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What happens to your body…

If you type the words “what happens to your” in the Google search bar, the second result is “…to your body when you die.” Seems to be a pretty intriguing question to most people!

1 Corinthians 15:44 says: 

They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

After all God has to say about the body’s significance, did you think he’d leave it out after death? 

According to that verse in 1 Corinthians, our “heavenly” bodies will be significantly different from our earthly bodies.

How? 

“The powers of the spirit (the Holy Spirit—spiritual and divine) will permeate the energies of the body” (TOB 67:1).

Why?

The spiritualization and the divinization of our body is how we will participate in the “divine communion” God intended for us. This is promised to us from the beginning when we—as man and woman—are created in God’s image. We image God’s eternal exchange of love on earth as He does in Heaven: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

This is the communion God foreshadows for us in our earthly marriages (the union of one flesh). However, the “union of the sexes” as we know it now will give way to an infinitely greater union: the union of Christ and the Church.  

Because of this, we must remember our earthly marriages are…as Christopher West puts it…a glimmer…or an icon…of something infinitely greater. 

That is what we can expect after the resurrection of our earthly body. That is why we exist! 

As Pope John Paul II so eloquently put it, “All people—regardless of their vocation—are called to prepare and perfect themselves for eternal union with God.” 

What does eternal union with God look like? 

Perfect love. 

An end to all suffering. 

Ecstatic, never-ending happiness. 

Perfect justice. 

Healing of all wounds. 

Ending of all sadness and despair. 

What great hope we have in these things! So prepare yourself emphatically. Pray for these things unceasingly. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

If you’d like to learn more about what God has to say regarding the rising/resurrection of our bodies, keep reading! 

(Continued: 1 Corinthians 15:45-57)

“The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Thanks for reading! 

The FRP Team 

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Now Serving…

We’ve learned that eros—the longing—inside of us for Love was an intended part of our makeup. God created us in His image and, because of His communion of love in accordance with the Trinity, we are made for Love.

At the same time, he continuously warns us to guard our hearts from the perversion of Love:  lurking lust and the sin of adultery. 

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

Sounds pretty clear cut, right? But don’t misunderstand His point! Although we must guard our hearts from lust, Christ encourages us NOT to suppress our desires for Love…instead, he asks that we purify our hearts towards a holy desire.

The process of purification is not a strict set of standards. Christ does not want to impose laws on us… he wants to transform our hearts to “free us from the law” (Galations 5:18) and help our “eros” reach it’s true height, according to the Creator’s original plan.

(Theology of the Body is not only an invitation, but a “road map” to understanding what this means for each of us.)

As we’ve learned, our sexuality is a major part of God’s plan for humanity. As followers of Christ, we must mature and learn to distinguish between (1) what composes the riches of sexuality/sexual attraction and (2) what compels lust. This requires what God continuously calls us to perfect: our self control. 

To grow in purity, we must train our hearts and minds to control our “passions.” It’s an act of the will. 

Christopher West uses the example of exercising a muscle. The more one sacrifices bad habits and devotes themselves to training, the stronger that muscle becomes. 

However, he rightly notes that only half the “training” comes from our own will. We MUST surrender our struggles to grace and let Christ give our desires a new, pure form. Only He can give us the power to love in God’s image.

It is NOT an easy process!

JPII writes, “Lust is not always plain and obvious; sometimes it’s concealed, so that it passes itself off as ‘love’… Does this mean we should distrust the human heart? No! We must remain in control of it.”

Sometimes lust looks a lot like love. Sometimes, it looks a lot like “fast food.” As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, Christians often feel our only two options are fast food or “starvation.”

From “A Four Letter Word for Love:”

“Erotic love (as intended), like much in our culture today, has been completely defiled. And like many spiritual things, its original intention isn’t properly understood, resulting in rejection and a sense of disgrace… leading its new meaning to be rejected and disgraced by the very people God created it for: the Church. This is a mindset we must reverse.

In the confusion, we find ourselves at a crossroads: either (1) by a pure act of the will we become stoic by repressing our desires, condemning them as “bad” or unholy…OR… (2) once we realize that “starving ourselves” of our deepest desire is not possible, we give up the fight by “consuming” immediate gratification — in whatever form it takes. —> Can also be known as “fast food” love.  

Enter: Jesus. 

