Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy TOB Day!

Lest there be any confusion, I just coined the phrase, "TOB Day" three seconds ago. It's not official. It's not a Church-recognized feast. It's not going to show up on your calendar. But doesn't it seem like an appropriate day to reflect on many of the key concepts of Theology of the Body? Just to name a few:

  • "Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology -- that is, the science that has divinity for its object -- I would say, through the main door" (TOB 23:3). The Annunciation is the day we celebrate Mary's yes to the Incarnation.

  • Adam and Eve chose to grasp at happiness instead of receiving everything from the hands of their loving Father. Mary, on the other hand, opened her hands to receive all that God had for her. We see this concretely in her "fiat" at the Annunciation. Mary is saying yes to God and saying yes for all of us. She opens a space that allows our own response to God's incredible love. Theology of the Body shows us the greatness of our call to receive ourselves made in God's image and likeness, rather than following the example of Adam and Eve to grasp.

  • The Annunciation shows us the spousal and fruitful dimensions of celibacy for the Kingdom. Mary's gift of self was spousal -- a gift to another -- and fruitful -- a gift that brought life for the world.

We have a lot to learn from our Blessed Mother about how to live Theology of the Body in our daily lives. She is a gift to the world.

Today is a wonderful day to reflect on the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen in "The World's First Love." You can read an excerpt here, but I'd also like to highlight this paragraph:

Every man who pursues a maid, every maid who yearns to be courted, every bond of friendship in the universe, seeks a love that is not just her love or his love but something that overflows both her and him that is called "our love." Everyone is in love with an ideal love, a love that is so far beyond sex that sex is forgotten. We all love something more than we love. When that overflow ceases, love stops. As the poet puts it: "I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more." That ideal love we see beyond all creature-love, to which we instinctively turn when flesh-love fails, is the same ideal that God had in His Heart from all eternity—the Lady whom He calls "Mother." She is the one whom every man loves when he loves a woman—whether he knows it or not. She is what every woman wants to be when she looks at herself. She is the woman whom every man marries in ideal when he takes a spouse; she is hidden as an ideal in the discontent of every woman with the carnal aggressiveness of man; she is the secret desire every woman has to be honored and fostered; she is the way every woman wants to command respect and love because of the beauty of her goodness of body and soul. And this blueprint love, whom God loved before the world was made, this Dream Woman before women were, is the one of whom every heart can say in its depth of depths: "She is the woman I love!"

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