Write In Between

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Writer's Wednesday-- Luci Swindoll, John Keats

There is so much beauty around us, if we only take the time to notice it. You can make a conscious effort to look for the essence and therefore develop an appreciation for the beautiful things in your life. Your days will seem a lot less harried, I promise you. Beauty has a way of totally capturing our senses, making us forget the fact that the car stalled on the way to work this morning, that the kids spilled chocolate milk on the carpet, that the workload keeps piling up. For a few brief shining moments, nothing else seems to matter. And the wonderful thing about beauty is that we can store it in our minds to be played over and over again.

John Keats captured this idea of looking for the essence in his poem, "Endymion."


[Click on the poem's title to read the entire poem, a portion of which is listed below.]

A THING of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing

A flowery band to bind us to the earth,

Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,

Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways

Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,

Some shape of beauty moves away the pall

From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,

Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon

For simple sheep; and such are daffodils

With the green world they live in; and clear rills

That for themselves a cooling covert make

’Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,

Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:

And such too is the grandeur of the dooms

We have imagined for the mighty dead;

All lovely tales that we have heard or read:

An endless fountain of immortal drink,

Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences

For one short hour; no, even as the trees

That whisper round a temple become soon

Dear as the temple’s self, so does the moon,

The passion poesy, glories infinite,

Haunt us till they become a cheering light

Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast,

That, whether there be shine, or gloom o’ercast,

They must always must be with us, or we die.

There is so much that we take for granted. Our eyes often pass right over beauty as we are caught up in the workaholic, get-ahead rat race of life. But if we LOOK, we are sure to find beauty...

----Luci Swindoll, You Bring the Confetti, God Brings the Joy. (This title is over 20 years old, and it still bring me such joy!)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 27

Something old....

"The obedience of faith" (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) "is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals," and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving "joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it." To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts.

----Dei Verbum, from the Second Vatican Council.

Something new....

Surgeon tells of healed baby, crucial miracle for Malta's first saint.


Looking for another on-line Catholic Encyclopedia beside the one at New Advent? Go here and bookmark it!

Something borrowed....

From the folks over at Catholic Exchange come two fine articles this week...

Came across this nice piece of apologetics from Mark Shea regarding Muslims and their faith in the One God, how it is alike Catholic belief in its orientation, and how it is differs from the fullness of Catholic understanding.

And this one on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Teresa.) I highly recommend it, especially if you are a mother.


This week we are in the middle of the novena to the Holy Spirit. But you can prepare for Pentecost and catch up: click here.

Something blue....

Book suggestions on Mary for your devotional reading--while it's still May!

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reminders of why we have to push back the darkness...

Women bloggers can be great sources of information for one another. Just like a close pal would send me an email or phone up with something important to bring to my attention, I feel women who post useful information for their "girlfriends" (with apologies to any menfolk reading this post today) in cyberspace are just as helpful.

Today I bring posts from two other Catholic women, and they are not the happy, inspiring kind... they are the kind that bring about a righteous anger.

Read this great post about the latest suppress-your-period drug that might as well suggest that we women stop being who we are in all our fullness.

And why we are popping pills to deny our feminine gifts, why not take steps to weaken the next generation as well....? (Forgive my sarcasm.) More reasons why we should take a stand against this HPV vaccine that government bureaucrats what to foist on our daughters through mandated vaccines.

Let us not be put off, let us work to change the culture around us, as we strive to be lights that push back the darkness.

Let us pray.

HAIL! MARY! full of GRACE, the LORD is with you, BLESSED ARE YOU among WOMEN, and BLESSED is the FRUIT of your WOMB...

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Gail MacDonald

Seeking solitude and silence

The ancient Desert Fathers used to commit themselves to a disciplinary creed: silence, solitude, and inner peace... Only after adequate amounts of time listening did they consider themselves ready to speak...

Among many Christian women today, there is a strange sort of logic that suggests that spiritual resource and renewal are found in constantly seeking new voices, attending more meetings, listening to incessant music, and gathering to exchange half thought-out opinions. How often do we fall into the trap of believing that God is most pleased when we have maximized our information, our schedules, our relationships?...

Disengagement means silence before God, first of all. It is a time of heavenly discussion during which we listen more than we speak. And silence demands solitude.

