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Honoring the temple of the soul

 

If I am a person of faith -- as a Christian, this means to love as Christ loves -- then I must love and I must speak, and I will risk offending those I love and care about, and I will risk making you uncomfortable to call us back to who and what we are called to be and do.

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you should also love one another” (John 13:34-35).

I didn’t see it, but the vivid descriptions and still photos of the performance are more than enough to tell the sad, sordid tale. A young celebrity, once a child star, trying to break out of her perceived mold, indulged in a display on worldwide television that was shocking and, yes, pornographic.

Many have expressed shock and questioned her motives. Others wonder at what this says about the morals of our country and world, that such a display would air -- without the producers or TV executives batting an eyelid -- during prime time, as many young music fans watched.

The young woman -- no longer a child -- is lovely in form and talent, a testament to the Creator of all life. Her performance, as so many things today, denies the sacredness of the human body and our Creator’s intent.

The body is a thing of beauty. No two the same, yet all sharing the same function -- a vessel containing an even greater beauty and treasure, the immortal soul, created in the image of God.

The body isn’t evil. It isn’t an object to be the target of lust. It is a vessel, beautiful in and of itself, imbued with greater beauty because of the sacred task it performs.

But our culture is one of selfishness, lust, death, and destruction, targeting bodies as objects to be used, abused, and worse.

And this young woman, for reasons I can only surmise, subscribed to the ideas that to get the attention she seeks to assuage needs only she knows, it was necessary to objectify her body, depersonalize and degrade herself and all women, deny the sanctity and beauty of the human form, and denigrate -- desecrate -- the incredible beauty inherent in the act of love. The display had nothing to do with love. Blatantly absent were self-love, love and consideration for others, respect for self and others, and honor for the incredible life in her body and soul. It speaks volumes for who and what we are, and the direction our culture has taken.

What also speaks volumes is the response from many.

Yes, families and people of faith have viewed this as a teachable moment, taking the time to speak with sons and daughters about the body, its form and function, love and self-love, and self-respect, modesty, and more. But some, who profess faith, see nothing wrong in sharing jokes and images making fun of the performance. One image circulating on the Internet is difficult to erase, and further debased the young woman and the act she simulated. It was shared -- and laughed about -- by many professing to be Christians.

Where is the love? Where is the faith?

“This is how they will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Love would cover the young woman. Love would counsel her about treating her body as sacred, not an object. Love would, at least, pray for her.

We, who profess faith, must act in love in response to such things.

To joke and share such images further objectifies this woman, and all people. And it is anything but loving.

And it shames me to profess faith and not to speak out.

How can I face my daughter and son, how can I talk to them about their worth as people and to regard themselves and their bodies and those of others as sacred, to be honored and respected, cared for and loved, as the sacred vessels they are, if I don’t speak?

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you should also love one another” (John 13:34-35).

“... For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Luke 6:38).

Masses at St. Ann Catholic Church are at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., noon (Spanish), and 5:30 p.m. Visit www.stannslv.org for more information. Listen to a homily from one of the weekend Masses, now available on the parish website. Click on “News” on the home page.

 
 
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