In the previous issue, we explored St. John Paul II’s theology of the body as a theological and doctrinal work rather than a treatise primarily on sexual morality. In fact, these 133 Wednesday catecheses could be summed up in one word: identity. John Paul II explores two of the most fundamental questions of reality: “Who is God?” and “Who is the human person?”
For John Paul II, humanity’s dramatic encounter with Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, is the medium for answering these two questions. This means that faith has a sacramental flare—it is communicated through the concrete, tangible, and personal. As a result, the new evangelization must awaken in Catholics of the third millennium an encounter with the living Christ, and more! This is where the theology of the body is indispensable, especially as it pertains to four central aspects of the faith: the Trinity, gift, the body, and sacramentality. Building on the image of the traditional skate vs. the in-line skate introduced in Part 1, the Trinity, gift, the body, and sacramentality can be thought of as the four wheels of the traditional skate realigned in a new way for the new evangelization.
The first and most visible “wheel” is the Trinity. Jesus’ mission is always to lead us to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. While we are indeed Christians, we must also be good Trinitarians. The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.”
John Paul II’s goal is to present not just a Christocentric understanding of the human person (anthropology), but a Christocentric-Trinitarian anthropology. If “the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith” and if we are made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Genesis 1:27), then who we understand God to be determines our understanding of the human person. Therefore, one of the most critical tasks of the new evangelization is to help all people have a proper, dynamic, and even intimate image of a Trinitarian God.