Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

January 19, 2009

Is It Any Wonder?

Yesterday evening, I went to the student recreation center at my university to work out. (Which by the way, I took Julian's advice on that Beyonce album--great to work out to, and I cannot get that 'shoulda put a ring on it' out of my head!!) Unfortunately, the only cardio machine available was smack in front of a television playing MTV, which as we all know has absolutely nothing to do with music, but rather trashy, contrived 'reality' TV shows. Well the show playing this night was particularly trashy. The show is based upon the search for 'love' for two female bisexual identical twins. Whatever that means, right? So, these twins get to 'choose' between 12 men and 12 women to find 'true love.' So the show basically showed these twins running around in short dresses kissing whichever person came into their path. So, it made me feel pretty down about the state of the world, and is it any wonder I felt this way? But I got to thinking -- does it matter what we do with our bodies? Of course, I think it does. But where does that idea come from? I guess the better question to ask is why does it matter what we do with our bodies? We've some great quotes up on the blog from tremendous authors such as Edith Stein, Adrienne Von Speyr, and Alice Von Hildebrand to name a few. But I think our whole world really needs to examine why it matters what we do with our bodies.

What does my body mean? Well, I am a woman and my body clearly reveals this reality. John Paul II posits that the female and male bodies reveal that they were made for one another, and I think that one is pretty obvious too. But still, why does it matter what I do with this body? Do I have the 'right' to use my body for libertinism? The world tells me so. After all, if everything I do with my body is both consensual and does not harm others, than why does it matter, right? But let's ask, even if what I do is consensual, does that necessarily mean that it does not harm another or myself? Does a profligate use of my body harm me or another and in what way? I suggest that using my body for whatever I want can indeed harm me and others -- in a most perilous way -- spiritually. Somehow, my body, my physically being is so bound to my spirit. When I abuse one, the other will deteriorate too.

How do we convince a world that is saturated with MTV shows like the one I talked about above and girls willing to sell their virginity to the highest bidder that their bodies matter? That their souls matter -- if not to God, at least to themselves? How do we convince a world that believes that each individual is a law unto himself or herself that they need to look outside of themselves to find true happiness? I can give a person any Bible verse to try to convince them, I can point them to the great spiritual writers, but what about those who are so far away from any sense of spirituality that they are completely blind to this message? Where do we start? Have you ever experienced this frustration and feeling of just hopelessness for the world? Is it any wonder that I feel this way?

I know I don't have every answer, but I will continue to look at this problem, particularly as it relates to women. I think women have a tremendous role in the renewal of the world, in breaking the chains that bind people to their base desires, and ultimately in bringing Christ to the world. For now, I will continue to trust in God and look to Mary, confident in their love for all people in this world and in their desire to be loved back by them.

1 comment:

Julian said...

Oh, Edith. I think about this all of the time. I was reading Newsweek or Time the other day, and they had a comparison chart about different action movies. The criteria were "special effects," "hero," "villian," and "hot chick." Each actress was pretty much pictured naked or in some dominatrix costume. And then Jennifer Aniston recently spoke out about her marriage failing and posed nearly nude on the magazine in which she revealed this. That cover madae me feel sad for her, and I think that decision might provide one answer to your question.

Why do people use their bodies like this? Because of experiences that they have had. The plague of our generation seems to be an aimlessness, a meaninglessness, and an internal suffering that goes unnoticed (thanks postmodernists). My student confided in me that she, too, has casual sex because it's the only comfort she knows since her dad has literally (and unlawfully) neglected her. I think ultimately, we are sad, and are searching for affirmation about our worth. We wind up misusing the precise gift to experience true intimacy: the body.

Now, the other question: How do we convince people that this is detrimental to their bodies, minds, and spirits? Experience, again. I believe that if we affirm people positively with our words and our body language (a simple hug will do), then they will experience their worth in a real way. We are blessed to have experienced love from our family and friends, to be filled with faith, and to read the great spiritual writers (and the gospels!!!) which only provide our experiences with more depth. But we should start with our own bodies, brining a gentle touch to our fellow men. After all, the strong arm of God in the Old Testament changed into the gentle touch of Christ on those he healed. Let's try the same, one person at a time.

And I recommend waiting for the next available exercise machine next time. :)

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