Bookmark and Share

Christ's words about the resurrection complete the revelation of the body

68 (of 129) - Catechesis by John Paul II on the Theology of the Body
General Audience, Wednesday 16 December 1981 - in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven" (Mt 22:30, similarly Mk 12:25). "They are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" (Lk 20:36).

The eschatological communion (communio) of man with God, constituted thanks to the love of a perfect union, will be nourished by the vision, face to face, of contemplation of that more perfect communion—because it is purely divine—which is the trinitarian communion of the divine Persons in the unity of the same divinity.

2. Christ's words, reported by the synoptic Gospels, enable us to deduce that participants in the "other world"—in this union with the living God which springs from the beatific vision of his unity and trinitarian communion—will not only keep their authentic subjectivity, but will acquire it to a far more perfect extent than in earthly life. Furthermore, this will confirm the law of the integral order of the person, according to which the perfection of communion is not only conditioned by the perfection or spiritual maturity of the subject, but also in turn determines it. Those who participate in the future world, that is, in perfect communion with the living God, will enjoy a perfectly mature subjectivity. In this perfect subjectivity, while keeping masculinity and femininity in their risen, glorious body, "They neither marry nor are given in marriage." This is explained not only with the end of history, but also, and above all, with the eschatological authenticity of the response to that self-communication of the divine subject. This will constitute the beatifying experience of the gift of himself on God's part, which is absolutely superior to any experience proper to earthly life.

3. The reciprocal gift of oneself to God—a gift in which man will concentrate and express all the energies of his own personal and at the same time psychosomatic subjectivity—will be the response to God's gift of himself to man.(1) In this mutual gift of himself by man, a gift which will become completely and definitively beatifying, as a response worthy of a personal subject to God's gift of Himself, virginity, or rather the virginal state of the body, will be totally manifested as the eschatological fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body, as the specific sign and the authentic expression of all personal subjectivity. In this way, therefore, that eschatological situation in which "They neither marry nor are given in marriage" has its solid foundation in the future state of the personal subject. This will happen when, as a result of the vision of God face to face, there will be born in him a love of such depth and power of concentration on God himself, as to completely absorb his whole psychosomatic subjectivity.

4. This concentration of knowledge (vision) and love on God himself—a concentration that cannot be other than full participation in the interior life of God, that is, in the very trinitarian reality—will be at the same time the discovery, in God, of the whole "world" of relations, constitutive of his perennial order (cosmos). This concentration will be above all man's rediscovery of himself, not only in the depth of his own person, but also in that union which is proper to the world of persons in their psychosomatic constitution. This is certainly a union of communion. The concentration of knowledge and love on God himself in the trinitarian communion of Persons can find a beatifying response in those who become participants in the other world, only through realizing mutual communion adapted to created persons. For this reason we profess faith in the "communion of saints" (communio sanctorum), and we profess it in organic connection with faith in the resurrection of the dead. Christ's words which affirm that in the other world, "They neither marry nor are given in marriage" are at the basis of these contents of our faith. At the same time they require an adequate interpretation in its light. We must think of the reality of the other world in the categories of the rediscovery of a new, perfect subjectivity of everyone and at the same time of the rediscovery of a new, perfect intersubjectivity of all. In this way, this reality signifies the real and definitive fulfillment of human subjectivity, and on this basis, the definitive fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body. The complete concentration of created subjectivity, redeemed and glorified, on God himself will not take man away from this fulfillment, in fact—on the contrary—it will introduce him into it and consolidate him in it. One can say, finally, that in this way eschatological reality will become the source of the perfect realization of the trinitarian order in the created world of persons.

