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July 8, 2010

The man and the woman were both naked, and were not ashamed.

Purity reigned, which is not to say that the man and woman were chaste, but rather shared pure relationship with God, one another.

But, just as in any good story, conflict laid just around the corner.

Temptation. Fall. Shame.

“The eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked.”

Eyes opened? To what, exactly?

Eyes opened to self, and the desire to gratify self over the desire to fulfill the other. Lust, at once, usurped love’s rightful place.

Just a short while before, the man had declared the woman “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” Now, “they sewed fig leaves together” to materially ensure the separation they feel from one another.

Two parts made one, now broken; shattered and awaiting one skillful enough to put them back together.

Challenge: Sometimes, the life of faith demands action. At other times, it demands the transformation of our minds. This is the latter.

The world is full of moral teaching, laundry lists of “do’s” and “do not’s”. Sometimes we embrace these things because they’re the “right thing to do” and other times we summarily dismiss them. Either way, we don’t always understand the “why” behind it all.

The story of the man and the woman illustrates something pure and simple: we were made for something more. We were made for each other. That’s written plainly enough in our physiology.

Our makeup bears witness to our original purpose to give ourselves to one another. Our minds, however, still affected by the brokenness of the man and woman, urge us to use our bodies to conquer the other and fulfill the self.

In this sense, we are in need of transformation. We don’t need another litany of rights and wrongs. We need our hearts and minds to be renewed. We need our eyes to be opened for real, not to self as the man and the woman’s eyes were opened, but to divine mystery of love written on our hearts and in our bodies.

**This post is the second in a series based on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, a collection of 129 lectures he delivered at the outset of his Papacy between September 1979 and November 1984.

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