I came across an interview with Christopher West the other day. He was asked a question that I am sure many parents struggle with – how do you introduce Theology of the Body to your children? His response was profound. Among other things, he said, “we can’t give what we don’t have. As parents, before we can pass the TOB on to our children, we have to immerse ourselves in it.”
His answer really struck me. Gary and I cannot teach our children this beautiful theology until and unless we truly embrace the TOB – together. As married couples and parents we cannot give to our children what we don’t already possess ourselves. As Christopher West describes, evangelizing the TOB to our children is so much more than “the talk,” we must witness the TOB to our children. As if parenting wasn’t hard enough!
Recently, the USCCB had its annual General Assembly. In Cardinal Dolan’s address to the bishops he said “[w]e cannot engage culture unless we let Him first engage us; we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with Him; we cannot challenge unless we first let Him challenge us.” He added that what is wrong with the world and what is wrong with the church “is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming … [w]hat’s ‘wrong with the world?’ is just two words: I am.” Wow. Very powerful, especially when we remember that Cardinal Dolan was speaking to a room full of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal Dolan did not speak these words in the context of the TOB, but doesn’t it make perfect sense? Take a minute to think about the secular meaning of sex and sexuality in our culture. Let’s be honest here, most of us buy into at least part of it don’t we? So, as Cardinal Dolan suggests, the true evangelization begins with “me.” We must first allow Christ’s message of the TOB into our hearts. If, and only if, we open our hearts to the beauty of Gods true love can we begin to evangelize to our families, our communities and the world.
Is your heart open? Mine is … I think.
Sarah, I too thought that Christopher gave a great answer to that question. I was very struck by the way he and his wife wove it into their nightly prayers. Loved this post – way to integrate West with Cardinal Dolan!
Thanks Shane. I really liked the idea of incorporating the TOB into nightly prayers too. Christopher made it seem so easy … I only hope I can be as eloquent and articulate with my own kids.