Today is the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. May we heed her call to pray the daily rosary, make reparation for sin and live the Gospel of Her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Pope Benedict XVI extolled his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, for introducing the “theology of the body,” as he met on May 13 with participants in a conference organized by the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.
Offering his own reflections on the subject, Pope Benedict noted that with a proper knowledge of human nature “we can understand that our bodies are not inert, heavy material but, if we know how to listen, they speak the language of true love.”
With the Incarnation, the Pope said, “God takes on the body and revealed himself in it.” In his short talk, the Holy Father extended his predecessor’s meditation on the language of the body.
As an anecdotal aside, I was asked, when teaching at a Northeastern seminary, to teach a class on the the "Theology of the Body".
I opted for a focus upon the "foundations" of this particular teaching of Blessed John Paul II rather than the "popular" Christopher West material, which has come under critique and criticism from people such as David L. Schindler, a renowned theologian, and Alice von Hildebrand, a philosopher and wife of the heroic Dietrich von Hildebrand, a man that Pope Pius XII called "a 20th century doctor of the Church".
I am most grateful that Pope Benedict XVI has made the "authentic" teaching of his predecessor a positive thing. Unfortunately this whole issue has become polemical in the last two years because of a lack of proper understanding.
The Incarnation is truly the point of reference. The authentic interpretation of the "Theology of the Body" absolutely must be seen in the light of "The Word made Flesh"; every other interpretation fails when it is grounded in the mere material aspects of human existence. Christ reveals who man is (from Lumen gentium, Second Vatican Ecumenical Council). It is not the other way round. We do not know Who Christ Is from our human experience: He, and only He, reveals who we are. That is fundamental.
There are all kinds of "interpretations" out there...unfortunately, there are those who either dismiss this as some kind of "modernism" or those who try to make the love between man and wife in marriage something it is not meant to be.
Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Revelation reveals to us our inherent dignity, our mission/vocation to a love that is completely self-giving (in marriage or in virginity/celibacy) and He is the only reference-point. Marital union is an aspect of the Sacrament of Marriage; it must always be held within the moral law of God and in the sacred "reserve" of intimacy/secret (as the von Hildebrands emphasize) that upholds both the dignity of the partners and the dignity of the marital union.
The Beautification of Blessed John Paul II is a tremendous moment for the Church. Whether or not some people like it, this man died in the odor of sanctity before the entire world. His obvious suffering, his complete commitment to Christ and to the Church until the very end give a great testament to a life given to God.
His numerous writings, especially the encyclicals, pave the way for the Church in the New Millenium. I had the fortunate grace to study the writings of John Paul II and the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council with teachers who knew how to present the perennial teachings of the Church with the insight and direction that Blessed John Paul II gave.
History will give us the real story. For now, we must attempt to follow Christ in the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI, who is continuing the legacy of his predecessor. Open wide the doors to Christ! Be not afraid!
Thank you, dear Lord, for Blessed Pope John Paul II!
Today, three important things converge: it is the final day of the Octave of Easter, Low Sunday; it is the Feast of Divine Mercy, initiated by Jesus' revelations of Divine Mercy to St. Faustina and confirmed by Pope John Paul II; it is the day of Beautification of the Venerable Servant of God, John Paul II.
The Gospel, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is the "showing" of Jesus' glorified wounds to the gathered disciples...He enters through the closed doors to confirm their faith and to encounter St. Thomas who places his hands in the wounded side and wounds of the hands of His Crucified and Glorified Lord.
It is a great day of rejoicing for the Church, for the world.
The Divine Mercy was a prominent and central focus of the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II. He made present to the world his own encounter with Jesus, the Divine Mercy. Without his intervention, the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the liturgical commemoration of the Divine Mercy on this Low Sunday, the last day of the Easter Octave would not have been.
Divine Providence led the Blessed Pope John Paul II to make this message clear throughout his pontificate.
Jesus, I trust in You!
Could any other message be more poignant, more clear, more necessary in this age of darkness?