There’s just something about Life that is self explanatory.
It needs nothing.
Thesis, case studies, research, science, homilies;
absolutely nothing can define it more than experience.
It’s a natural state of existence.
However, there is a definite wisdom that unfolds when we allow this natural state of existence to dance with academics, homilies, testimonies, science, and stories.
That is what Theology of the Body has been for me.
I am a Protestant to Catholic convert. It will be two amazing years this Easter since I got slapped in the face and welcomed into the Church!
My conversion process started when I was deeply challenged by a talk about the Lambeth Conference of 1930. At the time I had been married for 9 years. Happily married. Deeply in love with Jacques. We both had a growing desire for God and we always wanted to move towards Him. We also had two boys whom we wanted to take on that Journey too.
Spiritually, we were like chalk and cheese.
Him with his academics and theology, me with my hands and heart. So our conversations about E V E R Y T H I N G were always heated. (Truth be told, it can still get heated). We still loved each other; just two different ways to approach God and be at the foot of His Cross.
(Did I mention we met at Seminary?)
After our heated conversations I ALWAYS agreed with his logic and he always agreed with my heart, as we saw that God was helping us cross over.
So, it was in 2010 that he introduced me to yet another heated conversation, CONTRACEPTION. I just did N O T want to hear it. I was happy with my 5 and 3 year old boys. I was very aware of, and experiencing, most of the side effects of our chosen contraception, but nothing trumped the two benefits; avoiding an unexpected baby and the unwanted monthly visitor.
Jacques, in his very gentle way (the heated part was always me), encouraged me to listen to a few talks based on the Lambeth Conference of 1930. And so I did.
This talk by Eric Bergman opened my mind and gave me further insight on the use of contraception. If you were Christian, (Catholic or Non) before the 1930’s, contraception was not allowed? Wait! What? If you have not heard this talk please do so: Roots of Immorality: The Aftermath of the 1930 Lambeth Conference. The Lambeth Conference, 1930, opened the door to many immoralities. The family, as it was known traditionally, became threatened! Women became objects. Pornography. Slavery. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Abortions. In fact, the ‘free love’ culture of the 1960’s was not possible without the changes this Conference initiated in society.
I was part of this, and it had to change!
My two biggest convictions:
One, I was not giving myself wholly/holy to my husband, I was holding back.
Two, I was rejecting a Life giving force within myself, that was not mine to control.
We decided that we wanted to “space our children” – I believe that is the correct term for when you are trying to NOT have children at the moment. If pregnancy occurs WHOOP! If pregnancy does not occur WHOOP WHOOP!
This required, after 9 years of intimate marriage, a M O N TH of abstinence! It was hard, it was a L O N G, sacrificial, month (if you’re married, you’ll understand; if you’re back on the road to purity and a chaste life, eish!). But God is ever faithful and merciful to those who trust in Him. Jacques and I physically felt a DEEPER love for each other. I felt complete. I felt intimate with him in a way that God had intended. I felt for the first time that I understood what it was to be Holy with Jacques. All this, sans sex!
Celibacy made sense.
Suddenly, God became something more. I always knew He was immeasurably more, but I felt it this time! For the first time since I was 9 years old I understood the depth of what was required of my life in Christ. I had to Love in a way that always brought Life and Light into the world.
I became aware. I had been AWAKENED.
It was this beautiful teaching of the Church that fueled my conversion to Catholicism in 2013. My vocation as wife, mother and woman became more defined. Saint John Paul II puts it perfectly when he writes about Mary in Mulieris Dignitatem “the “woman” is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race: she represents the humanity which belongs to all human beings, both men and women.” He is indeed speaking about Our Holy Mother, but it is also true for all woman.
I am continually challenged by my Faith. TOB has unsettled those things that I became comfortable with. From movies that I watch and those that I let the boys watch, to the coffee that I drink – have these things robbed somebodies right to a dignified Life? Have I enabled slavery? Have I discouraged someone from experiencing the life of a child?
I can only trust in a Wonderful Mystical Creator for wisdom and discernment.
Our Father who shows Mercy and Grace to ALL. If we let the teachings of TOB enter into our life it will infuse our hearts and minds, it will cross boundaries and permeate lives, it will shine through our eyes and fill our lives with actions that bring Life.
Theology of the Body is Life giving, Life sharing, and pleasing to God.
Theology of the Body has awakened this Women, this Wife, this Mother, this Friend.
Life, Love and Light
About Nicola Rothmann
I was born and raised as a Baptist, received my Theological degree from Baptist Theological College, Johannesburg and then converted to Catholicism. I was received into the Church during Easter 2013. I am also a wife to Jacques, who is awesome! Together we have two boys, Joshua Levi and Elijah Daniel. As a family, with Christ as our Hope, we try and live a simple life, that is both intentional and Life giving. In our home you will find fantasy books, scraps of material, toys, sketchpads, dogs, technology (but no tv), theological books, washi tape, lego and food, (I’m sure there’s more to us though). Lent and advent are my favorite times of the year I believe that Theology of the Body should reach the world, in love and hope. I believe that if we can let the world see the importance of human existence, we will ignite a desire for God in them. You can read more on my blog: http://joeltreeprojects.blogspot.com.