• Andrew Comiskey

The Body Makes Visible the Divine: Day 12

'"And God saw everything He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). Man appears in the visible world as the highest expression of the divine gift, because he bears within himself the inner dimension of the gift. And with it he carries into the world his particular likeness to God, with which he transcends and also rules his "visibility" in the world, his bodiliness, his masculinity or femininity, his nakedness. A reflection of this likeness is also the primordial awareness of the spousal dimension of the body pervaded by the mystery of the original innocence.

Pope St. John Paul II

Pope St. John Paul IIThus, in this dimension, a primordial sacrament is constituted, understood as a sign that efficaciously transmits in the visible world the irreversible mystery hidden in God from eternity. And this is the mystery of Truth and Love, the mystery of divine life, in which man really participates. In the history of man, it is original innocence that begins this participation and is also the source of original happiness. The sacrament, as a visible sign, is constituted with man, inasmuch as he is a "body," through his "visible" masculinity and femininity. The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it.'

(TOB 19:3, 4)

St. John Paul II probes the depths of what it means for us as humans to be made in God's image. What does that mean? Among other things, we are a sign of God on the earth. In our humanity, we participate in the divine and thus make known something of Himself. Of course, we are still in paradise here (Genesis 1 and 2)--originally innocent and happy. Let's linger! We expend much time and energy licking the wounds incurred East of Eden (Genesis 3 and so on). St. John Paul II wants us to revel for a while in the garden where we lived as pure reflectors of the divine--luminous in making God known through our visible, bodily selves.

A challenging, provocative thought: God housed us securely and joyfully in our distinctly masculine or feminine frames. He set apart our bodies to be the first temple, or church, or Bible (using Christopher West's words), in that they reveal God. We must envision this. Our integrated frames--at once spiritual and sexual and emotional--exist in the duality of man for woman, woman for man. Eden integrates our longing for human communion with our love for God and our desire to care for the whole of this person. When we dignify the other's 'gift', we magnify the Lord, He whose image we bear in the duality of the two sexes. The unseen God entrusted His human treasure with His revelation, not in spite of our sexual humanity, but through it. Our blessedly masculine or feminine bodies declare the glory of God.

'Help us to linger upon St. John Paul II's words and the paradise they describe. We need a vision for sexual and spiritual wholeness that is as untrampled as possible. We want to live that wholeness--to walk humbly yet confidently in the bodily gift we are. Help us in our unbelief. Free us for a share in this original innocence and its happiness. Help us to be happy about the way our bodies declare Your glory.'


‘Jesus, please confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.’

Desert Stream

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