Do You Know Who You Are? Some Initial Thoughts on the Theology of the Body

Do you know who you are? No, I’m not asking your name, what you do for a living, or if you play a sport. I’m asking, Do you actually KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

Today we are told our identities are fluid, changeable. We are told our sex is not only “assigned” at birth, but also that our sex (the physical bodily expression of maleness or femaleness) is only a servant to our more “important” gender–how we self-express and see ourselves in society. In other words, we are told our gender (how we self-express) is to comply with how we feel, rather than aligning how we feel (which can change depending on our state of mind or mood) with the reality of the body, which is our “sex.”

At the root of all of this confusion is our disrupted relationship with God and with the Holy Spirit who lovingly calls us into right order with Him. As our culture increasingly rejects Him, we become more confused and willing to accept the dystopia and dysphoria that result from this separation. As Gaudium et Spes declared, “When God is forgotten, the creature itself grows unintelligible” (36). Commenting on this idea, Jason Evert explains in Ascension’s course on Theology of the Body, “When we lose sight of supernatural realities, we will lose sight of natural realities” (Segment 2, Session 1). Indeed, we have lost sight of the reality of who we are, not only physically (we reject our very bodies), but also spiritually–who we are in God.

Here are some additional excerpts to ponder from Jason’s presentation:

“Our bodies reveal not only our identity as male and female, but also our calling.” Who we are is determined by our bodies, and it is this identity that calls us into relationship with one another in a unique and ordered way. When we don’t know who we are as male and female, our relationships with ourselves and each other become disordered.

“Men and women make the invisible love of God visible on earth by the way we love.” Although God is invisible, He is made visible, made manifest, through our very bodies and the way we love one another. We are called to reflect the perfect love of the Trinity. God’s relationship with the Son is expressed through the Holy Spirit, who is the unending and ever-moving love between them.

Today we are encouraged to identify with our concupiscence; we are encouraged to declare, “God made me this way, so I’m fine as I am.” But this is not who we really are. “If I come to think that my brokenness is who I am and who God wants me to be, then I’m normalizing my brokenness. And we will assume the Church is out of touch with reality if it expects us to live differently.” But JP II has a different vision. He declares that “our brokenness is not who God created us to be…These vices do not [constitute] our identities. We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures.”

What is your identity? How are you defining it? Do you know who you are?

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