The Gospel Truth

Heavenly Bodies

May 15, 2013
4 Comments

In Soul Food, I wrote about both the importance of the body and the soul and how our civilization has for centuries bifurcated the two as some kind of warring entities.

The truth is that they are intricately woven like a fine hand-made or in this case God-make garment.

To separate them or pull out their threads and is to kill the body, thus ruining the garment of life.

Both need each other as Adam needed Eve.

Why the end of time?

That’s why one of the most interesting teachings of the Catholic Church is on the Resurrection of the body, presumably at the end of time.

Quite frankly I don’t know why we have to wait…forever how long that may be.

The body has been the vehicle for the activities of the soul’s will and should be risen at the same time that the soul is.

John Paul II was emphatic when he wrote in his book, Love and Responsibility that it cannot be forgotten that our bodies will be resurrected in the end.

In the book he discussed what role our masculinity and femininity will play in the afterlife, especially since procreation will not be part of it.

For a fuller explanation of this, look for Part III.

It may be a little difficult to imagine what our heavenly bodies might look like but ESPN’s special photo shoot on world-class athletes gives a brief hint as to what our heavenly might look like.

Daniel Leyva - US Men's Gymnastics

A hint of heaven

Our bodies were not only created to be in union with another human person, but also to share in spiritual union with God, which is the ultimate goal of human existence.

I know many people, especially women, might shutter at the thought of having their bodies visibly present in eternity.

Theologians speculate that  our bodies will be glorified.

The imagery often projected is that we will wear flowing robes that will make it hard to distinguish man from women.

To me this is a repudiation of all John Paul II’s ground-breaking book about the human body.

Abby Wambach - US Women's Soccer

ESPN’s celebration of top athletes

I have already written that my view conceives of heaven as partly a nude beach where we are free to wander, swim in the ocean, breathe in the air and exhilarate in the beauties of God, nature and our fellow-men and women without any fabric restrictions.

St. John provided his ideal and highly mysterious vision of Heaven in the Book of Revelation, which is arguably the most difficult of all the books of the Bible.

Even before ESPN the human body attracted many creative people from the first time man learned to capture stick figures on a wall, through the fine arts of European painting.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir celebrated the gift of feminine beauty with his many nudes of voluptuous women in the late 19 century.

File:Pierre-Auguste Renoir 085.jpg

Celebrated feminine beauty

In each attempt the artist was trying to capture the beauty and true of the model’s inner soul–the invisible soul if you would of the material human body.

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the best at trying to present the perfect human body in all of its divine proportions.

Da Vinci drew The Vitruvian Man circa 1490.

The perfect man

The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura.

He believed the workings of the human body were analogous to the workings of the universe.

Nature so designed the human body that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is always a tenth part of the whole height.

The open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same while the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth.

In his book, Da Vinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image Toby Lester pointed out that da Vinci’s drawing corresponds in nice ways to existing descriptions of Leonardo that exist.

Lester believes that the drawing of The Vitruvian Man was actually a self-portrait.

His opinion rests on the reports of many of  da Vinci’s contemporaries, who of described him as being very finely built, strong, very beautiful with locks of hair that curled and went down to his shoulders.

My favorite work of art has always been The Thinker a bronze sculpture on marble pedestal by Auguste Rodin, whose first cast, of 1902, is now in the Musée Rodin in Paris.

It was originally named The Poet and alleged to have been Dante, contemplating

It was based on Dante’s Divine Comedy and entitled the portal The Gates of Hell.

Some critics believe The Thinker was originally intended to depict Dante at the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem.

Paris 2010 - Le Penseur.jpg

A unity of body and soul

The statue is obviously nude and seems to depict perfections of the human body while engaging in a mental or even spiritual activity.

I used to quip that he was thinking about where he left his clothes.

The human body is the pinnacle of God’s creation and in Heaven we can expect a throwback or return to that Sixth Day when God did his best work.

To me this is just an added incentive to make the celestial grade.

However I found out early that there were all kinds of heavenly bodies on earth.

