Freedom, truth, gift, communion, dignity, love, person,
meaning: these are all themes which are continually found
throughout the writings of Pope John Paul II. They were
there even before he became Pope. As Cardinal Karol
Wojtyla he was influential in the writing of several
documents from Vatican II, not the least of which was
Gaudium et Spes — the Pastoral Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World — from which he never tires of
quoting in his many encyclicals and apostolic letters.
“Man is the only creature on earth which God willed for
itself, [and he] cannot fully find himself except through a
sincere gift of himself.” (Gaudium et Spes 24)
We must first know the purpose of our existence and what
we were created for if we are to live a fully meaningful life. Pope John Paul II explores the purpose of our existence in
his Theology of the Body, which consists of 129 general
Wednesday audiences delivered by him during the first
five years of his pontificate.
Prior to his election as pope, John Paul II wrote a book, L o v e and Responsibility. In Love and Responsibility K a rol Wo j t y l a p resents the Catholic Church’s teaching on love and
sexuality in a way that makes sense to modern man.
Wojtyla stresses the dignity of the person and shows how
important it is to live our sexuality in a way which upholds and affirms the other person. Indeed, the true lover will
never use another person or treat her as a means to an end.
In his Theology of the Body John Paul II digs deep into the
meaning of being a human person based on Scripture. As
a person with a body and soul, made in the image and
likeness of God, we find the meaning of life through
finding out what it means to image God and what our
bodies have to do with it.
We not only image God through the gift of free-will, but
also through being in communion with others. “To be
human means to be called to interpersonal communion.”
Why? Because God himself is a communion of persons in...
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