-----Gail MacDonald, High Calling, High Privilege

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Support Bishop Vasa's project!

In recent years, I've become acquainted with Bishop Robert Vasa, shepherd of the Diocese of Baker, OR. Our correspondences were an exchange ideas regarding the TAT program (Talking about Touching) currently being used in the Boston area Catholic schools and parishes, as mandated by Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children, distributed by the US Catholic Bishops. More specifically, we discussed how to find or create alternative programs that would meet the mandate, but be better grounded and formulated in Catholic ethics and practice and, therefore, better suited for our Catholic life.

Last year, you may recall, the Catholic Medical Association released their task force report that recommends the discontinuation of "child empowerment programs" (such as TAT) in favor of programs that empower parents to live their Catholic call more fully as the primary educators of their children. (For more detail, read the executive summary of that report

Bishop Vasa has been a tireless voice both locally and nationally on this subject (for his take on things, read his columns here starting with this one.)

Now he is championing a Catholic program that meets this need. He recently contacted me with the email below. He has given me permission promote his message to interested parties who may lend their prayers and financial support to such a project.

Kindly read his letter below, pray for the project, and if your so inclined, send a generous donation to this address:

Diocese of Baker
P.O. Box 5999
Bend, Oregon 97708
Make checks payable to Diocese of Baker - Safe Children Project.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 6:47 PM
Subject: Message from Bishop Vasa regarding Safe Environment Programs

Office of the Bishop
BOX 5999
Telephone (541) 388-4004 FAX (541) 388-2566
E-mail BpVasa@DioceseofBaker.org

Dear Friends:

It has been a while since I corresponded with you regarding the Safe Environment Programs which are being used throughout the Dioceses of the US. I write to give you an update, offer some hope and ask a favor.

UPDATE: In the Fall of 2006 the Catholic Medical Association issued a Report titled: To Protect and to Prevent: The Sexual Abuse of Children and its Prevention. This Report is available for purchase on the CMA website: Cathmed.org. One of the recommendations of the Report was: “ We recommend that the energy and resources now directed to child and adolescent empowerment programs be refocused on the development of programs to assist parents in being the primary educators and protectors of their children.” As you can imagine this recommendation has not been accepted or acted upon by the producers of other Child Protection strategies.

HOPE: It does not appear that others will engage in the recommended work. Thus, I have been working with a small group of dedicated Healthcare Professionals and Priests to fulfill this recommendation. We have studied the issues more thoroughly and have been engaged in formulating the script and format for a 6 hour video series focusing on strengthening and reinforcing good parenting as a primary way to assure the safety of children. The proposed title of our effort might be something like: Strong Families: Safer Children. While it may be that our program will not be adopted by Bishops as the only mechanism for fulfilling the requirements of Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children it is our hope that at least some Bishops will adopt this program as well as many priests in a variety of Parishes and that the families therein will be able to benefit from it.

FAVOR: It is our goal to make this Program and its associated training material available at very reasonable rates to any who desire it. While we are non-profit, the truth is that even non-profits have expenses. It is estimated that it will cost more than $100,000 to film, edit and produce the series. Most of the participants are donating their time and expertise but some folks make their living doing the logistical work and these have a right to proper payment. The favor: Please consider donating $100 or more to this project and consider sending this email to any and all whom you believe might be interested in promoting this initiative. We have a few individuals who have pledged $5,000 and $10,000 to this work but that covers less than half of the projected initial costs. Your grassroots contribution will have a very definite effect upon the progress and promotion of this important work. I cannot promise but I would guess we may be able to send a complimentary copy of the DVDs and the workbook, once the product is complete, as a token of appreciation for your charitable contribution.

Until further non-profit status is established donations may be sent in care of the Diocese of Baker, P.O. Box 5999, Bend, Oregon 97708. Make checks payable to Diocese of Baker - Safe Children Project. Each donation will be receipted as a charitable gift and all donations will be carefully restricted for application to the costs of creating and administering the Safe Children Project. Neither I nor the Diocese of Baker will personally benefit from these contributions.

I am very grateful for your concern and for you interest in this very important matter which so dramatically touches the delicate hearts and souls of our children. If you are unable to contribute I certainly understand but ask instead for your devoted prayers.

Gratefully yours in Christ Jesus,

+Robert F. Vasa
Bishop of Baker

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 26

Something old....

