The Profound Truth Belly Buttons Reveal: 10 Quotes From a Theology of the Body Priest

On a Saturday in the middle of the spring semester, over 80 students at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, chose to spend the day learning about God’s plan for love and marriage. Father Luis Granados, of the religious congregation the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, led a Theology of the Body retreat for the students titled “Called to Greatness: Sexuality and Happiness.”
Fr. Luis holds a Doctorate in Moral Theology from the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute on Studies for Marriage and Family, Rome, Italy, and has worked extensively as a pastor and an educator. In addition to his other duties, over the last three years he has collaborated extensively with Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life to bring his intimate knowledge of John Paul II’s great catechesis to students and families at Benedictine College.
Following are 10 quotes from Father Luis’ retreat:

1: Start with wonder rather than fear.

“In our study of the Theology of the Body, we must start with wonder at our bodies. Only humans can do so… a dog cannot and does not wonder at itself or marvel at the beauty of another.”

“We are wonderfully made, but that is not what the world tells us. Models, plastic surgery, photoshop— those ideals are impossible to achieve. It brings us to shame. The world is not inviting us to wonder.”

2: What do our belly buttons tell us?

“The body is talking to me about God. The body reveals to me something about my Creator. It reveals to me something about my Father, my Lover, my Giver.”

“It’s a useless scar, right? But it tells a story of connection with someone, with our mothers. The body, through the belly button, is telling me that I am not self-made. We are not self-sustaining— we were fed and cared for. I come from someone else and from her beloved, and therefore I come from God. I am a gift. I am a child. I am not my own construction or my own creator. The belly button speaks of our origin and identity as children of God.”

3: God’s plan for human sexuality appeals to the beginning and to the end of time.

“Jesus shows the plan of God for human love, from creation to revelation. From the beginning to the second coming and the glory in heaven.”

“In Matthew 19, Christ appeals to the beginning. This is when we have the pharisees discussing the reasons for divorce and asking Jesus, ‘What is allowed? What is allowed?’ Jesus has a greater view… Jesus says that they do not understand, because ‘in the beginning, it was not so… what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’”

“In Matthew 22:23-33, Christ tells us what will happen to our bodies in the end.” The Sadducees start a discussion to disprove heaven and the resurrection, asking who a woman’s husband will be in the resurrection if she had seven subsequent husbands who all died without children. Christ says that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Complete union with God and belonging to God is our final end, and marriage is an earthly reflection of the total union to come in heaven.

4: Marriage is a crucifixion.

“In a mysterious and imperfect way, the husband and wife give each other the Holy Spirit. Through conjugal charity, my love now becomes the love of Christ… spouses once they are married become a permanent reminder of what happened on the Cross. Spouses are that visibility of the Cross, the love of Christ to His Church… as Christ dies for the Church, the husband dies for his wife, and the wife gives herself to her husband.”

5: Our upright posture reveals our dignity and points us to heaven.

“Man is the only animal with upright posture. We do not move like dogs, in the same direction as our digestive systems. The dog moves and runs in the same direction as their stomach. We do not— we have our hands free; we can touch, we can look at the horizon… our upright posture tells us about our vocation to heaven, our vocation to be partners and friends of God.”

6: Marital union is not a fusion of two halves, but rather a yoke.

“The original unity is not a fusion— do not think of it in terms of ‘She is my other half.’ It is not a symmetric fusion, like two halves of a circle. What is the point of lovers? It is not just ‘I look at her, she looks at me.’ That is a circle, and it is very boring in the end because it is self-centered… the gift of the original unity is that we walk together toward the Creator… it is about a yoke.”

7: Eve does not seduce, but rather is a window for Adam.

“Adam discovers Eve as a gift from God. Eve is not going to be like a mirror — simply giving Adam contact with himself — and is not like a wall between him and God, but Eve is going to be for Adam like a mediation and path toward God… Eve is not a seduction, but she is a mediatrix. With her, now, I can understand the meaning of my body, because I was alone and was incomplete. With her, now I can go to God. Adam for Eve and Eve for Adam are companions, mediators, and windows that open to God. Their lives were closed, and now through Eve, Adam can go to God.”

8: Each child multiplies love rather than dividing it.

“The intuitive approach in conceptualizing love is like a cake— if there are four people, we each enjoy a quarter, but if there are eight, we each get a smaller piece. People think that if they have two kids, they can give more hours to each one, but if they have eight, they have far less to give. Many think that the more people are not the merrier, like with material goods. But spiritual goods do not work like that. The truth is counterintuitive. When there are more people enjoying a celebration, the spiritual goods are multiplied. Giving siblings to a child, even if you cannot be there for as many hours, builds a stronger net and a stronger community. An abundance of children is truly a blessing.”

9: The true path to chastity isn’t repression.

“Chastity is not about repressing. With our imagination and desires, it does not work to say, ‘Stop thinking about it.’ This is obsessive and has the effect of throwing more gasoline onto the fire. It is not a matter of will. If I told you not to think about a flying, pink elephant, it does not work! We all immediately think about the elephant. Our imaginations are not controlled as easily as, say, our hands.

“What works more, I would say, is love. A greater love overcomes, and integrating this takes patience and time. It is not going to work by just oppressing and repressing, but rather by introducing a greater love. What is the love that sustains my life? I need to persist in the love that is my greater love— my love for the Lord or the love for my future husband, for example. Chastity is about promoting the good. Obsession simply generates more disordered desire.”

10: Purity of the heart is to will just one thing.

“Purity of the heart is to will one thing. My heart is focused. I see this person, and I discover the gift. I look at the eyes, I look at the face and the hands, and it is a revelation of the person… when all of our energies are focused, it is like a magnifying glass… the love of the pure of heart is a concentration. It is a love that overcomes and endures everything. … Imagine how much more difficult this concept has become with the multitasking in this age, all the tabs we have open.”

Bonus Quote: Holy Matrimony is the beginning of the great mystery.

“What is the sacrament that precedes our baptism? The matrimony of my parents. The marriage of my parents is the foundation. That day was my beginning, one could say the beginning of my beginning. Sacred matrimony is the magnum sacramentum. In Ephesians 5:32, it is the great mystery. This unites our parents to one flesh, one spirit. They were transformed. Matrimony has a special, strategic place with the beginning.”

“The first step of the unification toward everything in God is marriage. Through Holy Matrimony, the spouses are starting the movement toward God.”

Featured image: Pickpik

Sofia Leiva