5. The words with which Christ referred to the future resurrection—words confirmed in a singular way by his own resurrection—complete what in the present reflections we are accustomed to call the revelation of the body. This revelation penetrates in a way into the heart of the reality which we are experiencing. This reality is above all man, his body, the body of historical man. At the same time, this revelation enables us to go beyond the sphere of this experience in two directions—in the first place, in the direction of that beginning which Christ referred to in his conversation with the Pharisees regarding the indissolubility of marriage (cf. Mt 19:3-9); in the second place, in the direction of the other world, to which the Master drew the attention of his listeners in the presence of the Sadducees, who "say that there is no resurrection" (Mt 22:23). These two extensions of the sphere of the experience of the body (if we may say so) are not completely beyond the reach of our (obviously theological) understanding of the body. What the human body is in the sphere of man's historical experience is not completely cut off from those two dimensions of his existence, which are revealed through Christ's words.

6. It is clear that here it is a question not so much of the body in abstract, but of man who is at once spiritual and physical. Continuing in the two directions indicated by Christ's words, and linking up again with the experience of the body in the dimension of our earthly existence (therefore in the historical dimension), we can make a certain theological reconstruction. This is a reconstruction of what might have been the experience of the body on the basis of man's revealed beginning, and also of what it will be in the dimension of the other world. The possibility of this reconstruction, which extends our experience of man-body, indicates, at least indirectly, the consistency of man's theological image in these three dimensions, which together contribute to the constitution of the theology of the body.

Interrupting, for now, the reflections on this theme, I invite you to turn your thoughts to the holy days of Advent we are living."

After the catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages:

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Chers Frères et Sœurs,

Poursuivant une réflexion théologique sur l’état de l’homme à la résurrection, je viens de dire en italien que l’homme y sera en profonde communion avec Dieu, contemplé face à face, et participera à cette communion parfaite des trois Personnes divines entre elles. Mais l’homme y conservera, avec sa masculinité et sa féminité, son authentique subjectivité parvenue à une parfaite maturité, réalisant par excellence le don de soi-même qui existe en Dieu. Après la résurrection, on ne prendra plus ni mari ni femme, car l’état virginal du corps manifestera un amour concentré sur Dieu avec une telle profondeur et une telle force qu’il absorbera toute la personne et la portera à son plein accomplissement. Ainsi cette concentration sur Dieu comportera la redécouverte de soi-même et celle de nouvelles et parfaites relations interpersonnelles, "la communion des saints", comme on dit dans le Credo. Pour bien comprendre l’homme, il faut le référer au "commencement", et aussi à l’"autre monde".

Pour l’instant, je vous invite tous, chers Frères et Sœurs, à bien vivre cette période de l’Avent qui prépare la venue du Sauveur. A tous, prêtres, religieux, religieuses, laïcs, pères et mères de familles, enfants et jeunes, je vous souhaite une sainte fête de Noël, et je vous bénis de tout cœur.

Ai pellegrini di lingua inglese

A special greeting goes to the pilgrimage from Mobile, Alabama, which is celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Archbishop’s Ordination to the sacred priesthood. May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you and the entire Archdiocese.

* * *

In this Advent audience I offer a cordial welcome to the English-speaking visitors, particularly to the members of the Benedictine Theology Renewal Programme of Sant’Anselmo and to the group from Denmark. We have been reflecting on Christ’s words that, at the resurrection of the body, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. Rather, God will communicate himself and be the beatifying experience for all. Through a concentration of knowledge and love, people will share in the inner life of God, that is, in the very reality of the Most Blessed Trinity. Christ’s words about our union with the living God bring to completion what we call "the revelation of the body".

Ai pellegrini di espressione tedesca

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern!

Herzlich grüße ich euch in dieser Adventszeit. Der Herr schenke euch eine würdige Vorbereitung auf das Geburtsfest Christ.

