Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reflection on January 27, 1982

We have been looking at Christ words about the Resurrection. We now turn to St. Paul’s words on the same matter. Christ spoke of the Resurrection as a reality, something to believe in when there was a debate about whether it was to happen or not. St. Paul speaks of it as fundamental to belief, “If you do not believe in the Resurrection, your faith is in vain”. The footnotes talk about the groups that Paul was preaching against, those that did not believe in the Resurrection. I thought about what people would think today. I would say that the idea of Resurrection is not one that is strongly believed in. The world culture pushes for the earthly life, this life on earth is all that matters, and there is nothing for us after we die. This body is all that we have. When you look at plastic surgery, extreme diets or athletics, they point to a belief that earthly life is the end to shot for. I don’t believe that means we need to be a slob if you believe in the Resurrection. Health is something that is vitally important to maintain. You are needed to get from point a to b, to raise children and have healthy children. But when the way your body looks becomes more than just maintaining your health and becomes the focus of your life, your focus has shifted from other worldly to earthly, your gaze has lowered and you have forgotten there is more to come after this earthly life.

When I was reading about Paul’s teaching on eschatological man and how it joins with Christ I had 2 thoughts. The first is that he had no Gospels. He had heard the stories of Christ and been taught be some of the Apostles, but he didn’t have them in front of him to read over. And that led me to the second thought in that the revelations given to him were incredible. The Pope is speaking through these talks and faith says that this revelation is to be relied on, and it is complete union with Paul’s writings from 2000 years ago. I was thinking that St. Paul could have given the discourses on Theology of the Body and been pretty close to what SJPII would have said. St. Paul was given an insight into the knowledge of God and then spread it to the world. I wonder sometimes about St. Paul’s writing and how they seem jumbled and confusing. We say the same thing about Revelation because St. John is trying to describe the vision of Heaven in earthly words, an impossible task. I wonder if that is why St. Paul can sometimes be hard to understand. He is trying to describe heavenly revelations with earthly words.

SJPII has talked about the inner innocence we all have still from before the fall. St. Paul seems to describe a similar idea with the “goan” we inwardly have, the piece of us that longs for the Resurrection. Scripture, regardless of who is writing or speaking, once again follows a the same pattern. Innocence, fall, Fallen have a piece of innocence, Redemption, Resurrection brings you back to that innocence in a perfect way.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reflection on January 13, 1982

In Paragraph 3 SJPII points of 4 markers that we have looked at in mapping out this Theology of the Body. 1. God created them male and female. 2. The 2 become 1 flesh. 3. There is fruitfulness in procreation. 4. Have neither husbands or wives after Resurrection. The first three point to the importance in marriage, but the last shows that marriage is only for this world, a sign of what is to come in the next. While I was reading this, I was thinking about the priesthood and the understanding of celibacy. The sacrifice of not being married is one that Catholic priest accept and to many is seen as an unnecessary cost. But, as usual, this is the world looking at only the negative aspect, the thing you lose, the cost you have. In the debates about whether priest should be married or not, there is never usually the discussion of what the priest gains by not being married. Think about what the 4 markers above point to and what marriage is a sign is of. Marriage points to the relationship with God in the end. By sacrificing the sign of marriage here on earth, priest are trying to come closer to God and that relationship we will have after the resurrection, a fuller unity with God. The priest shares the gift of this unity through the graces given through ordination which allows him to bestow the sacraments through the church. Although they sacrifice the act of marriage here on Earth, it is to gain the experience of unity to God while on Earth. We can see it as a lose, and the world does, but think about what they gain, the unity they have, the graces they can bestow.

SJPII takes us back and looks at the importance of the created male and female as individuals. There is an importance there, that each is created in the image of God. The unity we have in marriage and procreation are gifts and experiences to help us further understand the reality that we are the image of God, but each of us as an individual is an image of God. The communion that we seek and are made for that is fulfilled earthly through marriage is fulfilled perfectly through communion with God after the Resurrection.