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’” Matthew 16:24

A process like TAKING UP OUR CROSS (in this case, controlling our *given* desires) is not.going.to.be.easy. 

Christopher West describes it as “emotionally and physically wrenching at times.” 

Dying to lust—letting the Lord crucify impurity—is a birth of authentic love and a life as God intended it. 

However! We know that God has prepared a banquet (an everlasting wedding feast, actually—see Revelation 19:7) for those who follow Him. So there’s no such thing as “starving ourselves” and fast food can be a thing of the past! 

We pray that you’ll find peace and strength if you surrender your burdens to the Lord today. We can testify that you’ll actually lose nothing and gain everything (even though it feels like losing a lot of the time!). 

Want more Theology of the Body? 

We’re announcing a new introductory series in JUNE! Stay tuned for more information next week. 

Thank you for reading! 

The FRP Team

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An Intimate Invitation

Did you look it up?

Hosea 2:19 from last week…did you read it?

Our topic this week centers around this important verse! Here it is again:

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19

Scripture uses many images to describe God’s love/desire for us, but the “spousal analogy” is arguably the most pronounced…and maybe even most confusing one!

Drawing from the conclusions of theologians before him, Christopher West takes that analogy a step farther and makes a pretty profound statement: God wants to marry us.

Crazy, right? And these claims come from the Bible! That’s not too hard to believe though…after all, the Bible begins and ends with marriages: Adam to Eve and Christ to the Church. Patterned throughout the Bible–from bookend to bookend–you see numerous examples of God making His desires clear for us (members of His Church). Here are a few:

Song of Songs 4:9 (You saw that coming!)

“You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”

Isaiah 62:5

“For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your Maker marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”

Ephesians 5:21-32

“‘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.”

Revelation 19:7

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”

The outline these passages provide reveals an eternal plan that becomes obvious when we see the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. God himself became flesh…not just to forgive our sins (as if that wasn’t enough!), but to become “one flesh” with US, so that we could share in His eternal exchange of love.

An earthly “spousal relationship” is given to us by God to foreshadow the relationship He desires to have with each of us…for eternity!  Union with God is the ultimate relationship…the ultimate GOAL; the union of man and woman in marriage reflects and prepares us for that reality.

This is definitely a unique way of looking at our relationship with God. John Paul II recognized that “the analogy of human spousal love cannot offer an adequate and complete understanding of [the divine mystery] (emphasis mine).” This analogy simply allows us a unique glimpse into this incredibly divine mystery.

What do YOU think of spending an eternity in perfect love?  And if you pursued that now…what would it look like?

In the meantime, stay tuned for next week’s post about how/why God created men and women.

Thanks for reading!

The FRP Team

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[Repost] The Heart of the Gospel: A Divine Marriage Proposal

Blog (re)posted with permission by author Claire Hendee, originally published 10/25/16 on tobinstitute.org.

The Heart of the Gospel: A Divine Marriage Proposal

At the beginning of July, having just finished five weeks of evangelization training as a FOCUS missionary, I was given the opportunity to take the “Head and Heart Immersion” Theology of the Body course in Ave Maria, Florida. My previous experience with TOB had been minimal — a few classes in high school — but I believed that a better understanding of TOB would help with leading Bible studies and mentoring women on campus, not to mention it would more thoroughly prepare me for my vocation. What I did not expect was the impact it would have on one of our most basic evangelization strategies: sharing the gospel.

As a missionary, I am asked to share the gospel all the time. Whether it’s with a diagram, a little book, my testimony or a passage from Scripture, there are countless ways to unfold the good news of the Incarnation and to give another person the opportunity to accept and choose the love of Jesus Christ, maybe for the first time.

The gospel itself has five basic points:

  1. We were created for relationship with and adoption by God the Father;
  2. We fell in sin and broke this relationship;
  3. God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins and restore this relationship;
  4. We now have the choice to, through the Holy Spirit, accept this free gift or reject it;
  5. And we do so through active participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

Often when this message is shared, the emphasis can unfortunately rest on our sinfulness: We did not deserve Jesus’s death for us, but He chose to do it anyways. And in my experience, the well-intentioned proclamation of this good news ends up inducing feelings of guilt and shame more than anything else: “Do you not realize what Jesus did for you? How could you say no to that?!

But that’s not the heart of the gospel.