Unsere gegenwärtigen Überlegungen lenken unsere Gedanken auf die endzeitliche Erfüllung des Menschen in der Auferstehung. Wie die Schrift sagt, werden die Menschen dann nicht mehr heiraten, sondern wie die Engel im Himmel sein. Der auferstandene Mensch wird seine Erfüllung allein in der Anschauung Gottes "von Angesicht zu Angesicht" finden, in der innigen Teilnahme an der Lebensgemeinschaft der Heiligsten Dreifaltigkeit. Wie Gott sich ganz dem Menschen zuwendet, so wird dieser Ganzhingabe an Gott allein findet der auferstandene Mensch zugleich seine tiefste Verbundenheit mit den Mitmenschen, und zwar in der "Gemeinschaft der Heiligen".

* * *

Ein aufrichtiges Wort des Dankes und der Ermutigung richte ich an die Gruppe der deutschsprachigen Rompilger-Betreuer. Euer Dienst für die Pilger an den verschiedenen religiösen Gedenkstätten der Ewigen Stadt ist von großer Bedeutung für ein geistlich fruchtbares Gelingen ihres Rombesuchs. Richtig verstanden und ausgeübt kann er zu einem echt pastoralen Dienst werden, wodurch eine Rompilgerreise für die Besucher zu einem tiefen religiösen Erlebnis und einer nachhaltigen Erneuerung ihres Glaubens wird. Mögen euch die Dankbarkeit und Freude der Pilger selbse eure Mühen lohnen und euch in eurer Arbeit bestärken! Für reiche weihnachtliche Gnaden erteile ich euch und allen anwesenden Pilgern von Herzen meinen besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai pellegrini di lingua spagnola

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas,

Saludo ante todo a todas y cada una de las personas, así como a los grupos de los diversos Países de lengua española que asisten a esta Audiencia. Y encomiendo al Señor todas sus intenciones.

Las palabras de Jesus referentes a los resucitados, que no volverán a tomar mujer o marido, sino que serán como los ángeles, indican la comunión de amor que el hombre tendrá con Dios, al contemplarlo cara a cara en la perfecta comunión trinitaria de las Personas divinas. Esto se realizará de modo mucho más completo que durante la vida terrena, ya que el hombre tendrá la experiencia beatificante del don de sí mismo comunicado por Dios y que es muy superior a cualquier otra experiencia feliz sobre la tierra.

La respuesta a ese don de Dios por parte del hombre, hará nacer un amor tal que concentrará al hombre en la vida interior de Dios, absorbiendo toda su subjetividad psicosomática. Así comprenderá la profundidad de su propia persona y la perfecta intersubjetividad de todos. Ese será el definitivo cumplimiento del significado esponsal del cuerpo humano.

* * *

Ai pellegrini di lingua portoghese

A minha saudação cordial também aos ouvintes de língua portuguesa!

Ao prepararmo-nos para a vinda de Cristo, nestes dias penitenciais do Advento, continuamos a reflexão sobre o corpo humano.

O nosso corpo está destinado à glorificação, pela ressurreição dos mortos. Na visão beatificante do Céu dar-se-á a redescoberta tanto da subjectividade, como da intersubjectividade pessoal, aparecendo o verdadeiro e definitivo significado esponsal do mesmo corpo. Assim, não há uma ruptura total entre a experiência histórica do homem e sua situação futura de ressuscitado.

Oxalá possais descobrir e apreciar, cada vez mais, o sentido do próprio corpo, à luz da glória celeste. Com a minha Bênção Apostólica.

Ai pellegrini di lingua polacca

Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

Drodzy Rodacy!

Wydarzenia ostatnich dni zwróciły oczy całego świata w stronę Polski. Zaznacza się w tym wyraźny niepokój, zaznacza się równocześnie solidarność z naszym Narodem. Za wyrazy tej solidarności dziękuję wszystkim, ponieważ bardzo często bywają one skierowywane na moje ręce.

