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Week 1 Questions
- What is a “triptych”? A “triptych” is a double-hinged 3 faced icon. If, for instance, it concerned the Birth of the Lord, the center would be an icon of the Birth of Our Lord in Bethlehem, the right side the Annunciation and the far left, the Visitation. However, In this case of TOB, Pope John Paul II gives us the “3 Words of Christ” that give us an “authentic Christocentric anthropology. These are NOT 3 individual words, but 3 Scripture passages, that Christ uses, to teach us the authentic truth of humanity” from Genesis to the Resurrection & Ascension of the Lord. Since God becomes human in the Incarnation, “theology” is no longer the “study of God” but now the “study of the New Man, the New Adam, Jesus Christ”. In Chapter 1, Our Lord tells us what He, Yahweh, meant “from the beginning” about the indissolubility of marriage in Genesis, which teaches us the true meaning of humanity, before sin. The 3 Original Experiences of : Original Solitude, Original Unity and Original Naked without Shame, is perennial God-given design of our creation “in the image & likeness of God”. This is essential information if we are to understand how Christ saves us, not only repaying and repairing sin, but infinitely perfecting and fulfilling Genesis, through the Incarnation, Salvation, Redemption, Resurrection & Ascension of our humanity in Christ.
- How does JPII use it to give us an “authentic Christocentric anthropology”? JPII goes to Christ, who is the Yahweh/Creator of Genesis, the Adonaih (Bridegroom) and the Messiah, Christ and Redeemer who saves us. His teaching is infallible since Christ, is God-made-man, who tells us what HE intended our creation to be from Genesis. It is an infallible teaching since God is definitively explaining God’s Word to us.
- What is startling about the creation of man in the “image and likeness of God” as the pinnacle of Creation? We are the only creatures created “in the image & likeness of God”. This not only means that we have reason & intellect, which sets us apart from animals. But, in the body, we are the pinnacle of creation, since we are the only creatures who make visible, the “love and sincere gift of self, in a communion of person” within the Trinity, through our “two-in-one flesh union”. In fact, the body, and it alone, is capable of making visible not only the soul but the Divine. It is our capacity “to beget” that most makes us in the “image & likeness of God”, since we, like God, can beget, we can create other persons, who are sacraments, like us.
- In what way are we more like God even than angels? We are most in the “image & likeness of God” in our capacity “to beget”, since, like God, we can create others like us. Even angels cannot do this. Our capacity “to beget” is the single-most significant ability that we have that makes visible “the sincere gift of self in a communion of persons” like the Trinity.
- What does it mean when JPII states “the body, and it alone, makes visible both the spiritual and the divine”? The “body, and it alone” was created to make visible “the sincere gift of self and communion of persons” within the Trinity, through our two-in-one flesh union. The body, and it alone, makes visible the human person, the soul of each person, and make visible the love of the Trinity, that is infinitely shared between Adam and Eve.
- What “organ of the soul” enable Adam and Eve to both “see God, speak with God and walk with God each day in the breezy part of the afternoon in Eden”? What “organ of the soul” has atrophied due to SIN? In Original Innocence, before the Fall in sin, Adam & Eve had undamaged conscience, which, as the organ of the soul to see good, was not only capable of discerning what is right and wrong, but capable of seeing through the body, to the soul, able to see God in the soul at the same time.
- When Adam and Eve looked at each other, what difference did they experience in this “look” than when we “look”? With undamaged conscience, Adam & Eve could see each other with the simplicity and purity of God, able to see through the body to the soul and able to see God in the soul. Before sin, they were “naked without shame” since they were created as “very good” “in the image & likeness of God”.
- What is the difference between “Original Sin” and “Personal Sin”? It is essential to note that the word “sin” in “Original Sin” and “Personal Sin” is NOT the same word. It is like saying: “I WALK on the WALK.” One is a verb and the other a noun. In the case of “Personal Sin” there are 3 conditions: Do you know what is right or wrong? Are you free to act? Do you choose to sin anyway? So, it is important to note that both Adam & Eve KNEW what was right and wrong, they were FREE to choose but they chose to sin anyway. THEREFORE, they committed “PERSONAL SIN”. The difference between there sin and ours is that their sin was the FIRST SIN, therefore it damage the whole and rest of humanity. It is precisely this damage, the result of their Personal Sin which is Original Sin. This is the fact that each of us are born with a God-sized-hole in our heart & soul. We have a tendency towards sin since we are bruised by sin. However, for any child to be born with “Original Sin” does not mean that they are personally culpable or responsible. It states that they are born without God’s Indwelling Presence which is what we need to be “Very Good” according to Genesis.
