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What is Theology of the Body?

Theology of the Body is the title given to a series of 129 talks given by Pope John Paul II from 1979-1984 based on a text he wrote before his election as the Bishop of Rome. 


TOB is not a presentation of new truths of our faith. Instead, it organizes ancient truth into a portrait of our salvation history that describes vocational life lived according to that story. Although the teaching is not new, JPII provides new terms and a new structure for presenting the answers to the questions of why we were created and what is our purpose in life. 

TOB will help students realize that sacrificial love is the pathway to participation in the divine mystery. 


Theology of the Body:  The study of God and the purpose of our existence as discovered and revealed through our bodies.

Why is It Important?

  • TOB provides a lens for us to see God’s plan of union, communion and love which brings life.


  • Satan’s plan is separation, fracture, and brokenness, which brings death.

  • TOB matters because it provides us a roadmap to happiness, human flourishing, and the satisfaction of the deepest desires of our hearts.

Our Origin & Our History

  • Christ Himself teaches us that, in order for us to understand the truth about our identity and destiny, we must look to the beginning to uncover God's intended plan for all of creation. 

  • With the entrance of original sin, the harmony of God's creation is ruptured at a foundational level. 

  • Thankfully, we are not left in our sin, and our Redeemer does not wait for us to ascend to Him. Rather, we have a Redeemer that descends into our sin and continually restores us in 'purity of heart'.

Our Destiny & Celibacy

  • Christ reveals a new dimension in the mystery of man. A new horizon is opened. Death is not the final end of man. God is God of the living. Life continues after death, and on the final day the body, too, will be resurrected. 

  • Christian celibacy is not a rejection of sexuality. Rather, it is meant to be a living out of the ultimate purpose and meaning of sexuality - union with Christ and the Church. 

Marriage & Sexual Union

  • The body has a "language" that is meant to proclaim the mystery of Christ's free, total, faithful, and fruitful love. This is precisely what spouses commit to at the altar. Marital intercourse, then, is meant to be a renewal of the marriage commitment itself, expressed not with words, but with the language of the body. 

  • All questions of sexual morality come down to one basic question: Is this act an authentic sign of God's free, total, faithful, fruitful love or is it not? If it is not, then it is a counterfeit to the love we really desire. 

Resources to Learn More

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Why We Don't Use Contraception in Our Marriage
What it Means to Submit to Your Husband
Ascension Presents

What it Means to Submit to Your Husband

Submitting to something or someone means you are “under the mission” of that someone or something; and in the case of husband and wife, the mission of the husband is to love his bride as Christ loved—and loves—the Church. Jackie says she is completely on board with being under the mission of Bobby if his mission is to love her as Christ loves the Church. If you look at Ephesians 5:21-33 passage more closely, you see it’s about a relationship of reverence and love. It’s not about who has the authority, or who wears the pants, in the marriage. It’s about the relationship between Christ and the Church. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:21-33) “This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1615) You May Also Like: Sunday Reflection: "Be Subordinate" ( MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension’s main website: Ascension Media: Ascension Presents: Ascension Blog: Ascension Podcasts: SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn: Instagram: Subscribe:
The Power of Taking Marriage Vows Before a Crucifix
Ascension Presents

The Power of Taking Marriage Vows Before a Crucifix

In Široki Brijeg, a city of about 30,000 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there is a zero-percent divorce rate. What’s their secret? Is there something in the wine given out at receptions? No. Actually, local tradition has husband-and-wife-to-be say their wedding vows over a crucifix, and then they keep that crucifix over their bed. In this video, Jackie and Bobby, who followed this tradition when they said their vows, share how that crucifix over their bed serves as a daily reminder that they need to die to self in their marriage. They also offer some tips on how to help your spouse deal with the everyday stresses of marriage, so you’re not dying to self alone. Also, make sure you check out Ascension’s Joy-Filled Marriage program, which offers many great life skills for marriage couples: MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension’s main website: Ascension Presents: Ascension Blog: Ascension Podcasts: SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn: Instagram: Subscribe:
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