On the Ascension of Jesus into heaven....

Forty days after the Lord's resurrection--and this fortieth day is not without mystical meaning--having eaten with his disciples, the benign Master climbed the Mount of Olives; and while they looked on, he lifted up his hands and was borne into heaven, and a cloud engulfed him as he ascended, and he hid himself from the view of men.

And so ascending on high, he led captivity captive (Ps. 67:19, cf. Mich 2:13); and with the gates of heaven now open, he made a way for his followers and led the exiles into the kingdom. He made them fellow citizens with the angels and the members of God's household (Eph. 2:19). Thus he repaired the fall of the angels, increased the honor of his eternal Father, manifested himself in triumph and proved that he is the Lord of Hosts.

While the angels sang and the saints rejoiced, the God and Lord of angels and men ascended...

so that, seated at the right hand of Majesty, he might show to the glorious face of his Father the scars of the wounds he suffered for us.

-----St. Bonaventure, The Soul's Journey into God.

Something new....

Benedict XVI's new book is launched!


Recently, I told you about Catholic Exchange's DVD project: Champions of Faith. Let me reiterate, go buy it. I watched it this week and was moved by these grown men, professional baseball athletes, sharing their story of Catholic faith.

Something borrowed....

Boston's Cardinal, His Eminence, Sean O'Malley, recently traveled to Lourdes with the Order of Malta. Read his commentary and see great pictures on the Cardinal's blog.

The most delightful pictures of the joys of first communion, children's performing in costume for a theatrical performance, and the life of a homeschooling family are found here on Cottage Blessings. Thank you, Alice, for sharing them all with us through your delightful blog!

If you are a U2 fan, you might be interested in this interesting piece by Christopher West, who explores recent lyrics written by Bono, in light of "Theology of the Body."

Powerful story about foreign adoption and disabilities, here, courtesy of Feminine Genius.

Something blue.....

Okay, so here's a new angle... how Mary's influence in cyberspace is a form of mothering us mothers who, in the modern age, connect to each other via our internet surfing! (Special thanks to Dr. Virginia Kimball for the little plug of this blog, too!)

Here's a thoughtful reminder from Patrice's Spiritual Woman blog.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- St Louis de Montfort

What a wonderful writer's prayer....

Accept, my loving Lord,
these humble words of mine as though
they were a masterly discourse.
Look upon the strokes of my pen
as so many steps to find you,
and from your throne above
bestow your blessings and your enlightenment
on what I mean to say about you,
so that those who read it may be filled
with a fresh desire to love and possess you,
on earth as well as in heaven.
---- St. Louis Marie de Montfort, Love of Eternal Wisdom.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mush for brains

I'm writing this as an end-of-semester bleary-eyed refugee from the finishthe20pageresearchpaperandstudyforareallyhardfinal zone...

I have mush for brains. I've been in lockdown study mode for days, but now I'm finally done with my latest course. Today was my weekend, or so I told my son, who innocently asked if I could relax now. Not when I am looking down on the stack of books for the two courses I am to take this summer starting tomorrow. Did I mention I have mush for brains? What I need is a vacation, but what I've got is just more schoolwork to gear up for.

I am in that weird place where someone begins to ask, what is this all about? what am I doing here? whose idea was this, anyway? and the ultimate dubious inquiry, "will I make it???" Unfortunately, today, I'm not sure I have the fortitude to answer those questions. I am too busy longing for a simpler life.

Today I was counting up the credit load I still need to graduate at this time next year. Note to self, never do that when one is hormonal.

I don't really want to complain. This path is one of my choice. No one is forcing me to do this. So many would love to be in my shoes. And yes, I am so grateful for the opportunity to study this subject (theology) and to grow in new ways --even at my age. But honestly, today, I'm feeling a little road weary. The way seems blurry and I'm having trouble picking up the trail that I was on.

Lord, have mercy on the middle-aged grad student who keeps losing her reading glasses, and falls asleep on a good book, and needs to improve her typing skills so she can hand in her homework on time! Remind me now and then that you have ordained this path for me. Keep me smart enough to pass my exams and humble enough to be awed by the gift of knowledge of You, Your Word and Your Church, for the sake of the Kingdom....

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!
St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of scholars, pray for us!