As I encountered the Theology of the Body, the gospel was revealed in a whole new light. I began to understand that, in the beginning, the Trinity — an eternal exchange of love — made man to share in that love. Earthly marriage, the love of a father and mother spilling into the new life of a child, is meant to reflect the love of the Trinity and constantly point us back to the Love for which we were created. Celibacy reminds us that, ultimately, sex is not the end but a foreshadowing of the union we are to have with Christ for eternity.

Our purpose and destiny: eternal union with Christ in Heaven.

Jesus doesn’t want to guilt us into choosing Him. He doesn’t want to merely “be in relationship” with us — he wants to marry us (in a supernatural kind of way). He wants to have a union with us even deeper than that of husband and wife…and He gives us a taste of this in the Eucharist as He, the Bridegroom, lays down His life for the Bride, the Church, on what St. Augustine calls the “marriage bed of the Cross” (Sermon Suppositus, 120:3).

WHAT? Could it be more beautiful than that?

But what struck me most is that it’s not about our sinfulness. Jesus did not become man just to conquer sin: No, there was a reason He needed to conquer sin. Sin was the very thing that was keeping this eternal marriage from being realized. So desperately did Jesus want to marry us and spend eternity with us that He was willing to do ANYTHING — whatever it took, even laying down His life — to redeem our brokenness and turn it into an opportunity for life.

For me, sharing the gospel with a woman in my Bible study or a student I meet on campus will never be the same. The heart of the gospel is that our God wants to marry us, and He was and is willing to do whatever it takes to give us the chance to accept this proposal. Though human marriage is only an icon of this eternal marriage for which we are destined, we can begin to grasp the great significance and beauty of eternal marriage through the lens of earthly marriage. At the end of the day, it’s not about our sin; it’s about the eternal marriage we were made for in the beginning.

Of course we need to take sin seriously and be aware of the impact of our choices on our souls. But we need not let shame be the driving force in our spiritual lives. If we understand that sin is what is getting in the way of this eternal marriage, we can more readily reject the false proposals from the prince of darkness and accept the loving marriage proposal of the eternal Bridegroom. And not only that, but we’ll be better equipped to share the truth of God’s beautiful love for us with others and give them the opportunity to choose it, too.

Now, when I share the gospel on campus, I realize that I’m inviting people into the marriage they were made for — the marriage for which their hearts are so desperately longing and aching. Sharing this truth with others isn’t just for FOCUS missionaries. It’s for all of us.

About the Author: A native of Knoxville, TN, Claire is a theology teacher at Bethlehem High School in Bardstown and a former missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). She currently lives in Elizabethtown, KY and is awaiting marriage in December to her fiancé, Andrew Collins. Claire loves coffee shops, good music, and Heart of the World by Hans Urs Von Balthasar.   

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An Apostolate for the Church and the Culture

I am pleased to offer a few thoughts on the importance of Family Renewal Project as an apostolate for the Church and for the culture that we find ourselves surrounded by if not battling against its errors born of secularism and individualism. I have been blessed to be a part of Family Renewal Project since its beginning and serve as its chaplain. It is to be noted that I am composing my thoughts on the 50th anniversary of one of the most profound if not prophetic teachings to be penned by a Pope in the 20th Century. While his predications may have been prophetic, Blessed Paul VI taught an eternal truth about what the Church knows and believes to be revealed by God. Cardinal DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following statement this morning, “Fifty years ago, today, Blessed Paul VI issued the Encyclical Humanae Vitae. In it, he reaffirmed the beautiful truth that a husband and wife are called to give themselves completely to each other. Marriage reflects the love of God, which is faithful, generous, and life-giving. Through their vocation, spouses cooperate with God by being open to new human life.” The Cardinal’s words could have easily been lifted from the foundational beliefs forming the mission of Family Renewal Project. [Cardinal DiNardo’s entire statement is linked HERE.]

To understand the significance of any apostolate in the Church today including Family Renewal Project, it is helpful to define the mission of an apostolate. The name itself is revealing as its root is “apostle.” The work of an apostle – not only of the first followers of Christ but of all the faithful who carry on the original mission entrusted by Jesus Christ to the Twelve – to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The apostolate belongs essentially to the order of grace. Its purpose is not temporal welfare, however noble, but to bring people to the knowledge and love of Christ and, through obedience to His teaching, help them attain life everlasting. To this end, the mission of Family Renewal Project is to rely on the order of grace that gives us access to God’s power through the work of the Holy Spirit. If it is truly of God and relies on His help along with the powerful intercessors in Heaven such as Saint John Paul II, many disciples will be made and will live the truth in freedom by the success of this apostolate.

