Thursday, September 17, 2009
Review of Freedom by Matthew Pinto
God has revealed His mystery of love through the Word made flesh Theology of the Body. This phrase is not only the title of a series of talks by the late John Paul II, it represents the very logic of Christianity. The Theology of the Body calls us to encounter the living, Incarnate Christ and to ponder how His body reveals the meaning of our bodies. This is where God meets us: in the flesh. Therefore, the theology of the body is for every-body. And, as you ll see from the stories in Freedom: 12 Lives Transformed by the Theology of the Body, John Paul II s teaching appeals to all different kinds of people: married, single, consecrated celibates, professionals, stay-at-home moms. And, as this book also demonstrates, it s not just for Catholics either. It s for anyone hungry for the meaning of life. For, as the Pope said, the TOB affords the rediscovery of the meaning of the whole of existence, of the meaning of life. In Freedom, you will meet 12 people who, through the Theology of the Body have encountered Jesus Christ in the flesh, who offered the truth that set them free. Through their new-found freedom, these people have come to rediscover the meaning of their very existence. Many have had dramatic, life-altering experiences; others had buried truths, innate in all of us, awaken within them. All of them have discovered for themselves that the Theology of the Body answers the two most fundamental questions: 1) What does it mean to be human? 2) How do I live my life in a way that brings true happiness and fulfillment? These are questions we all long to find answers to, and the world offers no shortage of answers. But the longer we seek, the clearer we begin to see the best the world can offer are counterfeits that wound us, betray us and leave us wanting. Sadly, the truth of the Christ s teaching on sex is confirmed in the wounds of those who haven t lived it. Our longings for love, intimacy, and freedom are good, but the sexual revolution sold us a bill of goods that simply can not satisfy. We haven t been liberated - we ve been bound and trapped. But here s the Good News: if we read the signs of the times, we will realize the Theology of the Body is not a fad. God is doing something. A new sexual revolution is underway spreading slowly and quietly in human hearts that welcome the truth that this Polish Pope proclaimed about the human person. The predominant cultural ideology will collapse when enough men and women realize who they really are and to what bodily glory the en-fleshed God calls them to. The TOB revolution is beginning to take root in one person, one body at a time. The world is a mission field ready to soak up John Paul II s Theology of the Body, and it s already changing so many lives around the world. In Freedom, you ll meet 12 people who asked the same questions you have and are here to proclaim from the rooftops: This is what you ve been looking for all along! In Freedom, you will discover the power of the Theology of the Body in the lives of: A man who was liberated from his addiction to Internet pornography. A woman who, after suffering terrible abuse by her family, was freed from a life of poor self-esteem, eating disorders, and drug addiction. A young mother whose woundedness from past sexual sin and a teenage pregnancy was healed, allowing her to become the wife and mother her family needed. A priest who learned how to live his priesthood mystically united with Jesus, the divine Bridegroom. An evangelical Christian whose relationship with Christ was deepened by a new-found appreciation for the Incarnation.
I've not read John Paul II's Theology of the Body, but I've heard that it's a powerful work with the ability to transform lives. Freedom demonstrates this with twelve stories of people who found healing and new direction for their lives in the writings by one of the most insightful and beloved popes of all time. Here are testimonies of Catholics who found freedom from the pain of abortion, the shackles of abusive relationships, and society's philosophies on birth control. I wish I'd had this book many years ago; I might have learned things then that took me years of experience to understand. I recommend this book for Catholics and for Christians who want to be inspired by stories of those who came to understand God's plans for us and our human bodies.