That inner innocence that has been mentioned several times, that small part of us that is linked back to our original innocence, that is a taste of Heaven as well. That inner innocence is no longer a small part of us but our whole self.

When you think of the indissolubility of marriage and what marriage is meant to be a sign of to the world, you have to ask what type of view of life after the Resurrection do people have when they believe in divorce?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reflection on December 16, 1981

We have discussed a lot about the idea of authentic subjectivity. That is the way we saw things before the fall. It is what we strive for in this worldly life. After the Resurrection, the SJPII says our subjectivity will mature into something new, a perfect subjectivity. In a mysterious way we become one with God yet we will keep all our individuality. We have no marriage then because that is our human gift of self. It is a flawed sign of God’s gift. When we are with God, His gift is perfect and our receiving is perfect. There is no need for the sign of marriage.

I was thinking about the difference between authentic and perfect subjectivity and this is what I came up with. Before the fall, there were still experiences to be had. Those experiences shaped our understanding and therefore our subjectivity. The manner in which we received those experiences was a pure and unspoiled way, so we experienced them as we were created to, thus in an authentic way. When we are united with God after the Resurrection, we will see all things in unity with them. There is no more need to experience things in order to shape our subjectivity; we will experience all things in unity with God. Therefore, our subjectivity will be perfected in union is God.

When you look at a husband and wife living out their call of full gift, you are seeing our Earthly taste of Heaven. That is the importance of marriage. That is why it is to be guarded. That is why its deterioration is so troubling. When we allow the deterioration of marriage, the image and sign we have of Heaven is deteriorated. When the sign we have of Heaven is deteriorated, we lose hope because we lose our image of Heaven, our image of the Goal, our imagination of unity with God. If you tell someone from a broken home that marriage is one of the best images of what Heaven is like, what do you think their image of Heaven is going to be, where is their hope?

This is just a thought for which I have no answer. The words absorbed, union, joined, etc, all have a meaning of adding something. But god is perfect and nothing can be added to Him or taken from Him. If there were anything to add or take, then He wasn’t perfect and hope is lost. How can we be added when being added means God is not perfect? Is it a misunderstanding of adding to? If so, what does being brought into union with God mean? Being absorbed by God? Joining God?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Reflections on December 2, 1981

Being male and female have a specific purpose in our earthly life. We have gone through many of these in reflecting on the importance of experience. How we experience the world, and specifically the opposite sex, has a significant role in how we view ourselves and the world. We are only able to know what it really means to be human by our communication and understanding experiences with the opposite sex. And the obvious use of procreation requires the opposite sex. Being male or female is of vast importance in our understanding of the world. But being male and female will have different meanings and purposes after the Resurrection.

We do not become angels, sorry It’s A Wonderful Life, but we do become like angels. There is a spiritualization of our body and souls. It will put us on a higher realm than anything we can obtain here on Earth. This “higher” version of ourselves is one of the things that Catholics point to when we talk about the Saints and their intersession for us. We believe the Saints have joined God in a special way in the Heavenly banquet. Because of this, they are closer to the “like angels” stage and able to see much more than they ever could as humans. They are able to see us, hear us, and intercede for us to God. They have developed into something that is special and powerful. I don’t understand why this teaching is such a hang up for so many. If it is the idolatry aspect, that is just a misinterpretation of Catholic teaching. We do not worship Saints. We ask them to pray for us, like you would ask your friends and family to pray for you if you were sick. If you are okay asking a sinful and flawed family member to pray for you, why would you balk at asking a person that lived a Godly life and has left this world and is believed to be in the loving arms of the Beatific vision to pray for you.

I wish I knew more about Plato and Aristotle and things of that nature. I obviously skipped out on those types of lessons in college or didn’t retain any of it. When they are discussed, it just feels over my head.

Words I looked up.

Raison D’etre – Reason for Existence

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Reflection on November 18, 1981

I was thinking that the Pharisees might have liked Christ answer because it was in agreement with them, but the footnotes point out that Christ teaching was also at odds with their understanding, so He didn’t make any friends after all.