In his “theology of the body,” based on discourses at his weekly general audiences during the first five years of his papacy, Saint John Paul II examined the first three books of Genesis to recommunicate a fundamental truth the Church has defended across the centuries — the inalienable dignity of the human person, the imago Dei [image of God], who is called to communion through his physical body. He takes us back to Genesis, encouraging us to see creation through the lens of God the Father and His eyes gazing upon the beauty of His image made visible in man and woman. Family renewal as an apostolate is a response to an “upside-down world” looking at the human person through the lens of selfishness that condemns sacrifice and belittles chastity, which leads to empty and vacant souls with no longing for eternal life. The doubts and emptiness are intimately and intrinsically connected to the culture’s view of sex, marriage, and procreation. The evidence of this truth is impossible to ignore: the rapid decline in marriage and fertility rates, matched by the promotion of same-sex “marriage” and the more recent campaign to separate gender identity from biological sex. Buffeted by these powerful secular currents, based on a relativized and individualistic conception of sexuality, Catholics are increasingly tempted to devise their own system of sexual ethics.

Instead of being concerned with what is really true (what God has revealed) there is a tendency to find comfort and solace in the expectation that no matter what we do, everything will turn out okay, and no one seems to get hurt in the misguided choices and decisions that are rightfully mine to make. Responsibility leading to freedom corrects this anthropology. Family Renewal Project serves as a corrective in today’s secular culture – not unlike the Twelve did in the 1st Century culture.

When Catholics – and all men and women – reverence the gift of life by living out their sexuality within marriage with an openness to the possibility of life — even at those times when this proves very challenging — they are affirming the goodness of creation and serving as God’s collaborators. Catholics may dismiss the Church’s ban on contraception as an arbitrary rule but what the Church teaches about the family, marriage, and sexuality tells us about who we are and what our communion with God should be in this life in preparation for the next.

As a member of the Family Renewal Project team – an apostolate for the Church and the Culture – please join us and pray for us so that all who are drawn to salvation in Christ will remember every day, “And He looked upon all He had made and saw that it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

 

– Very Rev. Martin A. Linebach

 

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Welcome to FRP!

Thank you for reading the inaugural blog post on our brand new website! Things are hoppin’ around FRP headquarters and we are so excited to share some of those happenings with you! First I want to share a few things we’ve done SO FAR this year before going into all the things we’re looking forward to.

– This spring we created and completed an FRP original study for high school girls called The Pursuit.

Here are co-leaders, Haley and Monica, working on content.

Picture of Catholic Group Leaders

Visit our webpage to learn more about The Pursuit and how you can get involved!

– Wine and Wonder, our Women’s Book Club, recently ended, but  you can read all about it in a blog post HERE!

– A few weeks ago we were fortunate to be the guest speaker for  Louisville Young Catholics’ monthly pub night. We had a GREAT turnout, with even more collaborative efforts to look forward to. Be sure to follow them on Facebook…they host great events for Young Catholic Adults!

Young Catholics Group in Louisville

All of this has been inspiring new events and we’ve been doing a lot of planning lately. In the next few months, you can expect:

  • Movie Series + Discussions
  • Fall Wine and Wonder session
  • Catholic Young Mom’s Book Study
  • Natural Family Planning (NFP) Support Group
  • Catholic High School Guy’s and Girl’s Groups
  • TOB Series for Catholic Couples
  • Catholic Young Adults Series + Events
  • Louisville Young Catholics Collaboration

All of our programming is centered around Theology of the Body (TOB) and its mission to help us live and love more authentically.

Theology of the Body cover page Louisville

We have PLENTY of resources we’ll be sharing for those interested in learning more about TOB…whether that’s through books or one of our upcoming events.

So take a look around! Meet the team, look for Upcoming Events and browse around our Resources page for some of our favorite books and videos.

Are you signed up to receive periodic updates from us? If not, you can do that HERE!

In addition to our website, you can now find us on Facebook and Instagram…so give us a follow! (We’ll be doing a DRAWING for all our new followers that you don’t want to miss out on.)

Thank you for your support of FRP!

God Bless!