Niepokój jest uzasadniony. Wystarczy odczytać kazanie, jakie w niedzielę wieczorem wygłosił Prymas Polski w kościele Matko Bożej Łaskawej w Warszawie, ażeby odczuć miarę tego niepokoju wewnątrz Kraju, który przez wprowadzenie “ stanu wojennego ” został odcięty od normalnych kontaktów ze światem. Mówi Prymas: “Kościół boleśnie przyjął zerwanie dialogu, tak z trudem nawiązującego się i wejście na drogę przemocy, jaką jest stan wojenny. A to nie może się odbyć bez naruszenia podstawowych praw obywatelskich. Niesie to z sobą, w wielu wypadkach, poniewieranie ludzkiej godności, aresztowanie niewinnych, poniewierkę ludzi kultury i nauki, rozterki w wielu rodzinach...”.

W tych warunkach moja troska zwraca się ponownie w stronę Ojczyzny, w stronę tego Narodu, którego jestem synem – i który tak jak każdy naród i kraj ma prawo do szczególnej troski Kościoła. Troska ta ogarnia w tej chwili całą Polskę i wszystkich Polaków.

Mają oni, jako Naród, prawo do życia swoim własnym życiem – i do rozwiązywania swoich problemów wewnętrznych w duchu własnych przekonań, zgodnie ze swoją kulturą i tradycją narodową.

Spraw tych, niewątpliwie trudnych, nie można rozwiązywać przy użyciu przemocy.

Stąd moje wezwanie i prośba, którą skierowuję do wszystkich synów Ojczyzny: trzeba wrócić na drogę odnowy, kształtowanej metodą dialogu, przy poszanowaniu praw każdego człowieka i obywatela, przy szczególnym poszanowaniu praw człowieka pracy. Ta droga nie była łatwa – ze zrozumiałych przyczyn – ale nie jest niemożliwa.

Siła i powaga władzy wyraża się w takim dialogu, a nie w użyciu przemocy.

Już w niedzielę, na pierwszą wiadomość o zarządzeniu “ stanu wojennego ”, przypomniałem słowa wypowiedziane we wrześniu: nie wolno przelewać polskiej krwi! Dziś powtarzam to samo.

I wespół z całym Kościołem, w szczególności Kościołem w Polsce, całą moją Ojczyzną – ten Naród umiłowany, nie po raz pierwszy doświadczony w zmaganiu się o słuszne prawo do bycia sobą (!) – zawierzam Chrystusowi, który jest Panem przyszłego wieku, i Jego Matce na Jasnej Górze.

Traduzione italiana:

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!
Cari connazionali!

Gli avvenimenti degli ultimi giorni hanno rivolto gli occhi di tutto il mondo verso la Polonia. In ciò si manifesta una chiara inquietudine e, contemporaneamente, la solidarietà con la nostra nazione. Per le espressioni di tale solidarietà ringrazio tutti, perché molto spesso sono indirizzate direttamente a me.

Questa inquietudine è fondata. Basta leggere il discorso, che domenica sera ha pronunciato il Primate di Polonia nella chiesa della “Madonna delle Grazie” a Varsavia, per risentire la misura di tale inquietudine entro il paese, che per l’introduzione dello stato d’assedio è stato tagliato fuori dai normali contatti con il resto del mondo. Dice il Primate: La Chiesa “ha appreso con dolore la rottura del dialogo, che si allacciava con tanta fatica, e l’ingresso sulla strada della violenza, qual è lo stato d’assedio. E ciò non può avvenire senza la violazione dei fondamentali diritti civili. Porta con sé, in molti casi, il disprezzo della dignità umana, gli arresti di innocenti, l’avvilimento degli uomini della cultura e della scienza, l’incertezza, in tante famiglie...”.

In tali condizioni, la mia sollecitudine si rivolge ancora verso la patria, verso la nazione, di cui sono figlio, e che come ogni nazione e paese ha diritto ad una particolare sollecitudine da parte della Chiesa. Questa sollecitudine abbraccia in questo momento tutta la Polonia e tutti i polacchi.

Essi hanno, come nazione, il diritto di vivere la propria vita e di risolvere i propri problemi interni nello spirito delle proprie convinzioni in conformità con la propria cultura e tradizioni nazionali.

