28 November 2007

New Direction for the Rise!

In February of 2007 I started the Rise of the TOB Blog as a way for me to share my very limited knowledge and developing presentation of the message of the Theology of the Body. After what will be 10 months of running the blog as a one man show, I have discerned that the site needs to take a turn in a different direction to better accomplish the goals I first had in mind when I initially created it.

Rise of the TOB will now be run by a team of Theology of the Body students and enthusiasts. New contributors means more consistent updates, fresher writing styles, and a variety of experiences and stories to share. We'll also be posting writings from guests every now and then - some well known and others who haven't yet had the opportunity to share their own personal presentation of the Church's teaching on Love & Responsibility.

We are not experts. We do not have all the answers.

What is promised is this... We love Jesus Christ, we are loyal to his Church, and have all been very much inspired by the work of Pope John Paul II. There is a secret hidden behind all of the sexual sin that plagues this world. There is a yearning inside all of us that has become distorted. In our bodies lies the truth about love, sex, life, and happiness. We hope to share that truth with all who will listen.

In the next week, Laura Giannuzzi will introduce herself in her first post, so I will let her take care of that. In the coming weeks some more contributors will be brought into the fold.

We are predominantly based out of the Diocese of Rockville Centre (Long Island, NY) and so we'll naturally be speaking through that lens. Part of our intention is certainly to serve as an online hub for everything Theology of the Body on Long Island. However, our readership is intended to include all people across the globe; to point anyone looking for answers to the truth.
My prayer to the Father, through Mary the Mother of God and St. John of the Cross, who so inspired JPII, is that the Rise of the TOB Blog will be a reliable, up to date, and light-hearted center for learning and discussion. More importantly, my prayer is that His Mercy changes the lives of all who seek it.

So, one chapter is ending, but a new one begins. Thanks to to all family, friends, readers, and bloggers who have supported me to date. This is an exciting time for the Rise!

22 November 2007

What I'm thankful for...

The Sexual Revolution blindsided the Western World in the 1960's and early 1970's. The Puritanism and repression of the past would no longer be tolerated. The change was probably inevitable, and with good intention. The consequences were not foreseen by most however.

Today we live in an over-sexualized world. I can no longer watch a football game with my Dad without being bombarded by commercials advertising pills for erectile dysfunction. I can't check my email without stumbling across a few e-solicitations to chat with the "one I've been longing for". I cannot browse the magazine rack of a bookstore without being drawn to covers of half-naked women in men's magazines, pointing to the more "in your face" pornography displayed just above it.

Everything is sex without consequences. But the truth is now out there and I am thankful for it.

I'm thankful that in 1968, Pope Paul VI penned his encyclical Humanae Vitae, defending human life and upholding the Catholic teaching against the use of contraception. Despite all other Christian churches changing their stance, the Pope knew that contraception would have a radical effect on the world. To separate the sexual experience from procreation was to undo the order of God.

I'm thankful that Pope John Paul II delivered a series of lectures from 1979 to 1984, cumulatively titled the Theology of the Body, which put together 2000 years of Church teaching, Holy Tradition, and perhaps the best biblical scholarship in the history of the Good Book - all on the true meaning of the human body as intended by God. The human body is good so Good that it should not be repressed, but must not be exploited. It is the antidote to the sexual revolution. And what could have been our graduation from puritanism.

I'm thankful that today, many bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful have caught on. We aren't many, but we are growing. There is an army of believers, who will not cease fighting the lies of the culture. We are ready for a new change. We are ready to overturn the culture of death. And we will not stop until abortion, rape, sexual abuse, pornography, and all other sins of the flesh are wiped clean from this world.

Most of all, I'm thankful for a Merciful Lord. Jesus has met us where we are at. He has given us exactly what we need in the Church's teaching on love and responsibility. The power is in our hands (folded hands that is).

Let's change the world. Viva la "NEW sexual" revolucion!

21 November 2007

Meant for More

Trailer can be viewed here. I really want to see this flick.

03 November 2007

What is Love... and Love... and Love... and Love?

I love my mom...

I love my friends...

I love my fiance...

I love brownie sundaes with whipped cream and hot fudge?

All of the above is true, at least for me. I've made each of these statements at certain times in my life (and no I won't disclose which one more than the others!).

LOVE - Same word in each statement, but meaning something totally different each time.

Quick Greek Lesson:

Storge - Affection, familial love
Philia - Friendship love
Eros - Physical love, object love
Agape - Unconditional love

The Greeks have FOUR different words for love. I'm not saying we need to add any more confusion to the English language (or maybe I am) but the fact that we can say "I love my wife" and "I love pizza" in the same sentence and not raise any eyebrows is a problem. The L word is completely misused today, most especially among young people.

So how about that brownie sundae? What kind of love does that fit under?

Well, no one is related to a brownie sundae, so it's not family love. There may be some pretty lonely people in this world, but even lonely people have better friends than something that melts if not consumed within ten minutes of buying it - not philia. Can you "agape" a brownie sundae? Sure, but I suggest you seriously consider counseling if you're willing to take a bullet for your dessert (even if it comes from Applebee's). That leaves one possibility - Eros. Yes, the same way of loving that is meant to go hand in hand with agape, is used to describe my feelings toward brownie sundaes.

In Deus Caritas Est, the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope brilliantly explains the intended relationship of Eros (which seeks to receive) and Agape (which seeks to give). We can see why eros would be the love of objects such as favorite games, sports teams, and food. In saying we love those things, we're expecting to get something from them. This is not a bad thing. What is bad is when we apply this to the human person, and neglect agape. What is bad is when people think that love is something they should "feel" and something that should make them happy.

Too many people out there are looking for love in order to GET, not give. And what our Holy Father would say, much more eloquently and with much deeper implications than I can convey right now, is that it is only when you love unconditionally (as Christ did on the cross) that you get anything in return. It starts with making someone else happy. Happiness comes with bringing joy to others. This is when the eros becomes a physical expression of the agape.

Jesus happily died on the cross for us. Despite His pain and suffering, He was never bitter about what He did. He understood the relationship and he knows that real love is in laying down your life for the one you love - the Church, His Bride.