Renewed Dignity of the Body: Day 17
‘When the Apostle writes, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God’ (1 Cor. 6:19), he means to show a further source of the dignity of the body, namely, the Holy Spirit, who is also the source of the moral duty that derives such dignity.
What constitutes this source is the reality of redemption, which is also “redemption of the body.” For Paul, this mystery of faith is a living reality, directly oriented to every human being. Through redemption, every human being has received himself and his own body anew, as it were, from God. Christ inscribed in the human body--in the body of every man and every woman--a new dignity, because He Himself has taken up the human body together with the soul into union with the person of the Son-Word. From this new dignity, through the “redemption of the body,” a new obligation was born at the same time, about which Paul writes in a very concise and moving way: “You were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). The fruit of redemption is indeed the Holy Spirit, who dwells in man and his body as in a temple. In this Gift, which makes every human being holy, the Christian receives himself anew as a gift from God.’ (TOB 56: 3, 4)
I love how St. John Paul II, following the clear witness of St. Paul (1 Cor. 6), now unites our fractured bodily gift with the power of Jesus’ blood (‘bought at a price’) and the indwelling Holy Spirit (‘do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?’). In other words, Jesus’ redemption of our bodies now defines our sexual offering more than sin.
TOB puts to death the insidious belief that among the faithful, fallen sexuality prevails over wholeness. Why? St. John Paul II believes in Jesus! He fans into flame the truth that this deeply personal Savior has made us new--more authentic, more true, more honorable than ever. Why did Jesus pour out His blood unto death, if not to break the back of our sexual sins? And why did He rise in the power of the Holy Spirit, if not to raise up our renewed bodily offerings for others? The spousal gift-giving of Eden--that capacity for communion rather than fickle chemical responses--is ours once more. To claim otherwise is to leech the light from Jesus’ Cross.
But St. John Paul II does not stop at our new positional authority. He charges us with a moral obligation. Ok, he says, you have a renewed gift, your dignity restored. Now act like it! Love as a person made new. Don’t just preen in the mirror admiring your ‘gift’--give it! We are once again back to Eden’s edict to lose our self-consciousness by investing in someone else. We find ourselves by loving others. We have a moral duty and must discern what the Spirit is asking of us.
‘Jesus, how can I best glorify You today by offering myself to another? How can I best activate my gift? Please reveal and burn off any strange comfort I derive from defining myself as ‘broken.’ Help me to live responsibly the whole-enough dignity of my bodily gift.’
'Jesus, thank You for confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court, Your bright light in a dismal political season.'