Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Cliff Notes version on the rest of my thoughts on marriage, headship, theology of the body, and my spiritual journey

I am discovering how difficult it is for me to articulate my thoughts on headship, marriage, and theology of the body. So, to quote "Princess Bride", let me 'splain, no, not enough time, let me sum up.
(From Ephesians, Chapter 5)
5:23. Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body.
5:28. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
5:29. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church.

I am going to cut to the chase here. If you remember I inferred that the church was contaminated by Jansenism, that left a somewhat Platonic whiff. Again, this was condemned by the church, but the effects were not completely wiped out. By Platonic, I mean, quickly, that the soul is the important part of humans, the body just a prison to be discarded, a skin to be shed. Now look at the Biblical texts I quoted. If the head (knowledge) is superior to the body, if the body must be subjugated by the will, if the body is an unfortunate encumbrance to the soul, then St. Paul's exhortation that "the husband is the head of the wife" and "So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies," might be misinterpreted. If, on the other hand, we look at this through the lens of the Theology of the Body, that in a "sound bite" says, "The body reveals God", then " So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies," means something quite different.

I don't think that the theology of the body is really telling us anything radically new. The fact that we as humans were created of Spirit (soul) and Matter (body), in the image of God, comes straight from Genesis, and has been one of the cornerstones of Christian Philosophy. That fact that the Resurrection of the Body has been taught, and is in our Creed, shows the inherent dignity with which our bodies have been given from the earliest of Christian thought. But uniting the teachings on the soul and the body, with the husband and wife, in line with Christ and His Church needs to be shouted from the roof tops. This isn't new, it is just extremely important.

As far as the rest of my spiritual journey, when I left off I was intellectually filled and spiritually hungry. I received a truly Liberal Arts education in college, and began to see the transcendence bubbling up through the scholasticism. I went to a variety of Catholic churches, led and attended a number of Bible studies, and began to teach our faith to my children. This is when my desire for the heart of my faith came screaming to the surface. I didn't just want my children to know God. I wanted them to LOVE Him, to treasure Him, to be passionate about Him. Eventually we ended up attending an Eastern Catholic Church, and that's where I found it. The transcendent prayers, icons, every sense exploded with the power and beauty of the Risen Lord. I couldn't get enough. I learned iconography, fell in love, truly, with Christ the Teacher, the Mother of God, The Holy Prophet Elijah, St. Nicholas, and each and every venerable window into heaven I wrote. Oh, the intimacy, the joy, the absolute fondness for which I beheld my Savior, who is good, and loves mankind.

I am not saying that the only way to experience the transcendence of God is through my path to the Eastern Catholic Church. But I do know this is where God led me, for my own good, knowing me as well as He does. Between diving into the Sacred Scriptures, the writings of the Early Church Fathers, the glorious Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom ,the graces received from the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), and the writings of JPII on the Theology of the Body, I feel I am on the journey of my life, no, my eternity.

Not to mention, my marriage ROCKS!!


Blogger Philothea Rose said...

To me, the more I study marriage, the more I fall in love with God. Delving into the spirtual (and physical) components of my vocation, I really see and experience the presence of God more and more in my daily life. Thanks for relating how we view our bodies to marriage and the scriptures. I never saw it that way before.

November 23, 2005  
Blogger Karna O'Dea said...

I see a connection with the idea that the head should rule the heart. I believe this. The head should consult the heart, when a person makes a decision, but the head must make the final decision. As in the person, so in a marriage.


November 24, 2005  
Blogger Renee said...

I agree with you in the sense that the head has the resposibility of forming one's will, and certainly without directing our will properly, all is lost. However, to have the sufficiant perseverance to follow out with one's chosen good act often requires the body. The two must work in concert. I guess I would want your definition of "rule" not in the "don't tell ME what to do sense", but in what way does the head ruling the body acknowledge the "cherishith and nurthurith it" quoted in St. Paul. Because after all, our life isn't only a set of abstract decisions to be made, with the head deciding and the heart helping. There is a transcendent quality to our union of spirit + matter, unlike any other creation. Just the same, there is a spiritual componant to the marital relationship that transcends the physical world of decision-making. BTW, I didn't leave our the "Wives be subject to your husband" part because of any disagreement on my part. I was simply writing about something else in this thread.

November 24, 2005  
Blogger Lori said...

Hey, good job on the tube tonight!
I think you spoke very well.

November 25, 2005  
Blogger Karna O'Dea said...

I am not sure I fully understand your response, and maybe we are talking at cross purposes. I agree that there is surprisingly little emphasis on the section of Ephesians that describes, in considerable detail, the duties of the husband. For example, there seems to be a suggestion that the husband in some sense sacrifices himself to save his wife spiritually. And yet I have almost never seen any discussion of that point, which seems an important one to me. It is almost as if Paul is saying that the husband has significant responsibility for his wife's salvation.

I guess this important question is rarely considered because people spend all their time obsessing on wifely submission, either to uphold it or to attempt to negate it.

Best wishes

November 26, 2005  
Blogger Kate said...

Renee -

Very interesting! I will be meditating on this, I know.

BTW, you made the cut - but then again, I never even thought of cutting you. You're my best blog-buddy, after all. ;-)


December 02, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home