The Theology of the Body semester outlines the key principles of John Paul II’s teaching on marriage and sexuality and adapts it to teens.
Units included in the semester:
a. God’s Original Plan for Sex and Marriage
Youth Group Meeting: Our ‘Youth Group’ session will help the teens understand God’s original definition of love and His purpose for the body. We will see that love is to give oneself for the benefit of the other; love is a free decision a person makes. The body is a gift from God that makes visible what is invisible, namely our souls. The body is not an add-on to who we are, but a core part of our identity. Our bodies are the way we express ourselves to enter into communion with each other. We are destined in our souls and our bodies for eternity with God.
Going Deeper Meeting: This ‘Going Deeper’ session will examine the Scriptural foundations for John Paul II’s understanding of the human person before sin, namely Genesis 2:15-25 and Matthew 19:1-8. We will see that Jesus is concerned with God’s original plan for marriage, the ‘one flesh’ union between husband and wife that leads to the bringing forth of new life. This union images Trinitarian love and is a sign of God’s presence in the world. This is contrasted with society, that sees marriage and sexuality as a human institution that can be manipulated as we will.
b. Sex, Sin and Redemption in Christ
Youth Group Meeting: Our ‘Youth Group’ session will differentiate between lust and love. Lust is when we turn another into the object of sexual gratification. Love is the decision we make to put the good of another over ourselves. Love is self-giving. Lust is overcome by growing in purity. Purity allows us to see others as Jesus sees them. Jesus helps us grow in purity, helping us to transform lust into love.
Going Deeper Meeting: In this ‘Going Deeper’ meeting, we want to examine the Scriptural foundation for the entrance of lust in the world, seen in Genesis 3. We will look at key passages from St. Paul’s epistles that show us how Christ wants us to be set free from sin and experience the joy of life in the Spirit, a life that is marked by purity. We will give the teens suggestions for growing in purity, and ask them to deepen their commitment to it.
c. Happiness and Heavenly Communion
Youth Group Meeting: This ‘Youth Group’ session will show how today’s anti-Catholic sexual philosophies are built on the false notion of freedom and a false understanding of truth. We will see how lies, especially the lies of many sexual philosophies, always have harmful consequences. Finally, this meeting is designed to get the teens to think about happiness and heaven from Jesus’ perspective. This will prepare them for the ‘Going Deeper’ meeting, in which we will see how all of us are destined to be married to Christ in heaven for all eternity.
Going Deeper Meeting: One of the forgotten pieces in our lives as Christians is the end of time. Often we are afraid of misinterpreting the Bible and being labeled a fundamentalist. This ‘Going Deeper’ session will examine the Scriptural foundations for the eternal marriage between Christ and His bride, the Church. In Christ, we are destined for this marriage, the true and eternal marriage. We will show the teens that this marriage will include both our souls and our resurrected, transformed bodies. Our bodies are not ‘side-issues’ to our following Jesus; they are part of God’s eternal plan for us.
Youth Group Meeting: This session will help define for the teens celibacy and will give them the basic reasons behind it. We will see that celibacy is connected to marriage, in particular, to preparing oneself for the eternal marriage with Christ in heaven. Not all are called to the life-long commitment to celibacy, but only to those who freely accept it. Those in consecrated life and priests in the Roman Catholic Church make vows to live a celibate life, all with the intention of following Jesus more closely and serving the Church without reservation.
Going Deeper Meeting: This ‘Going Deeper’ session will be a Bible study examining the New Testament Scriptural roots to celibacy. There is substantial evidence in the New Testament for the practice of celibacy. In particular, we will examine Matthew 19, Matthew 22 and 1 Corinthians 7. We will see how both Jesus and St. Paul present and recommend celibacy as a life-decision.
e. Husband and Wife in Marriage
Youth Group Meeting: Before we tackle the relationship between husband and wife (in the ‘Going Deeper’ session), this session will attempt to teach the teens how to treat the opposite gender. We will acknowledge that differences between men and women are more than physical. We will briefly look at Ephesians 5 as the foundation to how we treat each other. We will outline specific ways to treat each other, and invite the teens to reflect on how well they are currently treating each other.
Going Deeper Meeting: Our youth group session will help the teens understand St. Paul’s treatise on the sacramentality of marriage in Ephesians 5. We will see that marriage is modeled on Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. This marriage is the real marriage on which earthly marriages are patterned. God’s plan for earthly marriage is that it is a free, total, faithful and fruitful union between couples. We will invite the teens to reflect on these characteristics of marriage and to examine ways they can grow in this type of love.
Youth Group Meeting: Building on the theology of the body concepts we have taught the teens in the previous sessions, this ‘Youth Group’ meeting will attempt to identity the primary sins against marriage and sexuality. We will see that any time sexuality is used in a way that is not free, total, faithful and fruitful, it cheapens what God has planned for it. We will outline for the teens concrete ways they can grow in chastity, and help them make a commitment to give their sexuality and their relationship future over to Christ.
Going Deeper Meeting: This ‘Going Deeper’ session will look at some key Scripture passages that describe the love of marriage and friendship. We will outline for the teens some ways to cultivate strong, healthy and holy friendships. We will invite the teens to examine their own friendships and to take action to strengthen them. We will see that the best way to grow in chastity and friendships is to place Christ at the center of our lives.
In the YMCentral Store, you can purchase each semester individually or you can purchase the Complete Package that includes all 12 semesters.