“The body, and it alone is capable of making visible what is invisible, the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the invisible mystery hidden in God from time immemorial, and thus to be a sign of it.” – John Paul the Great
It’s nearly Christmas, which is not a normal holiday in any sense. It’s a Christian holy day centered around the fact that we believe God himself (being itself) became man as a means to bridge an incredible divide. Approaching Christmas, I’m thinking of Christopher West’s introduction to Theology of the Body, which I started reading recently. What is this fascination with the person of Jesus? John Paul answers:
“The fact that theology also includes the body should not astonish or surprise anyone who is conscious of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation. Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology…through its main door.”
Our being, our existence—these things are proof of a mystery of the universe. The mystery of the universe, which is so fundamental that not even research into the origins of time itself provides intelligible conclusions. But perhaps there’s another way—through an investigation into our own bodies. I think Theology of the Body is uniquely appropriate to Christmas for the reasons Christopher West lays out:
“It’s not only a response to the sexual revolution, it’s a response to the Enlightenment. It’s a response to modern rationalism, Cartesian dualism, super-spiritualism, and all the disembodied anthropologies infecting the modern world. In short, the theology of the body is one of the Catholic Church’s most critical efforts in modern times to help the world become more ‘conscious of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation’—and, through that, to become more conscious of the humanum, of the very purpose and meaning of human life.”
It’s at Christmas (even more than Easter, I think) that we are presented with a specific, scheduled event inviting us to consider the fundamentals of our lives. If it’s true that we’re proof of a mystery, how is our personal investigation coming along?