This article was first published earlier today on the Association of Pauline Cooperators blog (http://PaulineLaity.blogspot.com).
Redwood City the Daughters were really avant-garde. We had to be. After
all, this was California! In 2007 our media techie, Sr. Domenica,
scraped together some funds to buy a screen for our Pauline Books &
Media Center, so we could show promo videos we made locally about our
titles. They weren’t spit and polish, but they were attention grabbing.
And people responded.
So, when Michael Waldstein completed a
new translation of the Wednesday General Audiences that Pope John Paul
had delivered on his Theology of the Body, on-screen promotion was a
given. Author George Weigel had once called the Pope’s series a
“theological time bomb.” We knew we had published a monumental work in Man and Woman He Created Them, and we wanted to set off fireworks.
atop a stool next to an instore display of the book, I told the camera
that this was a must-have—challenging, but well worth the effort.
Spontaneously, enthusiastically, to the camera’s utter delight, I
described the features and read a passage or two. This was John Paul’s
masterpiece: his Christian approach to anthropology, with unique
insights into relationships and human sexuality, especially in
connection with marriage. Since the presentation was unscripted, I
hesitated at times, looking for the words that could do it justice. It
didn’t take long, though, for me to hit my stride, and the finished
product was presentable, if not professional. The camera, of course,
Soon after, our provincial superior and another sister
were visiting from Boston. As they looked around the new PBM Center,
they became engrossed in shelving, layout, and lighting. Sr. Margaret’s
papal eloquence was soon ignored as white noise.
“And, if you’re
like me and you’re not married, don’t despair!” Startled by my
intensity, our two visitors spun around to face the screen. What on
earth is Margaret saying now? Is she starting a dating service?
not that this doesn’t have anything to do with us,” I continued. “It
does. There are at least fifty pages on what John Paul II calls
‘Continence for the Kingdom of Heaven.’” If you know what I mean.
you don’t, allow me: It means that not even celibates miss out on the
Theology of the Body. To live a healthy, integrated, and holy life, we’d
better not! True, Man and Woman He Created Them is mostly about
sexuality in marriage. One of its benefits, though, is its invitation
also to those of us vowed to celibate chastity to understand the
physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of our sexuality in
the light of God’s Word. As we do, we can esteem even more how it weaves
into our relationships with God, our communities, our families and
friends, and the people we serve…here and hereafter. This consecrated
chastity then becomes the gift that not only God gives us, but that we
give back to him and to the world in which we live. It’s a world that,
even without realizing it, is waiting for just such a message.
past July 9-11, seven hundred laity, clergy, and religious turned out
to share that message at the annual Theology of the Body Congress in
Philadelphia. Go to www.tobcongress.com for photos and news. Ascension Press is now selling CDs of the talks online. Paulines also lent a hand at the Congress, especially through the publications that first helped detonate such a “theological time bomb” over three decades ago.
Though a great event in its own right, the gathering served as a kind of dry run for the Eighth World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia in September 2015. Archbishop Chaput has invited Pope Francis. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
you’re a Pauline Cooperator or a consecrated member of the Pauline
Family, John Paul’s Theology of the Body can spark something new in the
way you see yourself and your relationships. Set off a Roman candle of
your own from Pauline Books & Media.
OK, here it is—the nine-minute video now on YouTube. What ideas do you think John Paul might have for you or someone you know?
J. Obrovac, FSP, originally from San Francisco, has been a Pauline
evangelizer since 1973 and has worked in various phases of the mission
of the Daughters of St. Paul. Since attending the nine-month Charism
Course in Rome in 2012-2013, she is now based in Boston, where she
serves on the provincial Cooperator Team in the area of ongoing