Five years after the death of Pope John Paul II
, the world is still unwrapping his lessons. Some of his more pragmatic teachings, like those on the Rosary
and ‘the gospel of life’
, were quickly studied and discussed.
But compared with these teachings, John Paul’s ‘theology of the body’
didn’t receive a ton of immediate interest. Like a small, unattractive present under the Christmas tree, it took some time before the world became intrigued. Slowly, however, people have begun flocking to the Pope’s splendid wisdom on this topic.
The ‘theology of the body’ is a collection of teachings on sexuality, relationship, and gender, among other themes. The teachings emphasize marriage as a participation in the Trinity, and encourage ‘self-giving’ love as the basis for all relationships. While beautiful, the theology is very dense, which has led to slow acclaim from the general public.
In answer to this lukewarm reception, Marcel LeJeune’s Set Free to Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body (Servant Books, 112 pages, paperback)
unveils John Paul’s teachings in a unique way, making them more accessible to the average person. The book reveals how twelve different people were transformed after unwrapping the ‘theology of the body’ themselves. From healed marriages to the curing of pornography addiction, these first-hand accounts show how God has moved through this theology to bring wholeness and healing to people’s lives.
Set Free to Love
introduces the major themes of John Paul’s teachings, but there aren’t many advanced explanations. This makes the book a good primer on this theology rather than a reference source. What sets the book apart is its unique examination not of the theology itself, but of the profound transformation it brings.
LeJeune’s book features good diversity, with priests, nuns, single and married people all represented. And each offers some story of healing. Many of the contributors were given an incomplete or distorted view of sexuality during their childhood, which led to all sorts of misunderstandings and abuses later in life. Again and again, the book conveys the relief people feel after stumbling upon John Paul’s wisdom. The contributors present living proof that the ‘theology of the body’ has explosive power.
If you are intrigued about the ‘theology of the body’ but are unsure whether to study it deeper , Set Free to Love
will convince you of its power and provoke more exploration. As others unwrap this wonderful gift, you will want to experience its power yourself.