As I mentioned last time, because Christ is debating against a theology that formed based on a literalist view of Scripture, I wonder if you could use His same comments against those that have the same literalist view of Scripture today. Christ says that they don’t know Scripture. I think it is important to understand what “know” might mean here. There are many Protestants that have large chunks of the Bible memorized and can quote Scripture at the drop of a hat. But does that mean they actually know it? Do they understand what it is teaching? Do they understand what one verse means in the context of all the verses? I believe that you can take any one verse and twist it to mean any one thing you might believe. That is obviously not the point of Scripture. It is meant as a whole, the Word of God is unified, it is complete, it is without error, and it cannot contradict itself. Scripture itself talks about using Scripture and Tradition, so to say that all you need is Scripture, you don’t “know” what it means. The Scripture says you need to take issues to the Church, so to think you can interpret it on your own means you don’t “know” what it means. I think you could use Christ retorts against a Sola Scriptura.

Christ also says that they do not know the power of God. I wonder if it is not so much they do not know the power of God or they have a misunderstanding of their own power. It still boggles my mind that people can think they can read Scripture and come up with their own interpretation and think that it is sufficient enough to guide their lives. They refuse to believe that God would have established an earthly Church that would be there to guide them. I don’t know if this is a lack of belief in God’s power or a inflated view of their own. The two might go hand in hand. It takes humility to allow God into your life, to take control, to guide you. When you are so full of yourself, you really have no room for God, therefore you cannot know His power.

God is God of the living. I was thinking about this. Is God the God of the living because He is outside of time or some other reason? God is outside of time, therefore every moment is present to Him. Therefore, every person that ever was, is, or will be is living to Him. God is not God of the dead, but of the living.

I see a lot of the Protestant ideologies in the Sadducees. Christ says they do not know God, they do not worship the God He comes from, but have created their own god through their misinterpretations. There are some that go as far as to call Protestant heretics or heathens. I don’t know if the god they worship is God or an idol. I think that is a tricky question. I think if you limit their worship to idolatry because what they worship is not God in all His Truth, you are limiting the power of God as well. God can do a lot with the little we give Him. If you go that far with Protestants, you have to go that far with Catholics in name only, you could go that far with sinners in general, which would include us all. There may be some in the Protestant church that rise to a level of being heathen because of their inner motivations, but I don’t think it is a brush you can paint them all with.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Reflection on November 11, 1981

We dive deeper into Christ answer in regards to marriage after the Resurrection. This stems from a battle between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. We see how Christ answers the question, but I was wondering how the Pharisees would have answered it. Did they have an answer to this question? When reading debates between Protestants and Catholics, there are always the “go to” objections they each have for the other and the answers in response, like Jesus having brothers in regards to the virginity of Mary. I wonder if this type of question was a “go to” for the Sadducees when in their debates with the Pharisees about the Resurrection.

I wonder what the Pharisee’s reaction to this answer was. You would think they would be delighted that He was on their side to the debate.

Michelle has never liked this teaching. She has never liked the idea that we are not married after the Resurrection. That is a sad way of looking at it, but I think an earthly way as well. After the Resurrection, we will be closer to all than we have ever been before. You will know your spouse in such a more intimate way than you ever did on earth that there is no need for marriage. It is just something that we cannot comprehend until it happens and because we do not understand it, it makes us question it and makes us nervous.

I look at the Sadducees and see that they have a literalist interpretation of the Septuagint, much like those Protestants that believe in Sola Scriptura. We must look at Christ example in debating them and learn from this. Christ does not talk about something they do not understand, but goes directly to the thing they believe in so much and uses that to debate them. He shows them in the Scriptures that they thought were the only authority that they are misinterpreting it. God of Abraham, etc. God is of the living. He points to the very source they use that they are wrong. We must do the same. When you are debating a Sola Scriptura Protestant, you cannot quote to them from the Catechism. You must rely on Scripture to show them their misinterpretation. The Catechism may lead you to the answer, but you must use what they use to guide them from their error, or you will get nowhere.