Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The end of Theology of the Body

I've finished Theology of the Body by John Paul II. He writes a fascinating thing at the end. "These reflections do not include multiple problems which, with regard to their object, belong to the theology of the body (as, for example, the problem of suffering and death, so important in the biblical message)." (p. 420) Its amazing to think that after 400+ pages, he's only discussed one aspect of the theology of the body.

The theme of his work is "the redemption of the body and the sacramentality of marriage," which looks at Revelation, Church Tradition and philosophical anthropology to explain the fundamental meaning of marriage and human sexuality and how to live these to the fullest. He looks at Genesis, the Song of Songs, the Sermon on the Mount and selections from Paul to discuss marriage, celibacy, lust, mature fatherhood and motherhood, etc. He finishes by discussing how Humanae Vitae is a culmination of these and of the teachings in the Second Vatican Council.

It would be really interesting to write about the theme of "the suffering and death of the body and the ultimate purpose and destiny of man." I imagine such a reflection would draw from Genesis again, the Exodus, Job, Isaiah (the suffering servant), and the Passion accounts. Lots of important topics and ideas could be discussed: why do the innocent suffer, why does God not punish or relent on punishing the wicked, is there a meaning to human suffering and death, how should human remains be treated, why is resurrection important to the dignity of the human person. I have no idea who would take up such a study (I am so unworthy), but it would be a really great contribution to the Faith.

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