Everyday my local newspaper quotes a Scripture passage on the top corner of the “Opinion” page. Today’s passage was from 2 Peter:
There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.
These words of Holy Mother Church’s first Supreme Pontiff remind me of what his successor, JP II, says about the language of the body:
When we affirm that the “language of the body” also enters essentially into the structure of marriage as a sacramental sign, we appeal to a long biblical tradition. This tradition has its origin in Genesis 2:23-25 and finds its definitive crowning in Ephesians 5:21-23. The prophets of the Old Testament had an essential role in forming this tradition. When we analyzed the texts of Hosea, Ezekiel, Deutero-Isaiah, and other prophets [see TOB 36:5-37:6, 94:6-95b:2], we found ourselves on the road of that great analogy whose ultimate expression is the New Covenant under the form of a marriage between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:21-23). On the basis of this long tradition, it is possible to speak about a specific “prophetism on the body,” both because we find this ananlogy above all in the prophets and also in regard to its very contents. Here the “prophetism of the body” signifies precisely the “language of the body.” (John Paul II, Gen. Audience of 1/12/83 or TOB 104:1)
The Pope here refers to Ephesians 5 in which St. Paul tells us that when husband and wife come together as one flesh, the language of their bodies is a “great mystery” that is meant to prophesy to the world the union between Christ and the Church.
If we place ourselves in the future-oriented perspective of conjugal consent, which…offers the spouses a particular share in the prophetic mission of the Church handed down from Christ himself, one can in this regard also use the biblical distinction between “true” and “false” prophets. (TOB 106:4).
The body speaks. And just as with verbal speech, we can tell the truth with our bodies, or we can lie. All questions of sexual morality come down to this: Is the act a sign of God’s free, total, faithful, fruitful love or is it not? Masturbation, fornication, adultery, intentionally sterilized sex, homosexual acts: though the world doesn’t seem to have a problem with either one, none of these can claim to portray that image and those who engage in these activities commit lies and falsify the language of the body (TOB 106:3). They can, in a certain sense, be considered “false prophets” who are, as St. Peter says, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. This is not to say that those who prophesy falsely with their bodies are necessarily evil people for all are subject to concupiscence and destined to fall. Nevertheless, their behavior is destructive and they are called, through the grace of God, to repent, turn away from sin and speak the true language of their bodies.
Through marriage as a sacrament of the Church, man and woman are explicitly called to bear witness – by correctly using the “language of the body” – to spousal and procreative love, a testimony worthy of “true prophets” (TOB 106:4)
Says Christopher West:
In order to be “true to the sign,” the spouses must speak as Christ speaks. Christ gives his body freely (”No one takes my life from me, I lay it down of my own accord,” Jn 10:18). He gives his body without reservation (”he loved them to the last,” Jn 13:1). He gives his body faithfully (”I am with you always,” Mt 28:20). And he gives his body fruitfully (”I came that they may have life,” Jn 10:10). —God, Sex, & Babies: What the Church Really Teaches about Responsible Parenthood