This is certainly not the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of the annunciation, but 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).
Mary’s fiat marks the exact moment of the Incarnation, the Word Made Flesh. 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 entered 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.
There is a modern sort of dualism these days that suggests that human beings are essentially made up of two separate natures. We have a body and a soul and what we do with one doesn’t necessarily have to do with the other – mostly, what we do with our bodies isn’t nearly as important as our souls or who we are inside.
Case in point: a former priest friend of mine was having a conversation one day with a girl who described herself as an “exotic dancer.” When he asked her how she felt about men using her for their own selfish gratification, she said, “oh, they’re not using me, just my body.” In other words, her body and her stripping had nothing to do with who she was as a person.
But man is an incarnate spirit with one human nature. In his Letter to Families, JP II explains that man
“is a person in the unity of his body and his spirit. The body can never be reduced to mere matter: it is a spiritualized body, just as man’s spirit is so closely united to the body that he can be described as an embodied spirit”
Death may separate the body and soul, but this is not the be all and end all of human life. In just under a month, we will be celebrating the resurrection of the Word Made Flesh, whose conception we remember today. Christ’s Resurrection reminds us of the resurrection of our own bodies at the end of time in which our souls will once again dwell for all eternity!
There is a reason they say “actions speak louder than words.” That is because it is precisely our bodies and what we do with them that reveal “who we are on the inside” and much more!
Today is World Down Syndrome Day, a day to celebrate the lives of those who have an extra 21st chromosome and raise awareness about the “good news” about DS
This year, since I’ve written so much about this topic already, I thought I’d just offer a round-up of some of my favorite articles/posts over the years:
P.S. if you like the image at the top of this post, you can order a copy of it from Kerri Liles Photography. I’ve got one, myself. Just need to find a frame for it.
What’s with society’s split personality when it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Milk from a cloned cow is unnatural and unsafe, but injecting a human being with stem cells from their own (dead) clone is positive scientific progress?
Why are we going to great lengths to regulate and raise awareness about the use of GMO in our food supply, while largely ignoring the genetic modification of human beings?
Rebecca Taylor and I discuss in the latest episode of BioTalk!
Sport doesn’t care what your problem is:
This is a great promo from Samsung for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, which are still going on right now.
Who says you can’t be just as active and athletic with a disability?
Yes, it takes a lot of hard work (does it not when you’re able bodied?). But, you’re only really “limited” by your own lack of imagination, determination and ingenuity.
Life with a disability is not as awful as you might think. Trust me.
Previously: Meet the 2012 Paralympians
Hard to believe it’s already been a year since I wrote this.
“[B]ear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science!” -Pope Francis to Catholic doctors.
‘Viva Papa Francesco!’
So we live in a society where people are wary of eating meat or drinking milk from a cloned cow but support cloning human embryos (using the very same technique) with the hope of producing stem cells for treatments. We as a society are suspicious about genetically modified food but are indifferent to genetically modified children.
What a colossal disconnect! The logic seems to be: GM plants and animals: bad; GM humans: good.
How did this disconnect materialize? Is this yet another manifestation of “reproductive rights” and the abortion culture? Is this the fruit of the modern confusion surrounding our own reproduction? Dogs gestate baby dogs. Horses gestate baby horses. But, as society likes to say, humans gestate “blobs of tissue.” That is, except when the blob of tissue is desperately wanted — then we can go to dangerous experimental lengths to make more.
Read the whole thing. Consider this a sneak preview of the next episode of BioTalk, which we recorded yesterday.
This is a great piece from CBS on comedian Jim Gaffigan about his family life. At the end of the interview Anthony Mason asks Gaffigan if he’s “done” having kids. To which he responds that, because he’s Catholic and his wife is a “shiite” Catholic, “there is no goalie” and he’s, “not opposed to it.”
“I know the positives that I can get from each of my children,” he said. Adding, jokingly, that he also wants to create his own nationality: a country called “Gaffghanistan.”
I love Gaffigan’s brutal honesty when talking about how marriage and fatherhood helped make him a better man. In the CBS interview, he admits to being a “loner” before meeting and marrying “a woman who gets pregnant looking at babies.”
In his book, Dad is Fat, Gaffigan reveals that “Getting married and becoming the father of young children has taught me that I am a narcissist…I lived my life as a single man, and even for a few years into parenthood, just looking out for number one.” As a result, he says, “My perceived needs were all-important.” When it came to his career, relationship, or taking the last piece of pizza, “I was only thinking about myself. And, of course, the pizza.”
But, he found that marriage and children change you. Your spouse and kids draw you out of yourself and put your own wants and needs behind those of your family.
Why have more children?
“Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy. Each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart. I would trade money, sleep, or hair for a smile from one of my children in a heartbeat. Well, it depends on how much hair.”
Gaffigan’s “revalation reminds me of these words from Gaudium et Spes: “[M]an, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”
We may have each been made for our own sake, but we were not made to keep to ourselves and worry about our own wants and needs. We were created for companionship…and love. “Precisely that love in which the human person becomes a gift and — through this gift — fulfills the very meaning of his existence” (TOB 15:1).
For several years now, Wesley Smith has been warning that the animal rights movement is one of the greatest threats in our day to the dignity of the human person.
This was the topic of his 2010 book A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. This month he released a new book on the subject called The War on Humans.
From the book’s description:
The environmental movement has helped produce significant improvements in the world around us—from cleaner air to the preservation of natural wonders such as Yellowstone. But in recent years, environmental activists have arisen who regard humans as Public Enemy #1. In this provocative e-book, Wesley J. Smith exposes efforts by radical activists to reduce the human population by up to 90% and to grant legal rights to animals, plants, and Mother Earth. Smith argues that the ultimate victims of this misanthropic crusade will be the poorest and most vulnerable among us, and he urges us to defend both human dignity and the natural environment before it is too late.
Smith’s book is actually a companion book to the Discovery Institute’s 30 minute documentary of the same name:
I think John G. West, author of Darwin Day in America summed it up quite well, “Our view of the human person — whether we’re unique or not — is important to us not just personally, in our own sense of meaning, but to whether we’re going to have a compassionate society.”
“Part of human exceptionalism,” says Smith, “is that only we have duties.” “If we see ourselves as just another animal in the forrest, that’s precisely how we’ll act.”
The War on Humans book can be ordered, in all its forms, through: http://www.waronhumans.com/
Last week I was on the radio in Lexington, KY talking to Mike Allen about “three-parent embryos” and genetic engineering. Click the play button below to listen. I come on about 15 minutes into the program — in the second segment.
This is serious stuff, y’all! We are on a threshold. Will we move forward in genetically-engineering our children? This move, it is fair to say, will forever change the course of humanity.
As the FDA considers allowing genetically engineered children, I’m reminded of this meme I came across several months ago illustrating the split personality that many progressives have about genetically modified organisms.