Episode 39 – Men & Women are from Eden By Mary Healy – Book Study Part 1

Chapter ONE: Back to the beginning

Mary Healy points out the John Paul II begins his ToB by going back to the beginning. What does this mean? For JPII, who the human person is and how we’re meant to relate to each other is a question answered in the creation narrative. God made us for each other, and enabled the relationship between man and woman to be one which communicates grace. For this reason, JPII call mariage a primordial sacrament, because although the sacrament of marriage didn’t exist then as it does now, the fact is the the relationship between Adam and Eve was one which communicated grace to each other, in a bodily fashion. Thus Jesus in Matthew 19, refers to the beginning to describe what marriage is meant to be like, and in so doing He raises marriage to the level of a sacrament as we know it today.

In the beginning we were made in the image of God

What does this mean? God has put something of Himself into us! 

The significance of complementarity and what culture has missed P13

What JPII is really getting at in ToB is answering the question, who is man in the light of God the Word made Flesh. For him that means who are we body-soul composites. The body matter. Mary Healy seems to think, and I agree, that much of our modern problems with sensual indulgence is actually the result the hangover of Manicheism,  a heresy which essentially said that ‘all matter, (including the body) is evil’ (she doesn’t say it exactly, but then she does). The most obvious expression of this is puritanism (very destructive in its own right). But another form, perhaps more subtle in our present culture is the glorifcation of the body rather than person. It essentially says:

The body doesn’t matter. I can do what I want with my body.

In other words, the body becomes dissasociated from the person, and so the body becomes the object which is either glorified or despised, on the basis that “it’s mine and I can do what I want with it”. It becomes the object through which I express myself and thus a perversion of the sacramental relationship that exists between the soul and the body. 

Made for union:
“The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God.”

saint john paul ii (jpIi)

Chapter Two:

Original Humanity

Original Solitude: Adam is alone before God, he is aware of his uniqueness. When JPII talks about original solitude sometimes people respond with “Yeah but he had God, so he wasn’t alone.” Fair point. He is in solitude with God and in relationship with, however he is also alone with God…why? Healy makes the essential point that Genesis uses mythic language to reveal sacred truth. The revelation Genesis (Chapter 2) makes is the God made man uniquely. He made him for complementarity. Woman was not an afterthought, as some might present Genesis. Rather both man and woman are an essential aspect of the human person’s self-understanding. Thus God says ‘It is not good for man to be alone’. 

Consumer society

In a consumer society, we must remember to enter into solitude with God.

Original Unity: The recognition and resolution of this solitude brings about a one-flesh union. Human complementarity – bodies made for complementarity. Thus our capacity for union is essential to who we are, its not something accidental or incidental. This complementarity is an expression of the love we’re made for and further proof that we’re made in the image and likeness of God – God is literally a communion of persons. This is the nuptial meaning of the body – Man is called to self-giving love, just as God communicates himself in the trinitarian processions, so man is called to give himself to another, this self donation is made in and through the body. The body is not merely the instrument of this self-donation – rather it is an intricate part of our personhood, and thus enables us us to express our ‘who’ in a meaningful and loving manner. 

The deep sleep analogy.

Freedom to give of oneself. 

Original Nakedness: Man and woman were naked and without shame. The human body is not shameful — it’s beautiful, because the body is part of someone. It is an essential part of the human person. The gaze of love, of selfgiving meant no shame.

The need for modesty – Two extremes – Sexually appealing or confident (wear what you want, be confident)  – which speaks to a deeper need to be seen as we are. 

Chapter Three: 

The Fall: 

Why would God make man with freedom he could abuse? Because there is no love without freedom. 

Healy makes an important point: This fall is not just a violation of rules. A rule violation makes God sound like the worlds umpire. What has happened is a personal act. An action which violates a relationship. 

Consequences – rupture within the human being. Integrity gone. Inner war. Possiblity of use enters the equation. Naked and ashamed – a shame is which is more than embarrassment – a shame which comes from a state contrary to one’s human dignity.  Contrary to God’s Image and Likeness. Shame can be good however. Protective shame.

Trust and obedience – every relationship needs these two things. 

Rupture between man and God – an inauthentic fear. 

Rupture between persons – the possibility of use. 

TBG (Truth, Beauty, Goodness)

Padre: Went out for tea with some parishioners and heard some of their challenges 6
Stina: Socials – Weekly morning and evening prayers from team

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