I discovered the Calix Society in February of 2022. Within days I connected with a friend in that fellowship that also loved St. John Paul II's great work on human anthropology known as "A Theology of the Body" (TOB). Together we established a Thursday night Calix Zoom meeting for the purpose of drawing out the implications of TOB for those of us in recovery from one or more addictions.
What exactly is Theology of the Body?
It is an all encompassing Bible study delving deeply into human anthropology that is hard to capture in any sort of pithy summary. Nevertheless every Thursday evening around 8pm EST we read the following summary statement:
Theology of the Body is the collected teaching of our beloved St. John Paul II. It is an extended Bible Study on what it means to be created as male and female human beings. It was delivered in his Wednesday Teaching Audiences from 1979 – 1984. (Collected in the book you see pictured here: Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body.)
TOB can be summed up in five powerful and rather startling words that express the heart of the gospel message: God wants to Marry us! Yes, God is our Creator, Father, Shepherd, King, Friend, Counselor and Guide… all of these are true, but the boldest word picture throughout scripture points to God as our Spouse. Jesus is our Bridegroom and humanity is His bride, if, of course, we accept his marriage proposal. This is not a shotgun wedding.
TOB redeems human sexuality and raises it as the highest icon of God’s love for us. This Good News has been seen as the antidote for the sexual revolution. However, a proper understanding of ourselves as persons created by God - body and soul, male and female - is critical in all areas of life. Recovery from all forms of addiction is certainly one of those areas. It is with this in mind that we in the Calix Society are focusing this meeting on becoming familiar with TOB by reading and discussing appropriate documents and books for that purpose. Many people have found it to be a true game changer in their recovery and spiritual growth in general. Such is our hope as well.
Since this meeting began in May of 2022 we have covered several documents. The group agreed that it might be beneficial to list all that we've discussed thus far both for our own reference and for newcomers that may want to catch up.______________________________
Summer 2022: We read and discussed Bill Donaghy's TOB presentation to The Calix Society.
A little bit of research revealed that a teacher from the Theology of the Body Institute spoke at the August 2011 Calix Society Retreat in Philadelphia. It seemed only logical to read through a transcript of his presentation and the Q&A that followed.
Fall 2022 through February of 2023: We read and discussed "Fill These Hearts" by Christopher West.
Click here to listen to yours truly reading it.
(For personal study only please.)
Lent 2023: We read and discussed three sermons with a TOB flavor from the Papal Preacher Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa.
These sermons grew a couple of new Visio Divina cards on the grounds of Photon Farms which you can see by clicking here. By the way, show and tell from Farmer Fred's icon collection is a regular part of our Thursday night Calix meetings.
Easter 2023 to present: We are reading and discussing Dr. Brant Pitre's book "Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told".
The author insists that it made perfect sense to many of the Jews of Jesus day. With painstaking patience and very readable scholarship, Dr. Pitre is teaching us to view Jesus' death, burial and resurrection through ancient Jewish eyes. It brings alive all the spousal imagery from the Old and New Testaments and ancient Jewish commentary.
Though Theology of the Body is never once mentioned in the book, its most basic theme is "God wants to marry us" which as we noted above is the best five word summary of TOB you'll ever get.
If you want to get in on the fun, come and join us some Thursday evening at 8pm EST on Zoom from wherever you are! Go to the Calix Society website to find out how! There are no dues or fees, all that is needed is an interested in recovery and Theology of the Body to attend.