Confession: I am an over-analyzer.
You have been warned.
I find it interesting to ponder the various influences that converge to shape us into the people we are. For me, one of those influences is the Theology of the Body.
I have to confess that I haven’t yet read the body of work–only a book-length summary, which was enough to spark the realization that TOB isn’t just about sexuality. You know that famous quote that says thoughts become words become actions become habits become destiny? TOB is structured around the reality that we have both souls and bodies, and what we do to one impacts the other, whether we intend it to or not.
So faith that is lived in real, tangible ways through our works and our words–in other words, in the body–will grow. Will bring us into closer alignment with God. Will make us clearer images of God in the world.
Likewise, works and words (and attitudes) that stand at odds with the Gospel weaken our faith and dim our ability to reflect God’s image in the world.
In other words: everything we think, say or do either builds up our faith and brings us closer into alignment with God, or it turns us away from Him. There are no neutral actions, and there is no area of our life which is exempt. Whether we are consciously examining our thoughts, words, and actions for how well they reflect the Gospel doesn’t matter. They’re going to have the impact whether we are aware of them or not. Where the body goes, the soul follows–unless the soul consciously, intentionally takes the lead.
This is why I started Intentional Catholic–because it’s so easy to drift through days, following trends and emotions (and political ideologies, and personal preferences, etc., etc.) without examining them in depth for their conformity to the Gospel. If we aren’t intentional about our faith, we unconsciously give power to worldly influences, and we end up farther from God without even realizing it. A perfect example is that U.S. bishops’ quote about unintended bias.
I don’t claim to have everything figured out. In fact, as I said in my very first post, delving into this process made a mess of my neat and tidy world view. I now know that I will spend the rest of my life wrestling, as Jacob wrestled with the angel (read that: God).
But that’s okay. You know how you build muscle? Micro tears. When the body repairs those tears, it does so with extra fortification. Faith muscles are the same way.
I wrote this post because going forward, lots of quotes will be tagged #theologyofthebody, even though they have nothing to do with sexuality. I hope you’ll walk with me through this process of self-examination and conversion. I believe that the more of us who do so, the stronger the Church (and the world) will be.