Is it a sin to read steamy romance novels? How is it possible for me as a husband to be totally "disinterested" in my gift of self? Shouldn't I be "interested"? How can I integrate Theology of the Body into my priesthood?
Ask Christopher West is a weekly podcast in which Theology of the Body Institute Director Christopher West and his beloved wife Wendy share their humor and wisdom, answering questions about marriage, relationships, life, and the Catholic faith, all in light of John Paul II’s beautiful teachings on the Theology of the Body.
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Q1: Is it a sin to read romance novels if they facilitate my sexual relationship with my husband?
Q2: Hi Wendy and Christopher, thank you very much for your inspiring and faithful testimony to the love of God to us human beings and the assignment He has bestowed upon us that we may learn to love as He loves us! As a Protestant Christian, unfortunately, I was beyond 30 when I discovered JPII's TOB but it has been so inspiring and enriching to my life that I have read all the 129/133 Catechesis.
Anyway, what I wanted to ask or rather ask for your thoughts on is the notion "Gift of Self". I think that you have qualified this gift of self as "disinterested". To be honest I don't like this qualification! I think what it is supposed to mean is that I should not give a gift of self out of selfish motive? But I think that is something else than "disinterested". Christ's gift of self was certainly not in any way disinterested; moreover, He hoped and prayed that we as humans would respond to his gift of self through offering ourselves to him. I think this qualification is important because otherwise you - or at least I - feel that I have to reach towards something utterly unattainable when I want to give a gift of self to somebody else, and especially my wife. In this situation, I'm not disinterested, but highly interested in receiving her gift of self in return. In fact, that is often what I long for more than anything else. Now, of course, a gift of self should be given freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully, without demanding or expecting a return-gift-of-self, but I most surely does hope and wish for reciprocity in our mutual giving of self. Being totally disinterested seems to negate the relationship between us. Thanks for commenting on this!
Q3: I finally caught up on all 46 episodes of your podcast, TOB has been a blessing to me since high school in my own journey of healing. After reading many TOB texts my question is this: how can I as a newly ordained priest formally and informally preach/teach the TOB, especially for youth and young adults? Are there any homily aids by chance?(Christopher, I hear you about garlic/pores and to read your book Good News! :)
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Resources mentioned this week:
Word Made Flesh Book Series
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Christopher and Wendy hope their advice is helpful to you, but they are not licensed counseling professionals. If you are dealing with serious issues, please consult our list of trusted professionals.
Featuring music by Mike Mangione.
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