The Gospel Truth

Our Soul’s Natural Home | August 20, 2013

In grade school the nuns taught us that our bodies were temples of the Holy Ghost.

I don’t know how many of us really understood what the teaching meant though it did sound really nice to most of us.

I wonder if they even teach that concept in today’s Catholic schools.

Temples for our souls

It probably does work its way into talks on chastity and sex and of course any workshop on late pope, Blessed John Paul II’s theories on the Theology of the Body have to have some allusions to the reverence that we should pay our natural bodies.

Americans love their bodies.  We spend billions every year taking care of them with hygiene and beauty products, gym and spa visits, painful and dangerous exercise routines, vitamins and many other ways of increasing their longevity and to many their immortality.

Look at how many liberals or vegetarians lobby against polluting our bodies and those of others with cigarettes, second-hand smoke, alcohol, fatty foods, bad carbs and even meat.

We glorify our bodies in books, TV shows and photography.

If I see Terry Bradshaw in that weight-loss commercial one more time I will….!!!

Man’s effort to capture God’s creation

Now if the Church could get some of these same people to see the dire effects of pre-marital sex, pornography, marijuana and drug use, reckless driving and alcohol abuse, just maybe they might be able to see beyond the flesh and understand the teachings about the human person.

The human body had been the traditional subject of art for centuries if not millenia.

The nude form, male or female has often run up against censorship.

This negative attitude emanated from the pagan philosopher, Plato who helped establish the duality of man’s body and soul as a principle of Western Civilization.

Once the two were separated philosophically ethical and moral divisions were not far behind.

The Christian religion before John Paul had this strong sense of the body, especially the female being a near occasion of sin.

A source of evil?

Most Platonists and later many Christians acted as if they were uncomfortable in their own bodies, mainly because they believed the souls were made for heaven and the body for the grave.

The early Puritans had an insulting attitude toward the human body that the Bible clearly said was created in the image and likeness of God.

Other philosophies and religious view, like the Jansenists, the thinking of St. Augustine and others inflicted terrible  psychological damage on maturing young people.

Father Robert Barron’s Book Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual master has a marvelous chapter, entitled The Human Body was made for Ecstasy.

Went into the mind of St. Thomas

Father Barron reported that according to Aquinas human beings should make peace with their own bodies and renounce the heretical views of the Puritans and the Jansenist Catholics’ tendency to demonize the body and its pleasures as an evil inimical to the will of God.

The story of Adam and Eve with Eve as the temptress that ruined Paradise for everyone has had a long run among moralists and millions of Catholics and Christians.

Unfortunately thanks to Freud who empathized the mental side effects of repressing normal urges, modern society has gone 100% the other way, mistaking libertinism, promiscuity and license for liberation and freedom.

Too many have followed philosopher David Hume who argued that reason or conscience had to become a slave to the passions.

Our society treats any kind of nudity as a prelude or invitation to sex.

John Paul taught that nudity had it correct places–and that in our minds the human body should be divorced from sex except during those rightful times between husbands and wives.

That’s what has been wrong with our society for so long and the liberals are as guilty as the conservatives in perpetuating these misanthropic and misogynistic views.

ESPN Magazine recently published its new annual body magazine.

The pictures of several well-known female and male athletes—all nude– look and appear like visions from the Parthenon of ancient Greece.

One of my new heroes is golfer Gary Player who was photographed for the magazine.    The Australian Player is 77 years-old and does 500 sit-ups every day.

My new hero

Those who will be shocked by these photos should rethink their attitude toward the human body.

There is nothing suggestive or indecent about any of the photos.

The editors were careful to cleverly block out any sign of genitalia in all their subjects.

In a way this is the only dishonest thing about the issue.

John Paul says that we are all male and female.  Our distinctive sexual organs are an important part of what makes us male or female. They don’t define us as sexual objects but relate to the essence of our personhood.

To him pornography was showing too little,.

The Mets perfect body

In the name of prudence and even modesty ESPN has ironically done that.

