The Annunciation and the Theology of the Body

ChelseaTheology of the BodyLeave a Comment

Though this is certainly not the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of the annunciation, when Mary accepts the message of Gabriel, her fiat, is a yes to God’s plan for her sexuality:

“Mary shows us how to accept the gift of our embodiedness, and this includes the God-given sex of the body. In this it is important to note that Mary’s exemplarity of what it means to accept the gift of one’s body means that the body is not an obstacle to overcome but, rather, a gift to be lived. Mary delights in her body, especially in its God-given sex: femininity. It is precisely in her gift of being a woman that Mary was fashioned and called by God to be the Theotokos [God-bearer]. The gift of her body is exactly what helps her to become the Theotokos. Just think of what would have happened if Mary had rebelled against the gift of her feminine body! We would be in a very different situation today” (Mary and the Theology of the Body, pp. 55-56).

Also, regarding the Incarnation: The basic thesis of JP II’s Theology of the Body is that

“The body in fact and only the body is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it.” (TOB 19:4, Feb 20, 1980)

This became abundantly clear when Christ came into the world to make God visible to the whole human race. In the Incarnation the mystery of God has been revealed in human flesh. For in Christ, “the whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Says the pope:

“The fact that theology also includes the body should not astonish or surprise anyone who is conscious of the mystery and the reality of the Incarnation. Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh the body entered theology…through the main door” (TOB, 23:4 – April 2, 1980)

Vatican II tells us that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light and that Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear (Gaudium et Spes, 22). What God becoming man reveals to us about our bodies is that they are more than just carnal realities. The human body is intimately united to the human spirit and this unity is meant to be a sign in the world of the hidden mystery of God (for more see this previous post).

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