COR THOUGHTS 273: Seeing the Gratuitous Beauty of the Human Body


In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus employs some extreme words to warn us of the seriousness of sin: “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna.” Modern adaptation: “If your iPhone causes you to sin, throw it away. If your laptop causes you to sin, get rid of it.” Yes, this is the seriousness with which we should seek purity of heart. But, let us also be clear on this point: If at first we must “pluck out our eyes” in our struggle against sin, “if we persevere in following Christ our Teacher,” says John Paul II, “we feel less and less burdened by the struggle against sin, and we enjoy more and more the divine light which pervades all creation.” In turn, this light affords “an ever greater awareness of the gratuitous beauty of the human body, of masculinity and femininity,” says John Paul II. “This is most important, because it allows us to escape from a situation of constant inner exposure to the risk of sin – even though, on this earth, the risk always remains present to some degree – so as to move with ever greater freedom within the whole created world [including in] our relations with … the opposite sex” (Memory and Identity, p. 29). Lord, give us eyes to see!