Questi problemi, indubbiamente difficili, non si possono risolvere con l’uso della violenza.

Di qui il mio appello e la mia richiesta: bisogna ritornare sulla strada del rinnovamento, costruito col metodo del dialogo, nel rispetto dei diritti di ogni uomo e di ogni cittadino. Questa strada non era facile – per cause ben comprensibili – ma non è impossibile.

La forza e l’autorità del potere si esprimono in tale dialogo e non nell’uso della violenza.

Già domenica, alla prima notizia dell’introduzione dello stato d’assedio ho ricordato le mie parole pronunciate in settembre: “Non si può versare sangue polacco!”. Oggi ripeto le stesse parole.

E insieme con tutta la Chiesa e, in particolare, con la Chiesa in Polonia, affido a Cristo, che è Signore del secolo futuro, e alla sua Madre, in Jasna Góra, tutta la mia patria, questa nazione provata, non per la prima volta, nella lotta per il giusto diritto di essere se stessa!

A diversi gruppi italiani

Oggi mi è caro salutare i Soci dell’Accademia Sistina, i quali, accompagnati dal Signor Cardinale Pietro Palazzini, son venuti anche quest’anno a rendere omaggio al successore di quel Pontefice, a cui s’intitola il loro sodalizio. Nel ringraziare per tale gesto, desidero rivolgere ad essi non solo una parola di incoraggiamento per l’impegno con cui si studiano di conoscere e di far conoscere la personalità singolare del medesimo Pontefice, ma anche e soprattutto l’augurio che sappiano apprendere, alla sua scuola, un grande amore alla Chiesa ed un profondo attaccamento ai valori della fede cristiana. Accompagno volentieri l’auspicio con la Benedizione Apostolica.

* * *

Porgo un affettuoso saluto alla rappresentanza di zampognari del Comune di Scapoli, guidati dal Vescovo di Isernia e Venafro, Monsignor Achille Palmerini, dal loro Sindaco e dai rispettivi familiari. Nel ringraziarvi, carissimi fratelli, vi esorto, mentre diffondete le vostre semplici e commoventi melodie, a riflettere con l’umile fede dei pastori di Betlemme al Salvatore del mondo, fattosi uomo per liberare l’umanità dalla schiavitù del peccato e per riconciliarla con Dio padre.

* * *

Rivolgo, poi, un pensiero beneaugurante ai numerosi gruppi di giovani qui presenti, nella certezza di averli sempre più generosi testimoni di Cristo per mezzo della carità, del buon esempio, nella pratica delle virtù e nell’impegno volenteroso dello studio e del lavoro.

* * *

Esprimo inoltre viva riconoscenza ai carissimi malati per il bene, in tante forme da essi propiziato, a favore dell’intera Comunità ecclesiale che li considera " parte eletta " del Corpo mistico di Gesù.

* * *

Formo infine fervidi voti agli sposi novelli, invocando sulle loro nascenti famiglie la continua protezione del Signore, che apporti ogni desiderata prosperità e sia d’incoraggiamento a generosi propositi di esemplari comportamenti cristiani.

A tutti con particolare benevolenza imparto la propiziatrice Benedizione Apostolica.


1. "In the biblical is a question of a 'dialogic' immortality (resuscitation!), that is, that immortality does not derive merely from the obvious truth that the indivisible cannot die, but from the saving act of him who loves, who has the power to do so; therefore man cannot completely disappear, because he is known and loved by God. If all love postulates eternity, love of God not only wishes it, but actuates it and is it.
...Since the immortality presented by the Bible does not derive from the power of what is in itself indestructible, but from being accepted in the dialogue with the Creator, for this reason it must be called resuscitation... J. Ratzinger, Risurrezione della carne—aspetto teologico, Sacramentum Mundi, Vol. 7 (Brescia: Morcelliana, 1977), pp. 160-161).

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana