I was raised in Evangelical Protestantism, and formed in Natural Law as a lawyer, but Theology of the Body has transformed my work, religion, and life. My faith started with the Bible, especially Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” I heard the word of God as a child and came to believe I needed Jesus to save me from my own sinful nature.
As a Protestant, I believed I was saved once and for all by my confession of Christ and nothing I did or could do would change that. I thought I could do anything with my body, as long as I confessed the Truth with my mouth. I didn’t put much stock in my body.
I came of age around non-Christians. I wasn’t particularly careful about what I exposed my body to or what I allowed come out of it. I had not mastered my body as a Protestant and I didn’t think it was very important. I believed it would go into the ground to return to dust, anyway. My body wasn’t beautiful to me and I didn’t love it.
Later, the love and lure of language led me to become a lawyer. I trained with some of the best Protestant Natural Law scholars. Natural Law says that God’s laws are written on our hearts and therefore we do not have an excuse when we break those laws. Romans 2:15 says, “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts.” And Romans 1:20 says, “Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
When I read Hebrews 8:10 in light of Theology of the Body, and Natural Law took on a whole new perspective: “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
In other words, the Law of God is written into our bodies.
As a Protestant, I took the Bible literally. So when I read Luke 22:19 with an open heart, it changed my life. The words, “This is My body which is given for you” made me a Roman Catholic as soon as I realized what Christ was saying to me. Now I had the Word of God in my mind, in my heart and the Word of God in the Eucharist in my body. My Christianity went from being a heart thing to something earthy. There was water, oil, bread, and wine.
This experience set the stage for my introduction to Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. I realized the incredible beauty of the body and its goodness. My body wasn’t just a piece of dirt I would leave behind when I left for the heavens. My body helps tell the story of God’s love.
First, the law that is written on our hearts: Thou shalt love (my heart does Old English). Then, the law that is written in my body: Love one another. We are made for love. That was a revelation to me. I struggled with loving and being lovable as a child, and even well into adulthood. The fact that my body is meant to love and be loved is an incredible gift.
The law written into my body is that God wants me to love like He does, fruitful, faithful, and forever. This understanding transformed my marriage. My wife and I were no longer two people operating independently, but one flesh, one body in love. We are created for love, to love each other and to send that love out into the world. Now we have four incarnations of our love, to love and carry love on.
Theology of the Body is an extension of the Natural Law. It gives new meaning to Jesus’ words in Luke 19: He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” None of creation is silent about the glory of God. Not just the heavens and the stones in the earth, but our bodies declare the glory of God!