No shame in Heaven

In 1966 I was preparing to visit some friends in New Orleans when some of the older men in the small town where I was teachings suggested I look at the heavenly bodies on Bourbon Street.

Someone else had to explain it to me.

Unfortunately the human body of women has often been used for pornographic imagery, which is designed to unsettle normal relationships between men and women.

It has reached epidemic proportions in this country and around the world.

A real war on women

As a result moral society has been reflexive in its encounter with any kind of female or even male nudity because of the pornographic abuse of freedom in the United States.

Pope John Paul II was valiant in his attempt to put the nude human in its proper moral perspective.

Because God created it, the human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendor and its beauty...

Nakedness should not be equated with shamelessness.  Immodesty is present only when nudity plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person.

The human body in itself is never  shameful.

Shamelessness is a function of the interior of a person.’

With regards to viewing nudity, it’s clear that there’s a spectrum of appropriateness.

On one hand, it may be appropriate for a man to view his wife’s or baby’s unclothed body.

In the eye of the beholder

During routine examinations a male physician may be within his right to view a woman’s unclothed body.

On the other hand, it’s never appropriate for a man to view a woman even his wife with lustful desire in his heart, whether she is clothed or unclothed.

By definition lust is the desire to use another person like an object for one’s own sexual gratification.

Treating people like things is always morally wrong.

Impurity of body only occurs when nudity plays a negative role with respect to the value of the person.

The late pope did warn that concupiscence can create a tangible sexual tension that surrounds relations between the sexes.

In these situations the person must make a real interior effort to avoid any utilitarian attitudes toward nudity in any form.

Appreciation and not desire has always been my rule in such situations.

The human body per se is not impure, nor is the reaction of sensuality, nor sensuality itself.

Lust begins when the will appropriates the reaction of sensuality and reduces the other person – because of his or her body and sex – to an object of pleasure.

The Vitruvian Female

Our earthly bodies can also be the transmitters of spiritual joy.

With regard to our earthly bodies St. Francis, the namesake of the Catholic Church’s new pope, was quoted in Omer Engelbert’s definitive biography about the 13th century saint as saying that spiritual joy is as necessary to the soul as blood is to the body.

What Francis missed here was the fact that because of the body’s meticulous make-up bodily hormones can transport feelings of heavenly ecstasy through the blood to every inch of the body and even the soul.

I have felt this in my own life with the incessant and overpowering feelings of joy, well-being and near mind-expanding ecstasy after a therapeutic massage.

The gateway to joy

These feelings were not just ephemeral but not only made me smile more but warmed my relationships with all the people I came in contact with that day.

As I have stated before these are not just temporary feelings but to me a foretouch of what heaven may be like.

I feel that they are ground in my religious faith and inspire me to look to the heavens above with hope, anticipation and high expectations.

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Shooting Some Hoops With LeBron and the President

July 14, 2010
2 Comments

One reason I believe politicians love about sports is the fact that they are a huge distraction from the government’s business at hand.

While our eyes and ears are not quite literally glued to out TV sets, the politicians are free to conspire to dream up more ways to loot our wallets and enslave our children.

This past week was a perfect example.

Probably a billion people watched as representatives of all the major countries around the world ran all all over huge soccer fields, fired errant shot after shot and then ran the other way.

It was a rare occasion when someone actually booted or headed (looks painful) the ball into the cavernous net, so conservative was the play.

Spain won its first World Cup by scoring eight goals–eight goals in SIX games.

Wow that’s too much scoiring for my heart!

A case in point, I saw exactly three minutes of the final with the Netherlands.  The winning goal at the 115 minute mark came just as I sat down.

In the United States an even bigger story was the signing of LeBron James, one of the best athletes in a long time to don an NBA uniform.

In the age of capitalist free trade– he was the best player in what the agents call free agency.   Ask any owner—-there is nothing free about it.

James choreographed a reality show that was befitting a Super Bowl half-time extravaganza and the academy awards combined.

There was so much pomp and circumstances that you expected a college graduation to break out with Bill Clinton at the podium.

