Language of the Body
In the Theology of the Body, JP II examines how man’s body should be understood in light of the Scripture passage that reads, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). As the starting point of his examination, JP II considers the nuptial meaning of the body, i.e., the unitive and procreative. He teaches that valid marriage is a sign of the Triune nature of God. He tells us that: 1) the body and it alone can bring the invisible into the visible; 2) the body is essential for expressing love into the physical world; 3) the language of the spirit must be expressed into the visible world through an adequate language of the body.
In reality, the TOB is a subset of Covenant Theology — more specifically, the Covenant of Salt Theology. In STOSS, we take a deeper look at the science of the salt and the dust in Scripture to help us better understand:
- The mystical union between the Bridegroom (i.e., Jesus) and the Bride (i.e., the Mystical Body of Christ, through Baptism).
- A literal one-flesh union of each Church member at Mass experience with Jesus, who is physically (glorified — not mortal) present in the Eucharist.
As it turns out, there is a multitude of Scripture passages (more than previously thought) that help us to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the body relative to the union of persons; expressions of the heart; fruitfulness; and the body as a channel of grace. During the process of unpacking STOSS, a spent of time delving very deeply into a greater understanding of the language of the body, through which an accurate expression of the overflow of the spirit is achieved. This language is both visible and invisible. It is also a language that must change in conjunction with the changes that occur to the inner heart/spirit. Through the scriptural mouth, the overflow of the spiritual human heart is expressed/sent out into the physical world.
JPII said, “The body, in fact, and it alone is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God [John Paul II, in his general audience of February 20, 1980, “Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love,” Theology of the Body, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, n. 4].” As profound as this statement is, I would nevertheless like to modify it slightly. To incorporate STOSS into the understanding of the Pope’s words, I would rephrase it thus: The body, and it alone is capable of transferring the spiritual and divine into physical creation, doing so through the sense-able and meta-sense-able language of the body.
One of the components of any expression sent via the body is that it is sense-able, i.e., the expression can be perceived by one or more of the five naked senses. There is also a component of the expression that cannot be heard, tasted, touched, seen, and/or smelled by the bare (unaided) senses. However, it can be sensed, either directly or indirectly, through the aid of scientific instrumentation or sensors. While the word meta-sense-able describes something invisible to the naked eye, it is not confused with the spiritual and divine to which JP II refers.