- What does JPII mean when he says the “faith and reason resonate with each other”? For Pope John Paul II, a personalist approach speaks to the heart and experience of each person, allowing them to realize that the deepest longings of their heart & soul are still there from Genesis, a longing for the Abiding Presence of God to make us “very good” & holy, and the ability to have human love supernaturally empowered to love with the power of God’s love. In this way the teachings of faith resonate with the experience of the person, they seem reasonable, available and practical. They do not seem as if they are arbitrarily imposed from outside.
- Why does he think that a “personalist” approach to explaining the faith will work better than how the Church taught in the past? For Pope John Paul II, the shift in the world view to subjectivism, which stress feelings over objective truth, means that it is only in speaking to the heart of the person that there will be any willingness to listen and follow the teachings of the Church. In the past, the authoritarian and objective tone worked for a time, but now it is seen as offensive and insensitive.
Week 2 Questions
- In answering the Pharisees question about divorce, Jesus does not rely on human authority, either the current rabbis or Moses. Who does he appeal to for the answer? Jesus bypasses the opinion of contemporary rabbis, and even Moses, appealing to no human authority, but to the Divine authority in Genesis: “What God has joined man must not divide.” He is stating that the Divine Plan and design for man may have been forgotten by us, due to sin, we may have strayed far from God’s Original Intent, but Genesis is still in effect in our hearts and souls. The Original holiness, faithfulness, love & truth of Genesis still endues. In fact, it is what we still most long for.
- What is the significance of Jesus stating “in the beginning”? Jesus does not appeal to any human authority, either the current rabbis or Moses, but goes straight to Genesis, both accounts, the Elohist (Chapter 1) and the Yahwist (Chapter 2), for God’s Original Intent and Design from Genesis. This is authoritative, since Jesus is Yahweh, He is appealing to His Own Design and Intent, authoritatively defining the Divine Intent that was never cancelled.
- For JPII, why is it important that we cross this “boundary” or “horizon” to go back to the “beginning”? For JPII, although we walked out of Eden, Eden did not leave us. Although Genesis seems like a “boundary” or “horizon” that is behind us, that we cannot access, for Jesus, the longings deep within our hearts and souls endure and remain insistent “from the beginning”. Even if we seek other things, such as sin, to “appease these deep longings”, these longings remain as an “insatiability of the gift”, as a loneliness in the heart, if the heart does not receive love, and as a sense of emptiness and longing if the soul does not have God as the center and source of our source of goodness & love, “very good”, sacred, with God indwelling and abiding within us.
- “Eloihim” and “Yahweh” are names for God particularly in which books of Genesis? The first chapter of Genesis predominantly uses the name of “Eloihim” for God, therefore it is called the “Eloihist account”. The second chapter of Genesis predominantly uses the name of “Yahweh” for God, therefore it is called the “Yahwist account”. Although the Eloihist account, in Genesis, comes first, it is in fact a later account. Nevertheless it is the most transcendent account, giving us a clear understanding of our humanity most in the image and likeness of God, male and female, not to be reduced to animals. Yet, while the Yahwist account, in Genesis, comes second, it is in fact the earlier account. In the Yahwist account, adam is created from the “clay of the earth” and Eve is created from his rib. This account speaks of how we, as human beings, are related to this world, and one another.
- What is the importance of the name “Adonaih” in our relationship with God? For the pagans, their word for God would be “Baal”, which is the same as a prostitute calling the man “John”; which means the relationship has no rights, but only lasts so long as “Baal” is appeased. However, with the Israelites (and Christians) our relationship to Yahweh, is the same as Sarah to Abraham, since she called him “Adonaih”, which not only means that he is her legitimate husband, but that she is his covenental legitimate wife, and that their son has full inheritance rights. Our relationship with Yahweh, as Adonaih, is the same as Isaac to Abraham.
- What does it mean to for man to be created “in God’s image and likeness”? The startling reason why St. John Paul II is called “The Great” is that he corrects both St. Augustine & St. Thomas Aquinas on the understanding of the human person in the “image & likeness of God, since it is not just that we have “reason & intellect” that sets us above animals, but even more important is that, like God, we can “beget”, we can “create other persons”, we can “create others who are sacrament”.
- What capacity do we have as human beings that makes us “like God” in a way that even angels cannot imitate? If our “reason & intellect” were the most defining characteristic of our existence, then angels would practically surpass us infinitely. However, there is only one quality that we have, that God has, that angels do not have… the capacity to “beget”. Angels cannot “beget”. Therefore, we are most in the “image & likeness of God through our capacity to “beget”, since, like God, we can create other “persons”, who are in the “image & likeness of God”.
