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Maria Fedoryka

Theology of the Body as the Foundation of Marriage and the Family


Body-soul relationship The body is in a real sense the person, says JPII. The spirit-matter boundary is compenetrated. This leads to two very important truths. First, the human body is capable of expressing the person. The body is transparent to the intentional reality of the soul. The body is not just biological. It is a constitutive part of the person. Second, this unity implies that the body is not used as an instrument. Rather, the body is used by the person as subject. It is I who am acting and living through my body. Man is a subject based on his own body. The body reveals the vocation of the human person to live love The body reveals the vocation of the person. In masculinity and femininity there is an ordination of man and woman to each other and to the full giving of the one to the other. The body manifests the reciprocity of human persons. Masculinity and femininity serve the cause of an intimate love. The deepest meaning of the body is found in its spousal characteristic. In all this the body is giving the reasons for its existence. Mutual self-giving in marriage is in the spousal relationship. This is also true in virginity. In addition to revealing mans call to love, masculinity and femininity witness to the creation of persons out of love. Vocation to man and woman to spousal love emerges as nding root in trinitarian love. Nature of sexuality in this vocation This is the special locus of this deepest realisation. Masculinity and femininity are inseparable from body. Everything in the human person is characterised by masculinity and femininity, but the sphere of sex gives a special locus. Therefore sexuality is somehow at the very centre of the relationship of human love. The body exists as personal in the body-soul unity. The sphere of sex contains a special intersection of body-soul. We experience this when we say that entering into the sexual sphere is something spiritual. Sex by its very nature is an entirely different bodily act. The conjugal act does not consist in merely physical movements and gestures. As physical, the conjugal act is not complete by itself. John Paul II speaks of embodiment. A spiritual act is made bodily in the conjugal act. If I say rose it indicates something else than e.g. I love you. In sexuality the full meaning is all contained in the act itself. The natural laws that govern sex are very different in their constitution from physical laws. The physical laws of nature are a world apart. This idea is at the centre of TOB. Everything depends on this special nature of the sexual act (says Love and Responsibility). They are determined by a spiritual reality beyond themselves. This is why JPII can say that the inner structures of the spousal act reect masculinity and femininity. It is only because of this that we can speak of TOB. If there were no spiritual meaning to spousal act there could not be a TOB.

Maria Fedoryka

The language of the body The fact that the body and soul are one means that the communion of persons constitutes relationships. Indeed love cannot be expressed without the body. Without this language of the body there is no love. It is not that man as made up of body and soul needs to involve his body in all his acts. In Gods plan it is his spousal self-giving that has its body as its special locus. It is the body as animated by a personal soul, for sure. But its more. Thats why, e.g., consummation is needed to ratify a marriage. Meditation on love The body is constitutive of the gift. How does this shed light on the nature of the union of the spouses. What does the body speak in its language? 3. For the present, however, we are before the threshold of man's earthly history. The man and the woman have not yet crossed it toward knowledge of good and evil. They are immersed in the mystery of creation. The depth of this mystery hidden in their hearts is innocence, grace, love and justice: And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Gn 1:31). Man appears in the visible world as the highest expression of the divine gift, because he bears within him the interior dimension of the gift. With it he brings into the world his particular likeness to God, with which he transcends and dominates also his visibility: in the world, his corporality, his masculinity or femininity, his nakedness. A reection of this likeness is also the primordial awareness of the nuptial meaning of the body, pervaded by the mystery of original innocence. 4. Thus, in this dimension, a primordial sacrament is constituted, understood as a sign that transmits effectively in the visible world the invisible mystery hidden in God from time immemorial. This is the mystery of truth and love, the mystery of divine life, in which man really participates. In the history of man, original innocence begins this participation and it is also a source of original happiness. The sacrament, as a visible sign, is constituted with man, as a body, by means of his visible masculinity and femininity. The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus be a sign of it. Wednesday Audience, 20th February 1980 The body communicates to the world the invisible mystery of God. Man participates in this mystery. This is the mystery of truth and love.

Maria Fedoryka

God IS love. Mutual self-donation. In and through the substantial donation of Father and Son, the love becomes substantial too Holy Spirit. To understand nature of spousal love, we need to look at it as union. Just as integral to union is another element which is the element of fruitfulness. It gives rise to some reality beyond self. The law is the law of superabundance. We experience this especially in spousal love. We see that union and fruitfulness are two dimensions making up the one reality of love. How are they related? Union comes rst from the causal point of view. Fruitfulness is where union of love reaches its completion. Union is itself only when it goes beyond itself. 4. The role of love, which is poured out into (the) hearts (Rom 5:5) of the spouses as the fundamental spiritual power of their conjugal pact, consists as we said in protecting both the value of the true communion of the spouses and the value of truly responsible fatherhood and motherhood. The power of love authentic in the theological and ethical sense is expressed in this, that love correctly unites the two meanings of the conjugal act, excluding not only in theory but above all in practice the contradiction that might be evidenced in this eld. This contradiction is the most frequent reason for objecting to the Encyclical Humanae Vitae and the teaching of the Church. There must be a well-examined analysis, not only theological but also anthropological (we have tried to do this in the whole present reection), to show that there is no need here to speak of contradiction, but only of difculty. Well then, the encyclical itself stresses this difculty in various passages. And this arises from the fact that the power of love is implanted in man lured by concupiscence: in human subjects love does battle with the threefold concupiscence (cf. 1 Jn 2:16), especially with the concupiscence of the esh which distorts the truth of the language of the body. Therefore love too is not able to be realized in the truth of the language of the body except through overcoming concupiscence. Wednesday Audience, 10th October 1984 Union and fruitfulness thus depend on each other. This is very clear from the above reading. 3

Maria Fedoryka

What does this mean for the spousal act? Power for unity is discovered in the spousal unity, because the union is taken up into the soul. This act of love means that the body is the agent of union. Something else is discovered: the bodily act of union is also stamped with fruitfulness. The pinnacle of fruitfulness is the coming-to-be of a new person. This is why children are the crown of marital love. Even if no conception from every act of intercourse, the full meaning is found only in concept of parenthood. The child is not a consequence of the union. Rather, the child stands as an integral element of the love. We could almost say that the child is the spiritual correlate of physical union. Fc: fecundity is fruit and sign of conjugal love... It is in and through the body that this particular kind of love is possible. Earlier we saw that the physical matter of the person is raised up to become personal. Now we see that the body does something similar for the soul. The spirit gains an entirely new possibility because of its connection to matter. Similar thing said in Deus Caritas Est, 5: Each is brought to a new nobility through spirit/soul union. Here, we have found the most foundational reason for God giving man a body. Because of it, man can be a procreator. An angel cannot give a part of its soul to give rise to another creature. We can share part of who we are in the bodily dimension of our being. Insofar as we are our bodies, mother and father communicate themselves. Child is part of their love, substantially. Therefore we need to see family as absolutely part of TOB. Conclusion How do men and women enter into this? The Fall wrecked everything. Sense of that is lost because we have lost touch with our bodies. It is possible for husband and wife to experience subjectively the union of deep fruit of love, says JPII. If conjugal delity resists concupiscence of esh, it realises meanings that are unknown to concupiscence itself. Purifying, deepening and simplifying the relationship. NB marital act is fruitful even if no children. Unity is fruitful just by being unity. Thats what can be said with regard to IVF cases.