When Queen Elizabeth showed up in New York about that time, I thought she was going to join LeBron at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Connecticut, in conjunction with ESPN to announce which lucky team was going to have his services for the next six years.

He had gotten the sports cable network to allot an entire hour of their prime time for his big announcement.

An hour to tell us where his next job was?  Rush Limbaugh asked what was he going to do for the next 59 minutes?

The pageantry and hoopla–pun intended–was seriously connected with the signing of two other premier players–DWayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

Hours before LeBron’s Big Fat Contract Wedding, both had signed with Wade’s former team the Miami Heat.

The three had been involved in a collusive friendship that seemed to imply that even if one or two of them had to take less money, they would try to sign with the same team.

That seems to be the new look in the NBA.  Though there are five on the court at any one time, teams try to have a nucleus of at least three outstanding players.

That system had worked well in Boston and even LA.

Well when the big moment came–surprise, surprise—Miami came up the big winner.

I will wager that anyone who took the time to view this extravaganza was as satisfied as I was many years ago when invested three hours in watching Giraldo Rivera’s special on Al Capone’s Vault.

Three hours and all I got was peering into an empty vault.  Not even a tee-shirt!

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Not even a tee-shirt for Cleveland

While there were gala celebrations in Miami before LaBron has even scored a point, there was no joy in Mudville, the current name for Cleveland.  It has been called worse.

I mean Cleveland has been the brunt of comedians jokes for years.  What really do they have?

Is that where Dennis Kucinich comes from?  See what I mean.

To lose the greatest player in recent memory is comparable to Brooklyn losing the Dodgers in 1957–no not quite that bad.  Maybe St. Louis losing the Browns four years before that.

At least they didn’t set fire to the city as some did AFTER LA’s championship.  I mean who would notice if they did?

But I do have a word of warning for the new semi-billionaires.

President Obama is lurking in the background and I do not think he is amused.

Now our current president is not the most athletic of our recent presidents.  Most Democrats cringe every time he gets on a baseball mound.

His near embarrassment in St. Louis last summer at the All-Star game–he was saved when Albert Pujos reached way in front of the plate to snag his 59′ drop ball.

At the season opener in DC, he nearly threw the ball over the catcher’s head.

He more dangerous than Gerry Ford was on a golf course.

But he can shoot hoops.  Though he plays an occasional round of golf–only during oil spills and other national emergencies, he knows how to play the game.

His wife’s sister even married an accomplished basketball player and coach.

Anyone catch his performance with Clark Kellogg between halves at the I think it was the NBA All-Star game?

I believe that he will do something to nullify this deal.

I wonder if ESPN will give him an hour?  They had better if he wants it!

After all he can sue one of our states, take over our auto companies, what is a few basketball players to him or a sports TV network to him?

One consideration I didn’t mention is that the president’s team–the Chicago Bulls had a horse in the LeBron sweepstakes.

Critics will say that LeBron has a contract.  Contracts?  They mean nothing to the former Constitutional Law professor.  Just ask the bond holders for Chrysler.

They were skipped in the president’s move to ave union jobs–this was a direct violation of Contract law, as protected under the Constitution.

All he has to do is sign an Executive Order or maybe just WILL it.

People should ask what kind of Constitutional Law did the president actually teach?

My guess is that he taught loopholes.

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Doing something he is good at!

Another consideration is that LeBron is a member of the president’s least favored minority in this country–he is very wealthy and stands to become more wealthy.

By moving to Florida, as the WSJ points out, he stands to “save” millions of dollars in just state income taxes.

That will not be fair to the state of Ohio, which has seen several hundred million dollars of earned income move to other states over the years.

While Ohio is a swing state, the president, given his Chicago Style, will have to go with the home team and void his deal, so that LeBron can sign with the Bulls.

What can he do this?  Because he can do this that’s why.  Just like he has done with the rest of us taxpayers.

If the president can redistribute our wealth through cap and trade, tax and spend and health care reform, it is only logical that he can redistribute a few rich basketball players.

So after the deal is done, maybe the president will invite him over for a White House Summit and they can shoot some hoops.

And that ain’t no bull!


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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