- What are the 3 “original” experiences? “Original Innocence”, which is the “very good” experience before sin, is how we are “in the image & likeness of God”; this has 3 experiences: “Original Solitude,Original Unity & Original Naked but free from shame”. These most early (or primordial) experiences are essential if we are to understand what the “salvation” or “redemption” of Christ fulfils in us. “Original Solitude” is “adam”, naming the world, feeling alone from the world, but having a “one-on-one with God”. Although the Jewish approach to Genesis skips quickly over this experience, in order to get to Eve, then her children, however, in light of the Resurrection, this Original experience of Solitude is fulfilled by the First Commandment, that we “love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength”, and in light of the Resurrection, that all of us will be “face to face with God”, which is our eternal destiny, as the Bride of Christ, in the “heart of the Father”, in the “Eternal Banquet of the Lamb & His Bride. “Original Unity“ is the experience of adam, placed unconscious (taken and recreated) as ISH &ISHA, male & female, when Eve is formed from Adam’s rib. He exclaims “This at last is bone of my bone & flesh of my flesh”. He recognizes her immediately as a fellow human being, an enfleshed soul, with a Covenental relationship with Yahweh, who is a friend, companion, help-mate, sister and bride. Here, “help-mate” means foundation and defence. Notice that Adam recognizes everything else about Eve first, with the sexual awareness as the last in seeing her as Bride. “Original naked without Shame”: Before sin, Adam & Eve had the gift of undamaged conscience, which is the organ of the soul to see & know good. It meant that Adam could look at Eve and not only see her body, but also her soul, and see God dwelling within her. This look is a pure and simple gaze which is an ability to see one another as God does. Since the body is the sacred sign of the Sacrament of Marriage, the body is seen as the conduit of God’s Indwelling Life. The whole of our humanity, body and soul, is seen as sacred and beautiful.
Week 3 Questions
- How do we stand alone before God, ‘alone’ in the world, and ‘alone’ without a helpmate? In Original Solitude, adam had a one-on-one with God, which is not only our first experience, but the most important experience of our life, whom we should love “with all our heart, mind, soul and strength”; this is fulfilled in eternity with the Banquet of the Lamb & His Bride. He feels alone in the world because he recognized matter, plants & animals as different than himself, none are “persons in the image & likeness of God”. He recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone.
- What does a “helpmate” mean and why is woman taken from the rib? Eve is taken from the rib as co-equal to Adam, with the same dignity & humanity. As “helpmate” she is a “foundation & defense” for him.
- What does ‘naked with shame’ mean? After sin, Divine Life is no longer present within our humanity, which collapses heart, mind, soul and body from the Original integrity and blessedness. No longer is spousal love a Primordial Sacrament. No longer is the body the sacred sign and conduit for the Infinite holiness and love of God to be given & received by Adam & Eve through their spousal love. No longer is conscience undamaged, leaving them unable to see past the body to the soul. Instead, Adam can “look” at Eve with lust, as an object of desire for selfish pleasure. The sense of shame is the awareness that persons are no longer loved and protected but are now appropriated as an object to be used. The quantum loss of the Divine Indwelling Presence is the major cause for this sense of shame as well.
- What does a ‘disinterested gift of self’ mean? For John Paul II, a “disinterested gift of self” is the exact opposite of ‘no interest’. It is the complete gift of self to the other, full ,free, faithful & fruitful, in an unconditional, irrevocable, free, non-manipulative, no conditions or strings attached, kind of love & gift of self. The best example of this is Christ dying on the cross to forgive our sins. It is pure gift asking nothing in return.
- Why is it essential that we understand original innocence? For us to understand how Christ saves and redeems us, we have to understand who we were originally created to be in Genesis. Christ comes not only to repair and repay sin, he comes to completely fulfill Genesis in an infinitely new way.
- How is the body as ‘sacred sign’ the foundation of the primordial sacrament? Each sacrament uses as “sacred sign”, which is something of this world that is finite, material and visible, that “efficaciously” makes present and visible the “invisible”, the Divine Presence of God, which is “Grace”. In the case of Adam & Eve, human flesh is the “sacred sign” or the “efficacious” conduit through which God’s Divine Life is made present & visible in this world.
