Monday, April 30, 2007

Theology of the Body & my little sister

A little sister is always a little sister, although my 'little' sister turns 21 this year.. When she was studying here in Singapore, we spent many hours discussing many things under the sun, philosophy being a perennial favorite. Last night over skype conversation about work and how much it occupies our time, our conversation strayed, or rather, guided, towards Theology of the Body.

(The style here is somewhat like a chat transcript... it is! Some parts were written in Bahasa Indonesia, I'll translate whenever necessary).

In which she asked why God endures human
LittleSister says: a week ago i asked myself why god endures human
Antonia says: i have a theory :) what's yours?
LittleSister says: if i were him....udah lau cau aku ancurin dunia ini.... (Ed. I'd just destroy this world) create new world filled with golden retrievers and faithful creatures with no free will
Antonia says: go on...
LittleSister says: every creation is subject to my sin required
LittleSister says: then the answer just came....
LittleSister says: abraham asked god if he would spare sodom and gomorrah if abraham could find 5 faithful people in the town
LittleSister says: but he couldn't of course
LittleSister says: the extent of his mercy.....that's just something my all-too-human mind cannot comprehend

In which I brought up Theology of the Body to provide answer to the dilemma above
Antonia says: i was studying "theology of the body" for some talks
Antonia says: have you heard of it, ToB?
LittleSister says: yeah......sulit dipercaya (Ed. hard to believe) .....ada (Ed. there exists) someone who can love a creature as treacherous as human
LittleSister says: read abt it in the book "faith explained"

Antonia says: :) what did you learn from ToB?
Antonia says: i mean, what does it mean to you?
LittleSister says: it means god exists!
Antonia says: :) Antonia says: well, ok, so here's sharing my short theory
Antonia says: remember how adam was given a "helper" "fit" for him...
LittleSister says: ehmmm..... so?
Antonia says: (ToB always meditates back to the genesis as the 'ideal' vision of man before Fall)
Antonia says: there are a few points:
Antonia says: 1st, man was created to 'lord over' all the other creatures, remember?
LittleSister says: yes
Antonia says: adam gave each one 'names', etc. but he knew, none of them are his equal
Antonia says: because they have no will + intellect (having which makes one human)
Antonia says: so when God created woman, adam found an equal
Antonia says: someone equal in dignity
Antonia says: so in crude & short form, adam is likened to God (who lords over creatures), and adam+eve are likened to God+human
Antonia says: you see, the greatest love is found in agape + eros
Antonia says: agape -> loving totally, selflessly, without expecting anything;
eros -> to love with expectation of love being returned (or something like that)
Antonia says: when these 2 happen concurrently, that's when we're happiest, no? this mirrors God + Son + Holy Spirit (the exchange of eros+agape -> is so real it becomes a 3rd person!)
Antonia says: now, God with his omnipotence does not find creatures "equal in dignity" to love!
Antonia says: because they had no freewill + intellect
LittleSister says: i considered that too!
Antonia says: so when man was made, it was in "image & likeness" of Himself
Antonia says: (notice the similar language as when Eve was created out of Adam)
LittleSister says: rite!
Antonia says: it was created so that He'd have something (someone) to love!
Antonia says: but since the best/purest form of love is both agape+eros,
Antonia says: in order to love back, the subject of love, must necessarily have free will!

In which "Why Jesus had to die" is brought up
LittleSister says: but my point is more like form God's Point of View
Antonia says: otherwise, like a golden retriever that comes affectionately to you, he doesn't do that because he loves you, but because he instinctively needs you to ensure his survival
LittleSister says: you know org putus cinta bisa sampe bunuh diri.... (Ed. A broken-hearted person can sometimes kill himself) imagine..!
Antonia says: but God cannot deny himself through suicide!
Antonia says: He did the next best thing... sent his Son down to die
Antonia says: (allowed Him to be killed in such inhumane manner)
LittleSister says: if you're've been betrayed so many times by so many ppl....imagine the pain he must suffer
Antonia says: yeah, that's why.. the only one who can repair it was another like God
Antonia says: in fact, it is another person of God Himself
Antonia says: the 2nd person is Jesus
LittleSister says: which absolutely cannot be human
LittleSister says: must possess divinity
LittleSister says: as well, you mean?