I know perfectly well why they did that.   To have followed the pope’s TOB would have invited condemnation. censorship and disdain from the people I described above.

I have to admit that much of the above affected me for much of my early life.

I think my attitude has changed to the point that I see a pretty women, not as an object of sex or any prurient urges but as a beautiful example of God’s creation.

Modesty and chastity  have often argued for keeping the female totally in wraps.

The West has nearly completely rejected that idea well into the 21st century to the disadvantage of women everywhere.

Women now represent little more than commercial objects.

It was these attitudes—a disdain for the human body and the reduction of the person, especially the female person to a sex object that the pope hoped to counter.

 Agnieszka Radwanksa 

Church condemned her naked truth 

The Catholic church in Poland can’t handle the naked truth about tennis star Agnieszka Radwanska.

Shortly after Radwanska’s tasteful and relatively modest photos appeared Poland’s Youth Crusade severed its ties with the fourth-ranked tennis star over her immoral behavior while the hierarchy blasted her for her semi-nude spread.

I find it incredulous that John Paul II”‘s native country and a European country to boot would still hang on to this antiquated views on the human body.

This has seriously contributed to the infantilization of millions of men.

It is these contradictory and warring principles that rob human life of much of its daily happiness.

Aquinas believed that contrary to all this, the soul was most at home in a human body.

The soul and body always belong together and the joys and pleasures of both will be astronomically magnified in Heaven.

Barron says Aquinas also wrote that the sensible delights that come from sexual intercourse was greater in paradise than it is on earth.It is absolutely not the case, according to St. Thomas, that pleasure and carnality are signs of  or inducements to sin.

The truth of the human body

Fresh from the creative hand of God, the human being was if anything, sexier than she is at present.  This is true because sin diminishes some of the sensibility of the body.

Sin has only rendered the bodily passions disordered and hence less intense and less deeply satisfying.

Maybe this is why there always seems to be something missing–a hunger for something more.

That something more is God and the life He has promised us in Heaven is the place where our human bodies  will be returned to us some day.

While the world loves to celebrate the human body never forget that the reason we have such unique bodies is to provide an earthly home for our souls.

When the two are rejoined in heaven—hopefully–at that moment our souls can finally be at home.

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4 Comments »

  1. enjoyed the article, Bill

    Comment by Jim Gavin — August 25, 2013 @ 12:56 am

  2. Eternity in physical bodies has always been a great mystery to me. Thanks for “bubbling up” the discussion.

    Comment by John — August 26, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

    • John—it makes perfect sense to me. Our bodies are the vehicles of our souls. Our spirits are not merely inhabiting them but totally fused with them to the extent that to separate them is to kill the body. What I don’t understand is why do we have to wait until the end of the world for the bodies to rise and be rejoined with our souls? Jesus and Mary’s bodies went directly to Heaven—I am not compares us to them but why the wait? Since there is no time in eternity it is possible that they will not have to wait and that it will be immediate. BB

      ________________________________

      Comment by Bill Borst — August 26, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

      • Bill –
        Jesus and Mary, along with Elijah (and, I think, Moses – but that’s another story) all went up bodily. All I can think of is that to have that done must a great gift. I suppose that their state is what we have called a “glorified body.” Somehow, it is something so special that only a few have exited this world in that state. When Peter, James and John witnessed the transfiguration, they could hardly stand the gloriousness of Jesus, Moses and Elijah. What this is about, I don’t know, I just know the gift is beyond understanding. None of the apostles seem to have received it, nor have any others that we know of.
        The resurrection of the body is going to be so marvelous that we cannot presently imagine it – or at least I can’t. The only thing that does occur to me is that we were, as you would agree, created to be physical beings and so eternity will find us physical. When people say that heaven is our real home, my brow wrinkles because I think we’ll be here, on God’s good earth, enjoying eternity in a physical way. I don’t usually say anything about it because I really don’t understand it.

        Comment by John — August 26, 2013 @ 9:00 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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