In 1971, at seven years old, my family lived in a tent for the summer — as my dad fulfilled a longtime dream of building his own home. Camping at Cherry Creek State Park was an adventure for me and my three siblings. New people coming and going, with us wondering if the new campers had any kids. Our days were spent hanging around the cool reservoir to soothe the hot summer days, and most evenings ended with camp fires crackling and acoustic guitars playing us to sleep. One night we were awakened by lightning and claps of thunder that rumbled the ground we slept on – trees sounding as though they could fall as the wind violently blew. Dad scrambled outside to secure the canvas windows of the tent. Breathing hard, he leapt back through the opening as giant raindrops began to pound our tent. Within minutes, it was raining in torrents and our homey camp site was turning into a pond. Mom and Dad snatched us and we took shelter in the car.
Reflecting on that era, there was a much larger storm raging: the sexual revolution. Dr. Peter Kreeft, in “How to Win the Culture War” states, “Every single issue today which there is dissent in the Church is about sex; feminism, inclusive language, contraception, masturbation, homosexuality, abortion, fornication, divorce and re-marriage and the various clergy scandals.” All of this can be daunting, as we have no idea where all of this is taking us.
Fast forward to 1993. I, along with half a million people from around the world, flooded Cherry Creek State Park. Sleeping bags and backpacks were spread out all over the ground, with people for as far as you could see full of joy and, yes, acoustic guitars – singing praise and worship songs in every language known to man. This extraordinary event was where I met the witness to hope: Pope John Paul II.
As we at Marriage Missionaries work with couples to help them to re-discover the joy of marriage and family life, we have come to discover that a large majority of individuals never received a consistent, glorious and magnificent vision of God’s plan for sexuality. For generations there has been very little discussion in our homes about sexuality, and difficulty following God’s prescription for a healthy marriage. We are left to figure out on our own the God-given hungers of our hearts. From the culture, what we learn only brings enormous confusion.
JP II’s Theology of the Body is a deep, prayerful biblical study that boldly reminds each of us what it means to be human. He revolutionized the idea that sex is not first a “verb,” something that we do. Rather, sex is something that we are, male and female, made in the image and likeness of the Word who became flesh – Jesus Christ. A way out of this cultural tsunami is through the eyes of St. John Paul II.
Read “The Theology of the Body for Beginners” by Christopher West, and let its beauty echo in your heart. Then take a walk in Cherry Creek State Park or some other park this Spring; see, listen and catch the scent of God’s creation; flowers in bloom with aroma to attract bees for pollination, nests of new birds chirping with new life. Ponder your own experience of life and love, what it means to be a man or a woman with eternal dignity. Receive God’s love through this magnificent teaching. Ask yourself, “How can I better live out this love?” Walking as a beloved disciple of Jesus Christ, ask, “How can I share this love with my family and beyond?”