaiming to the world the beauty of the love God has for us.
Our body language in the marital act is supposed to ‘say’ that we love each other as God loves us. If it doesn't, it always—at some level—USES the other person. And that is never, ever “love”.
Outside marriage, sex is never a full giving of one’s person as God fully gives Himself to us. It’s a lie. The body says “I give you everything” but the heart says, “I’m not ready to give you everything, and maybe I never will.” There are limits, conditions and personal protectiveness. It usually includes rejection of the other person’s gift of their fertility. It thwarts the natural desires for total self-giving and thus limits true love. It establishes a pattern of mutual using of one another. It defrauds the persons of the fullness of love for which they were created. It rejects God’s plan. It tells Him “I don’t want to do it your way.” Bad idea.
Inside marriage we can still use each other: it’s a lie to say ‘I love you’ and then demand a spouse look or act a certain way to satisfy lust, to withhold sex, to use pornography, to lust after one another with no regard for the heart of the whole person, or to refuse to stay open to life. More bad ideas. More lies.
But we say: Look to Christ! He came to show you the right way to find what you’ve always wanted! The “Theology of the Body” offers great hope even in a culture of death and divorce.
The TRUTH will set you free
The TRUTH has a name and a face: Jesus Christ. He came to reveal our true nature to us, to call us to go higher than just using each other.
He came to fill us with the “new wine” that will empower us to love as He loves. He ‘spoke’ a very clear message—with no necessary words—when he hung on the cross out of love for us. He still ‘speaks’ that love to us every time we hear at Mass, “This is My Body given up . . . FOR YOU”.
When divorced men and women begin to understand Christ’s words through the Theology of the Body, they can more easily understand what really happened in the past, and then have GREAT HOPE for the future.
We hope you’ll purchase some of the TOB resources offered by Ascension Press so you can discover the joy of SEXUAL FREEDOM: not license to do whatever you want, but freedom to love God's way so that you’ll be rid of the habits that always leads to divorce . . . that constant using and being used. There is another Way.