Theology of the Body

Archive for the ‘Celibacy for the Kingdom’ Category

Sr. Miriam James Heidland recalls her experience learning about the Theology of the Body at the TOB Institute this September:

The Head and Heart Immersion Course completely blew me away and rocked me to my very foundation. After spending the week immersed in Christopher’s genuine and passionate presentation of John Paul II’s transformational teaching, I am CONVINCED that theology of the body will heal the world. This is because theology of the body reminds us that Christ, the Bridegroom, is the ultimate answer to all the brokenness we face in this world. Christ is the answer to healing hearts, restoring dignity and setting all of humanity free to truly love because Christ is God who is love! The course helped me fall in love with Jesus all over again. I am so excited that “there is always more” with our Lord. I have never felt more strengthened in my own vocation as a Bride of Christ and my call to love.

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A column from Fr. James Farfaglia at Catholic Exchange:

Because of original sin our darkened intellects, weakened wills, and inflamed passions will always move us in the wrong direction. Continual effort is necessary to control the inner movement of our ego and allow the presence of grace to take control of our thoughts, desires and actions.

The battle of the spiritual life might be compared to walking in a river against the current. If we do not continue walking or reaching out toward a rock for support, then the current will most assuredly carry us in the opposite direction.

Any serious discussion about the charism of celibacy or the sacrament of matrimony must take into consideration the seriousness of concupiscence and John Paul II, in his monumental work “The Theology of the Body,” delves into this reality with profound insights for our considerations.

Priests who live out their vocation with fidelity, enthusiasm, and joy should not be surprised that the charism of celibacy does come accompanied by a continual struggle. This struggle is rooted in the human condition.

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PriestsSince today is the feast of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, let’s thank God and pray for those men who have answered the call to freely renounce the gift of self to another person that they might give themselves totally to Christ “for the kingdom of heaven.”

Dear Saint John Vianney,
your childhood dream was to be a Priest, to win souls for God. You endured years of toil and humiliation to attain the Priesthood. You became a priest truly after God’s own heart, outstanding in humulity and poverty; prayer and mortification. Totally devoted to the service of God’s people. The Church has exalted you as model and patron saint of all Parish priests, trusting that your example and prayers will help them to live up to the high dignity of their vocation to be faithful servants of God’s people, to be perfect imitators of Christ the Saviour Who came not to be served but to serve, to give His Life in ransom for many.

Pray that God may give to His Church today many more priests after His own Heart. Pray for all the priests under your patronage, that they may be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd. May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; be examples of humility and poverty; shining modelss of holiness; tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; zealous dispensers of God’s Grace in the Sacraments. May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary His Mother be the Twin Fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.


While Christ reveals to man and woman another vocation, above the vocation to marriage, namely, renouncing marriage in view of the kingdom of heaven, he highlights the same truth about the human person with this vocation. If a man or a woman is capable of making a gift of self for the kingdom of heaven, this shows in turn (and perhaps even more) that the freedom of the gift exists in the human body. This means that the body possesses a full “spousal” meaning. (JP II, 1/16/80 TOB 15:5)

Ok, I’ve gotten way behind on here. First, let’s catch up with the latest from Catholic Exchange’s TOB Channel:

Celibacy and a Healthy Emotional Life – from Fr. Fr. James Farfaglia on the importance of a healthy emotional life for the celibate priest.

Why Sex Sells – from Christopher West on the use of sexual imagery in advertising.

Dear Amy: Advice for the Advice Columnist – from Emily Bissonnette offering some advice of her own.

Life After Birth – from Kevin Whelan on what our time in the “second womb” is preparation for.

On the Father Alberto Cutié Scandal – Fr. James Farfaglia on Fr. Cutie and his dissension from the Church teaching on human sexuality.

It’s Not About Numbers – a column by Joel Haubenreich on the duty and privilege of being co-creators with God.

If You Like it Then You Shoulda Put a Ring on It: from Jenny Senour on cohabitation. Living together is NOT preparation for marriage nor does it indicate any sort of commitment or *real* love.

A column from Fr. James Farfaglia:

I have found through long and difficult experience, that four essential things are necessary in order to live out the charism of celibacy with joy and fidelity. These four things are: 1) a serious spiritual life; 2) total dedication to the apostolate; 3) mortification; and 4) a healthy emotional life.

I have already spoken to you about a serious spiritual life and the apostolate. Let us now continue our discussion by considering the importance of mortification.

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The best place to start here is probably to offer a brief TOB intro for those who may be totally unfamiliar with the teaching. In an easy to read format TOB expert Christopher West offers such an intro in this article in which he answers the questions What is Theology of the Body and Why is it Changing So Many Lives?:

As many people are only now discovering, Pope John Paul II devoted the first major teaching project of his pontificate to developing just such a theology; he calls it a “theology of the body.” This collection of 129 short talks has already begun a “sexual counter-revolution” that’s changing lives around the world. The “fire” is spreading and in due time we can expect global repercussions…

In short, through an in-depth reflection on the Scriptures, John Paul seeks to answer two of the most important, universal questions: (1) “What’s it mean to be human?” and (2) “How do I live my life in a way that brings true happiness and fulfillment?” The Pope’s teaching, therefore, isn’t just about sex and marriage. Since our creation as male and female is the “fundamental fact of human existence” (Feb 13, 1980), the theology of the body affords “the rediscovery of the meaning of the whole of existence, the meaning of life” (Oct 29, 80).

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Other helpful preliminary articles include:
A Basic Theology of Marriage
Celibacy for the Kingdom and the Fulfillment of Sexuality
God, Sex, & Babies: What the Church Really Teaches about Responsible Parenthood
An Education in Being Human