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just in time for Mother's Day

Give your mom a Catholic women's magazine that you can heartily endorse! Click here to order Canticle Magazine. (And why not treat yourself while you're at it??)

Order one or more subscriptions to Canticle before June 10 and receive one dollar ($1) off each subscription ordered! When you place your order, mention code SC07 to receive the discount.

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Writer's Wednesday (on Thursday) - Pope John Paul II

(Of course, being a writer was just one aspect of Pope John Paul's saintly life, but I was struck by the simplicity and enormity of this prayer all at the same time.)

(And yes, I'm a day behind blog-wise as I've been out driving on a 1000-mile journey out of town retrieving my son from college. I'm studying for a final that I'm preparing for on Monday, so it'll be a few days before I return, so let us pray together, with and for one another, until next week...)


Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother.
Live in me. Act in me. Speak in and through me.
Think your thoughts in my mind. Love, through my heart.
Give me your dispositions and feelings.
Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus.
Correct, enlighten and expand my thoughts and behavior.
Possess my soul. Take over my entire personality and life.
Replace it with yourself.
Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving.
Pray in me and through me.
Let me live in you and keep me in this union always.

----– Pope John Paul II

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol.25

Something old....

The good devout man first makes inner preparation for the actions he has later to perform. His outward actions do not draw him into lust and vice; rather it is he who bends them into the shape of reason and right judgement. Who has a stiffer battle to fight than the man who is striving to conquer himself.

-----Thomas a Kempis, German mystic & author (1380 - 1471)

Something new...

Lisa over at CatholicMom has made a great recommendation--tune in to "That Catholic Show" a dynamic new podcast! You'll find all the links here courtesy of Lisa's blog!

And just another plug for CatholicMom.com and all it's good stuff, like weekly lesson plans!


Great new product out: A DVD called The Catholic Mass.... Revealed!" Check it out.

Something borrowed....

Fr. Jim over at Dappled Things has a thought-provoking article for any and all who are being confirmed this season, and for all the likes of us who believe that religious education/instruction and sacraments are not akin to getting your passport stamped....

Something blue....

I recently had a vibrant conversation about women in the field of theology (to which I aspire) with Dr. Virginia Kimball, a Mariologist who teaches at both Merrimack and Assumption Colleges here in Massachusetts. Dr. Kimball's latest article on Mary and the birth narrative of Jesus contains probing questions for theologians to ponder. Read it here, over at catholicweb.com.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

God's Original Love Story: In the Beginning

The third article in a series on “Theology of the Body.”
To read the first article, go here. To read the second, go here.

There’s nothing more enjoyable than when we gather around a family photo album to enjoy a session of “remember when?” Years ago when my wedding album would come off the shelf, my small children would marvel at Mom and Dad all dressed up and posing with their relatives. Inevitably, a little one would ask: “where was I, Mommy?” I would then explain to that in the beginning of our marriage they were not born yet, but God had a great plan for them to become part of our family in the years to come. While our family’s love story began before their birth, the joys and blessings found in that early beginning served as a template for the loving family heritage that grew with the birth of each child.

In the same way, our understanding of the theology of the body requires a retelling of the love story between God and us. We’ve got to uncover the pre-history, the original plan, the heavenly template, that God had in mind long before we arrived on the scene.

To find the true meaning of the body and sex—we need to probe the depth of God’s plan for our lives, from the beginning. We must, in some way, recapture our loving heritage by turning to these beginnings.

Jesus mentions this beginning when he replied to the Pharisees regarding marriage and the Mosaic Law that permitted divorce: “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Mt 19:8). Jesus boldly stands for the Father’s original plan.

Taking a cue from Jesus and the gospel, Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body reexamines God’s plan by delving deeply into “the beginning”: the biblical account of Adam and Eve in Genesis. Through it, we discover the meaning of love, marriage, the body, and sex, as God intended it—before sin entered into the Garden, and before we had to live with the consequences.

A rereading of the first two chapters of Genesis provides the context of original innocence for first man and woman. According to John Paul II, we have “echoes” of that experience our lives, even though sin has entered the world.

Three original human experiences—solitude, unity and nakedness—belonged to Adam and Eve, and, John Paul II says, they “are always at the root of every human experience… They are, in fact, so intermingled with the ordinary things of life that we do not generally notice their extraordinary character.” (General audience, Dec. 12, 1979.) These experiences define us as human persons. Let us explore them now.

