Theology of the Body (TOB)
Pope John Paul II left us a brilliant teaching that he called "The Theology of the Body". It could not have come at a better time!
Pope John Paul attempted to explain the mystery of human beings -- why God made us male and female in His image: ". . . let us make man in our image." (Genesis 1:26) God was revealing to us in the very beginning that He is family and that we were made to live in this family image! We were created to be in communion with others! Also, each precious person on this earth is created with a very special dignity.
Depending on the vocation that we are called to depends on how this is lived out.
Since the T.O.B. often refers to human sexuality, many mistakenly think that this is only for married people. Nothing could be further from the truth. The T.O.B. is for everyone -- it helps to answer the deepest questions of our hearts.
"Each of us is a mystery reflecting the mystery of God!"
TOB and the Religious Life
What does the T.O.B. have to do with the Religious Life? A lot!
So many people wonder why a person called to a Religious vocation would want to be chaste.
The answer: because we are head-over-heals in love with Jesus! If He calls a person to this vocation, He not only gives the grace for it, He also includes us in an Intimate Relationship with Himself!
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34:
"I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife--and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit."
There is not enough room here to explain the whole "Theology of the Body". Here are some good websites where you can learn more. Put your seatbelts on -- it's a beautiful and exciting ride!
The Holy Father says,
"Celibacy is the fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body" because the ultimate meaning of the body is to make a gift of ourselves to God. And that is precisely what the celibate person is doing.