Antonia says: yeah.. i mean, if you owe someone 100billion,
Antonia says: and say, ok we're settling it for $10, how fair would it be to the creditor?
Antonia says: he'll be cheated & insulted
LittleSister says: yeah!
Antonia says: the only thing that can compensate this grievous hurt, was one like Himself
Antonia says: the final aim is to make us "equal" to Him... so that one day it's not only God is love, but also,
Antonia says: "LittleSister is love"
Antonia says: and
Antonia says: "Antonia is love"
LittleSister says: i never realized i would turn into a philosopher myself
Antonia says: :) philosophy is not always for idle thought
Antonia says: but to defend our own existential thought and our faith!
LittleSister says: i've never been one for idle thought
LittleSister says: yes.....otherwise, i couldn't understand

Antonia says: do you see it now? :)
LittleSister says: i cannot leap by faith alone!
Antonia says: i hope this very limited ToB insight have shed some light...
LittleSister says: yes,.....thanks!
LittleSister says: it occured to me as well....

Antonia says: great :) He doesn't want mere golden retrievers

In which she 'gets' it!
LittleSister says: that if i can create a beautiful golden retriever subject to my eliminate possibility of sin occuring like in Adam
LittleSister says: who loves me and i love in return....i would know that it loves me solely because i programmed it to do so
LittleSister says: not an equal love

Antonia says: BINGO!
LittleSister says: freely given and earned
Antonia says: :D Dear, you've learnt so much!!!!!
LittleSister says: honestly....i'm a bit apprehensive with the amount of philosophy that i accumulated since my arrival in hK
LittleSister says: Well.. tapi yah mo gimana lagi (Ed. what else can I do)
LittleSister says: can you imagine the amount of grace i have my questions answered each week in the church mass

Antonia says: :D
LittleSister says: either unwittingly by the priest....father eugene....
Antonia says: that's a great grace to answer such!
LittleSister says: or through the reading or through my own brilliant food for thought :)
Antonia says: not so humble though...
LittleSister says: it's a great joke on me! the not so humble personality
LittleSister says: that charms know deep inside i'm not like that

Antonia says: anyway, you know, in the history of salvation, God did try to 'destroy' the unfaithful world (sodom & gomorrah, through Noah's flood) but it wasn't enough

In which she 'gets' it the 2nd time!
LittleSister says: coz the only way to keep evil and sins away is to take away our freewill
LittleSister says: always thought i'd end up being a career woman with loads of money and no time for idle philosophy!
LittleSister says: ... and many golden's more like a picture or mental image of a person who's looking forward to satisy all her desires

Antonia says: but perhaps, finding only a mirage in them
LittleSister says: ... and cravings of earthly wants....not realizing that even the economists would identify it as law of diminishing marginal utility
LittleSister says: i imagine if god's grace didn't stop me in time.... i'd be on my way to become that bloated individual who have so much and am thankful of none and am not satisfied by anything..

Sometimes it's in the unlikeliest people we find occasions to share the marvel! The 129 Papal audiences in which our beloved Pope John Paul II the Great expounded on the Theology of the Body is now online here:

(Hat-tip to KM!)

1 comment:

Virgin said...

What a marvelous discussion between Little sister and Big Sister ladies really talked at length....with much freedom, great latitude and things for the mind to ponder on.

Wish i were part of this great discussion? Maybe I just might strike it up to another dimension. I love it so much when it comes to discussing philosophy and theology. .
...the creator becoming a mere creature.....
---what about the great myths about the creation of the world?

With our world becoming a global village, someday I do hope that I will definitely be part of such great discussions, whether from home(pc/internet/phone) or from any where.

Anyway just wanted to let you know that it was a lovely idea making such a discussion available for viewing to your blog visitors, even though we weren't physically present though.

Keep it up, ANTHONIA and don't forget to say hi to your little sister for me.

Been so busy lately with life, expect a mail from me soon.

Just a friend