13th General Audience, January 2, 1980
1. An exterior perception of nakedness, but also interior dimension that shares in the vision of the Creator himself, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” Gen. 1:31. Nakedness means the original good of the divine vision. The pure value of man as male and female, the pure value of the body and its sex.Through the mystery of creation, the man and woman, see each other more fully, than through the sense of sight. Looking at each other with the peace of an interior gaze, creating the fullness of the intimacy of persons.
This interior gaze of tranquility, the personal intimacy is not threatened or troubled because their gaze communicates the fullness of humanity which in them is reciprocal and complementary, as male and female. They communicate the gift they are to each other, masculinity and femininity. Through this reciprocity of complementarity of male and female, they reach an understanding of the meaning of their own bodies.
The original meaning of nakedness corresponds to the simplicity and fullness of vision. In the communio personarum, communion of persons, the basis of their understanding of the meaning of the body, born from the heart. In Gen. 2:23-25 the man and the woman emerge at the very “beginning” with the consciousness of the meaning of their own bodies.
Spousal meaning of the body
Man is created in the image of God, Jesus addressing the Pharisees goes back to the “beginning,” (Mt. 19:3-9). Original solitude, unity nakedness. Man and woman constitute two diverse ways of “being a body” - in the unity of this image.God creates out of nothing, the world into existence and man into existence because God is love (1Jn. 4:8) < God saw that…indeed it was very good. Gn. 1:31.
Love is the divine motion for creation. This is also an act of giving, where the gift comes into being out of nothing. Creation is a gift: because man appears in it. Man receives the world as a gift and the world receives man as a gift. Man receives the other human being as a gift.
14th General Audience, January 9, 1980
Second account of creation man in his original solitude lived the world as a gift. -- man in the garden of Eden (Gn. 2:28). None of these beings offered the condition where man could exist in relation to a reciprocal gift. Alone man does not realise the fullness of his being which is why God says, it is not good for man to be alone. (Gn. 2:18).
Existing with someone/existing for someone -- alone -- help. Link between the mystery of creation, as a gift, coming from God’s Love, and the “beginning” of man’s existence, male and female, in a communion between persons. The body is a witness to creation as a fundamental gift, a witness of love as the source from which this same giving springs. Masculinity-femininity, sex, is the original sign of creative donation, sign of a gift that male-female becomes aware of as a gift lived to speak in original way.
Beginning of man’s being and existing male and female is connected with the discovery of the body that is rightly called “spousal”:
Gn. 2:23 - “male and female”
Gn. 2:24 - “one flesh”
Gn. 2:25 - “naked without shame”
Union, humanity, one-flesh, placed under the blessing of fruitfulness, procreation (Gn. 1:28). Aware of his own body and his own sex, man is free from the constraint of his own sex -- original nakedness means -- free from constraint. Interior freedom is expressed, not weighed by shame This freedom is freedom from a sex drive: drive already implies sexual constraint.
15th General Audience, January 16, 1980.
From the beginning spousal attribute, is the power to express love in which the person becomes a gift fulfilling the very meaning of his being and existence. Man welcome’s the woman for her own sake as she is willed by the Creator. The woman welcomes man for his own sake, as he is willed by the Creator.
Christ reveals to man and woman another vocation, that of renouncing marriage in view of the kingdom of heaven. Man and woman make themselves a gift of self for God’s kingdom.
16th General Audience, January 30, 1980
Creation is a Gift given to man, its fullness and deepest dimension is determined by grace, participation in the inner life of God himself and his holiness. In man holiness is the inner foundation of his original innocence.
17th General Audience, February 6, 1980
The mutual gift of acceptance creates the communion of persons. Welcoming and accepting in this mutual relationship man and woman become gift for each other.
Exchange of the Gift: Interpretation of Gen. 2:25.
The woman has been given by the Creator to the man, and is welcomed and accept by him as a gift. She discovers herself as a gift, the way she is received by the man. The woman, as a gift of “self”, the way the Creator willed her through her own humanity and femininity. The man must ensure the process of the exchange of the gift, the reciprocal interpenetration of giving and receiving the gift, through reciprocity creates communion of persons. The man is enriched through her, but the man also enriches her through his reception, both are enriched in this reciprocal relationship.
The man’s act of self-donation, in answer to that of the woman, is for him an enrichment. His masculinity is manifested through the reality of the body and of its sex, reaches the innermost depth of “self-possession” - by giving himself and receiving the gift of the other. The man is welcomed as a gift by the woman in the self=revelation of the inner spiritual essence of his masculinity together with the whole truth of his body and his sex.
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
List of Titles
Lesson 1: What is meant by "Beginning"?