Week 4 Questions
- What is the difference between the legitimate look of spousal desire between husband and wife and the look of desire that is a sin? xxxx
- How does concupiscence corrupt our relationship to others and cast doubt on the gift? xxxx
- How does sin cause shame, the need to cover and hide? xxxx
- How does sin change original nakedness into shame? xxxx
- How does sin break our relationship with God, the world, others and even within our own selves? xxxx
- What is the difference between how Adam experiences shame and how Eve experiences shame? xxxx
Week 5 Questions
- Why is the look of desire wrong? xxxxx
- What’s wrong with treating another as an object rather than a subject? xxxx
- What is the difference between Adoniah and Baal? xxxx
- What rights do a woman and her children have in relationship to Adoniah and Baal? xxxx
- Why is it so significant to understand sin not just of the body but of the heart? xxxx
- In Matt 5:29 Christ speaks of ‘tearing out your eye’…’cutting off your hand’ why is it so important to understand that he is addressing the human spirit not the body? xxxx
Week 6 Questions
- What does St. Paul mean by the “flesh” or St. John mean by the “world”? xxxx
- How does this stand against a proper understanding of our body and soul? xxxx
- Why does St. Paul say the flesh cannot please God? xxxx
- How does the Spirit give true human freedom and the fullest realization and use of the powers of the human spirit? xxxx
- How does concupiscence make us incapable of freedom in the true gift of self? xxxx
- How does the body demand modesty? xxxx
- How is shame essential for preserving reverence for the body? xxxx
- In what two ways is man “body” no longer his own? xxxx
- Why is an authentic Christocentric anthropology of extreme importance and relevance today? xxxx
- Why would JPII say that pornography does not reveal too much but too little of the person? xxxx
WEEK 7 QUESTIONS
- What is JPII understanding of the “three words of Christ” as a Triptych? xxxx
- How does this reveal the full meaning of God through the human body in spousal love? xxxx
- Explain the quote that Jesus uses to proclaim the resurrection of the body and life everlasting with God? xxxx
- What is the new meaning of the body in the resurrection? xxxx
- What about the conjugal meaning of the body in eternal life? xxxx
- What is the Pauline interpretation of the resurrection in light of the full meaning of creation and humanity? xxxx
- How is the resurrection of the body our authentic “spiritual body”? xxxx
- In what sense does a life of virginity or celibacy for “kingdom of heaven” anticipate the resurrection of the body and the heavenly life without marriage? xxxx
- What is Paul’s understanding between the relationship between virginity and marriage? xxxx
WEEK 8 QUESTIONS
- What is the definition of a sacrament? xxxx
- In quoting St. Paul, how does JPII use the word mystery to explain the bond between Christ and his Church? xxxx
- How is the spousal love of God to be ‘two in one flesh’ fulfilled through the Incarnation? xxxx
- How is the body a sacred sign and spousal love a Primordial sacrament of grace? xxxx
- How does JPII explain the Eucharist as Christ’s spousal love? xxxx
- How does Pope Benedict describe the Eucharist incorporating us into Christ? xxxx
- How does the model of Christ loving the Church help our understanding of spousal love? xxxx
- How does the husband and wife become ‘a single subject’ without losing their individuality? xxxx
- What does disinterested love mean? xxxx
WEEK 9 QUESTIONS
- How does PJII tie the vows of marriage as sacred sign into the ‘language of the body’ as sacred sign? xxxx
- What does PJII mean by prophetism of the body and what biblical texts express the great analogy? xxxx
- What does JPII mean when he speaks of the essential ‘truth’ of the language of the body conversely how can we negate or falsify conjugal love? xxxx
- How does the liturgy of marriage express itself through the language of the body in the liturgy of spousal love? xxxx
- Using the Song of Songs how does PJII re-emphasize ‘wonder’ and the reciprocal respect of ‘my sister- my bride’? xxxx
- Why does Eros have to include the ‘disinterested love’ of Agape? xxxx
- How does JPII use the prayer of Tobias and Sarah to show the language of the spousal vows in marriage in light of the conjugal language of the body? xxxx
WEEK 10 QUESTIONS
- How does JPII tie the marital vows into the truth of Humanae Vitae? xxxx
- What are the two meaning of the conjugal act and why must they be inseparable? xxxx
- How does an authentic, Christocentric, anthropology help us to understand the goodness and reasonableness of the Church’s moral norms with regard to spousal love? xxxx
- How does of Pope Paul IV and PJII differ in its pastoral approach regarding Humanae Vitae? xxxx
- How is it harder to reject the approach the PJII takes? xxxx
- Why is contraception a lie against the language of the body? xxxx
- What does the Church teach, that we need, if we are to have dominion over our instincts? xxxx
- Why should NFP not be merely a ‘natural’ means to an end, but a growth in holiness? xxxx
- How does the ‘language of the body’ as taught by JPII help us to have a greater reverence and awe for NFP? xxxx