Original solitude
Christopher West, in his book, Theology of the Body for Beginners helps us understand original solitude:

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help fit for him’” (Gn 2:18). The most obvious meaning of this “solitude” is that the man is alone without woman. But the Pope mines a deeper meaning from this verse. This creation account doesn’t even distinguish between male and female until after Adam’s “deep sleep.” Here Adam represents all of us—men and women (adam in Hebrew means “man” in the generic sense). Man is “alone” in that he’s the only bodily creature in God’s image and likeness. Man is “alone” in the visible world as a person.[1]

Adam is most definitely different from the animals. In naming the animals, the man discovers he is different from them both in body and in self-governance. But more importantly, Adam has human freedom. His mind and will allow him to be self-determined. Indeed, he is a self, and as yet, he is the only one created in God’s image.

West continues:
Why was Adam endowed with freedom? Because Adam was called to love, and without freedom, love is impossible. In his solitude, Adam realizes that love is his origin, his vocation, and his destiny. Unlike the animals, he’s invited to enter a “covenant of love” with God himself. It is this relationship of love with God that defines Adam’s “solitude” more than anything else. Tasting this love, he also longs with all his being to share this love (covenant) with another person like himself. This is why it’s “not good for the man to be alone.”[2]

John Paul says, “The body expresses the person.” (General Audience, October 31, 1979). This solitude allows for the discovery of personhood. We see this in little babies all the time. As they grow and discover and use their bodies, they are able to express their personhood better. The relationships they have with others deepen. Their experience of human freedom also grows and allows them to eventually choose for good or for evil.

In the experience of solitude, a person discovers the two-fold nature his vocation: to love God and others. We are made for something more than ourselves.

Original unity
Upon seeing the creation of woman, Adam declares, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” (Gn. 2:23). For this new body (Eve) reflects and expresses a person, whose two-fold vocation is also to love God and love another. Both man and woman share a common humanity that is made in the image and likeness of God.

The unity and union of man and woman overcomes solitude. Recall that, in the theology of the body, the human body is capable of making visible what is invisible. It can reveal divine love. The Catechism states: “in marriage, the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and a pledge of spiritual communion” (CCC 2360). This communion of persons is true unity.

West, again, expounds:

Becoming “one flesh,” therefore, refers not only to the joining of two bodies (as with animals) but is “a ‘sacramental’ expression which corresponds to the communion of persons” (General Audience, June 25, 1980)… The human body makes visible the invisible mystery of God who himself is an eternal Communion of Persons; of God who himself is love.

Here the Pope presents a dramatic development of Catholic thinking. Traditionally theologians have said we image God as individuals, through our rational soul. This is certainly true. But John Paul II takes it a step further when he states: “Man becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion.” In other words, man images God “not only through his humanity, but also through the communion of persons which man and woman form right from the beginning.” He even says that this “constitutes, perhaps, the deepest theological aspect of all that can be said about man.” Finally, he observes that on “all this, right from the beginning, there descended the blessing of fertility.” (General Audience, Nov. 14, 1979). [3]

Here, as we’ve seen before, the greatest dignity of marital love is in imaging the Trinity and becoming co-creators with God the Father in creating new life!

Original nakedness
Of the three—solitude, unity and nakedness—this experience of original nakedness is, perhaps, the hardest one for us to take in. So many of us suffer from sinful distortions our culture has taught us regarding sex; our minds often attach experiential baggage to the words we read. But, once again, we’re asked to go back to the beginning, to try to see with new eyes, to find the “echo” of this original innocence.

Returning to Genesis we read: “The man and the woman were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gn. 2:25). How many people reading passage relate to it as exactly the opposite? Well, John Paul II knows this but goes on to say that we must understand this idea of original nakedness, for it is “precisely the key” for understanding God’s original plan for human life.

West helps to interpret:

[How] can we understand original nakedness when we…have no direct experience of it? We do so only by contrast; by looking at our own experience of shame and “flipping it over.”

