This has been my rant for at least a year now, that all high school and youth groups teach the beauty of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Not happening...yet, but it was hilarious that studying the late pope, my oldest daughter's religion teacher assigned her this topic. Well, I am proud to have the permission by her to share her report here on the Pillars. Take a look:
Pope John Paul II gave 129 Wednesday audiences, which were given between the years 1979 and 1984. These speeches were to become the Theology of the body. His reflections are based on Scripture (especially the Gospels, St. Paul and the Book of Genesis), and contain a vision of the human person. John Paul II discusses who man was in the beginning, who he is now, after original sin, and who he will be in the age to come. This subject was very close to PJPII’s heart.
As I read and studied the Theology of the Body, I realized just how well PJPII really did relate to young people and lay people in general. People may have said things like he was old or he was a priest and therefore can’t relate to the youth, but he really did. People who say things like that don’t really understand the person who was PJPII. PJPII did not write the Theology of the Body to be a bunch of rules and regulations, but to answer questions we all have about why things like sexuality and marriage are rules in our faith.
The first part of the T.O.B. is based on the creation stories; this is the little bit of the T.O.B. that I will explain to you. Through the T.O.B. PJPII explains mans purpose by exploring the two creation stories and how original sin altered how we experience life. One of the major things that PJPII discovered in his study of the creation stories was that there were actually 3 original experiences other than the one we all know. Ask what the first original that comes to mind is. The other three originals are Original Solitude, Original Unity, and Original Nakedness.
The experience of Original Solitude happened when Adam realized his difference from the rest of creation. Adam realized that he was the only creature in God’s creation that had a spirit and he was the only one who knew of God. As humans we all have a special relationship with God. This showed Adam that humans where created by God to hold a special position in creation. The more negative side of Original Solitude is that he was alone. This side of Original Solitude ties in with the next original because he realizes that that he is alone and he feels that there is something missing in his life.
The next experience is Original Unity. Original Unity means that Adam realized he wasn’t whole, he knew there needed to be more in his life. When God created gave Eve to Adam he felt whole. God created us to have relationships and he also created men and women to compliment and complete each other. Adam realized that Eve was perfect for him and she completed him.
The last experience is Original Nakedness. In this context nakedness really means freedom. When God first created men, he created us to be able to trust each other. God wanted us to never have to hide anything from one another.
Original sin changed our ability to experience all of these experiences. Since original sin happened people find it harder to feel God in their life and have a good relationship with him. Original Sin also changed our ability to have good and pure relationships. Also we now cannot trust each other enough to be totally open to each other without worrying about being used or lied to.
The theology of the body also covers many other topics that young people have questions about such as healthy relationships, marriage, and contraception.