Timothy Tennent–Marriage, Human Sexuality, and the Body–The Spousal Meaning of the Body

Within marriage, we discover what John Paul calls the “spousal meaning of the body.” We are created for marriage. To even say that today sounds controversial, because we have been so versed by our culture to the strains of solitude. But Jesus repeats this in Matthew 19 “a man shall leave his mother and father and be united to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” There are, of course, those who are called to celibacy and marry the church. There is a profound dignity in singleness which we will explore later on in these homilies. But, the basic design is marriage. Our modern discomfort with this is perhaps illustrated by the recent trend in the elimination of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day in the church. This has been driven mostly because of concerns that those who are single or childless might feel excluded. But, this is a sign of the inward gaze which is the anti-sacrament of autonomous solitude. Surely, the more profound insight is that our very presence in the world, or in this room, is a testimony that we have or had a father and a mother. And we stand even in our singleness and honor our father and our mother, which is the first commandment with a promise.

The contemporary world has set the genders at war with one another in endless cruel and destructive ways. Remember, the trajectory of the fall is always pushing towards autonomous solitude; the trajectory of redemption is always summoning us to communion with the Triune God. The world lives under the gravity of sin and self-orientation; we live under the gravity of holy-love. This is the heart of what John Paul meant by the “spousal meaning of the body.”

Read it all and note it has 4 parts.


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