Theology of the What Now?

Blessed John Paul the Great

Today at work we had a retreat day for the freshmen. I do not teach freshmen but since I am part of the campus ministry team I was asked, and happily agreed, to give a presentation on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. This is the same talk, same retreat as last year. In fact, I had to go look up my post from that time to see how I handled it. Looking up old blog posts written by yourself is a useful tool. For instance, I discovered that my timing was WAY off last year. This year, I managed to get the whole thing in to the minute.

Anyway, if you’re wondering… Theology of the Body refers to a major teaching on human sexuality in the context of our sacred theology that was delivered in the form of 129 lectures in the early years of John Paul’s papacy. And I had to condense this for fourteen year-olds. Fun. But I did it. I didn’t even have any awkward moments either. I think they really got the point that our bodies and the gift of human sexuality are wonderful gifts from God and that we must never objectify others and that they need to really become the virtuous young men and women they are called to be. And to think… I got through all of that without ever once mentioning the words pornography or masturbation. Don’t get me wrong. They were just up on the PowerPoint screen behind me. The boy gets points for clever use of technology. The other thing that made it work was that I captivated their attention by dropping pictures of my kids into the slides. “So you see, lust is the selfish and disordered appropriation of sexual gratification. Oh look! Here’s my beautiful daughter holding a baseball bat. She’s saying ‘Listen to my Daddy or I’m going to beat the hell out of you…'” It works. Don’t question the master.

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