A woman doesn’t feel the need to cover her body when she’s alone in the shower. But if a strange man burst into the bathroom she would. Why? The Pope proposes that “shame” in this sense is a form of self-defense against being treated as an object for sexual use… [not] meant to be treated as a “thing”… Experience teaches her that men (because of the lust that resulted from original sin) tend to objectify women’s bodies. Therefore, the women covers her body not because its “bad” or “shameful.” She covers herself to protect her own dignity from the stranger’s “lustful look”—a look that fails to respect her God-given dignity as a person.

Take this experience of fear (shame) in the presence of another person, “flip it over” and we arrive at Adam and Eve’s experience of nakedness without shame. Lust (self-seeking sexual desire) hadn’t yet entered the human heart. Hence, our first parents experienced a total defenselessness in each other’s presence because the other’s look posed no threat whatsoever to their dignity. As John Paul poetically expresses, they “see and know each other…with all the peace of the interior gaze….” They saw God’s plan of love (theology) inscribed in their naked bodies and that’s exactly what they desired—to love as God loves in and through their bodies. And there is no fear (shame) in love. “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18.)

A proper understanding of original nakedness leads us to the truth about God’s original plan for our lives: the creation of sexual desire was not a bad thing, but a good thing—something God intends us to use so we can love as He loves. Finally, according to John Paul, such awareness allows Adam and Eve to love fully with the “freedom of the gift,(General Audience, Jan. 16, 1980).”

West writes:

Only a person who is free from the compulsion of lust is capable of being a true “gift” to another. The “freedom of the gift” then, is the freedom to bless, which is the freedom from the compulsion to grasp and possess. It is this freedom that allowed the first couple to be “naked without shame.”[5 ]

So to what is the benefit to knowing these ideas about original solitude, original unity and original nakedness?

First, we learn that God is the creator of sex; it is designed by Him and it is good. This teaches us about our own goodness, our own dignity.

Second, it gives us a radical new context for understanding the power of Christ’s redemption in our lives, especially, our sexual lives. We must understand that modern society’s view of human life and love has distorted what God ordained from the beginning. But thanks to the salvation won for us in Christ Jesus, we can “return” to knowing God’s plan and attempting to live it out by the grace Christ gives us. The Catechism reminds us: Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. (CCC 2336).

And again,

By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, [Jesus] himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. (CCC 1615).

Third, we learn the sublime “nuptial meaning of the body”: the body that is capable of expressing love, whereby one person becomes a gift to another, by making a sincere gift of self, and by becoming this gift, fulfills the meaning of being and existence. And when such a gift is mutually given and received, a third being proceeds from such a union.

One last quote from West:

When we have the purity to see it, this is what the human body teaches us. The nuptial meaning of the body (that is, the call to love that God inscribed in our flesh) reveals what Vatican II describes as “the universal call to holiness.”[6]

Let us turn back to God’s original ideas. Let us make the journey, with the help of Christ, to renew our sexual lives, and to grow in holiness. For God’s love story is our love story.

©2007 Patricia W. Gohn

[1] Christopher West. Theology of the Body for Beginners. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2004. p. 22.
[2] Ibid, p. 23.
[3] ibid.,p.25
[4] Ibid., p. 27.
[5] Ibid., p. 27-28.
[6] Ibid., p. 30.


Our next topic in this series will probe the call to holiness and a good moral life.

For more detailed presentation of the themes explored in this article, see chapter two of Christopher West’s book, Theology Of The Body For Beginners .

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- St Therese of Lisieux

One day, Leonie, thinking she was too big to be playing any longer with dolls, came to us with a basket filled with dresses and pretty pieces for making others; her doll resting on top. "Here my little sisters, choose; I'm giving you all this." Celine stretched out her hand and took a little ball of wool that pleased her. After a moment's reflection, I stretched out mine saying: "I choose all!" and I took the basket without further ceremony...

This little incident of my childhood is a summary of my whole life; later on when perfection was set before me, I understood that to be a saint one had to suffer much, seek out always the most perfect thing to do, and forget self. I understood, too, there were many degrees of perfection and each soul was free to respond to the advances of Our Lord, to do little or much for Him, in a word, to choose among the sacrifices He was asking. Then, as in the days of my childhood, I cried out: "My God, 'I choose all!' I don't want to be a saint by halves, I'm not afraid to suffer for You, I fear only one thing: to keep my own will; so take it, for 'I choose all' that You will!"

-----St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul.

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