Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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No. 41


                                                 by Blessed Pope John Paul II  

 Dossier prepared by the CIOFS Ongoing Formation Team

Ewald Kreuzer, OFS, Coordinator

Lucy Almiranez, OFS

Mike and Jenny Harrington, OFS

5 -The Resurrection of the Body  – TOB 64 – 85

We have looked at our origin before sin and our history affected by sin, but redeemed in Christ. Now to have a total vision of  what it means to be human, John Paul gets us to look at our ultimate destiny, glorified humanity, our bodies will be raised in glory by God.




This image of the Transfiguration shows us Christ's human body radiant and suffused with his divine glory, his body is a sign and anticipation of what our glorified bodies will be like in heaven.

Our destiny

1 Cor 2:9-10, 2 Cor 4:17-18, Mk 12:18-27, Mt 22: 24-30;  Lk 20:30-35, 1 Cor 15:42-44

This destiny for which we were created,  where our life on earth is a fleeting shadow, and ultimately to be bodily raised up and united in love with the Holy Trinity forever. This splendour and surpassing joy of that end is beyond anything we can possibly imagine. 

"What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God ;has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the spirit.". (1 Cor 2:9-10)

The basis of Blessed John Paul II's reflections on the destiny of man and woman is formed on words from Mt 22;24-30. He  begins with the passage where the Sadducees present Jesus with an hypothetical question about the future life:( Mk 12: 18-27.) The  real motive of the Sadducees' question is not genuine spiritual inquiry but an attempt to force Jesus into conceding that there is no such thing as a resurrection of the body. Their dilemma shows, that the Sadducees are ignorant of two things: The Scriptures and the power of God.

"The power of God" means God's power not only to restore man to life but to give him a completely new and transformed existence. As the Giver of Life, God is not bound by the law of death which rules our earthly history.

"The Scriptures", in this context, refers specifically to a passage in Exodus 3:6, where God  tells Moses, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the  God of Jacob"

Jesus shows them a mistake in their method: they do not know the scriptures, and then an error of substance; they do not accept what is revealed by the scriptures, since they do not know the power of God  - since they do not believe in the one who  revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush.

By repeating "You are misled.... You are misled," Jesus strongly emphasises the  importance of this truth of the resurrection of the body.

TOB 65.7 - Regarding the possibility of the resurrection, Christ appeals precisely to that power that goes hand in hand with the testimony of the living God, who is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, and the God of Moses. The God whom the Sadducees "deprive" of this  power, is no longer the true God of their Fathers, but the God of their hypothesis and interpretations. Christ, on the other hand, has come to bear witness to the God of Life in the  whole truth of his power that enfolds over man's life.

We live in the hope of this full accomplishment of God's work of salvation, yet we are meant to experience  a foretaste of it even now, as we learn to give and  receive love in accord with the nuptial meaning of our bodies. The trials and sufferings  that are part of our growth in holiness are daily preparing us for this full accomplishment of God's work of salvation. (2 Cor 4:17-18)

Lumen Gentium 39-40 - "- all people are called to holiness- to the fullness of Christian life and perfection of charity"

CCC 990 The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality. The "resurrection of the flesh" (literal formulation of the Apostles Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our "mortal body" will come to life again.

TOB 66.2. As is clear from these words, marriage - the union in which, as Genesis 2:24 says, "the man will unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh" a union proper to man from the "beginning" -- belongs exclusively "to this world" Marriage and procreation do not constitute man's eschatological future. In the resurrection they lose, so to speak , their raison d'etre.(reason for existence) That "other world" about which Luke speaks (Lk 20:35) means the definitive fulfilment of the human race, the quantitative closure of that circle of beings created in the image and likeness of God in order that, multiplying through the conjugal "unity of the body" of men and women, they would subdue the earth to themselves. That "other world" is not the world of the earth, but the world of God, who, as we know from 1 Cor, will completely fill it, becoming "all in all" (1 Cor 15:28)

TOB 66.6 The truth about man's destiny "cannot be understood as a state of the soul alone, separated, but must be understood as the definitively and perfectly "integrated" state of man brought about by a perfect union of the soul with the body

As with original humanity, we have knowledge of glorified humanity only through God's revealed Word.

What will the resurrected life be like? Jesus indicates two significant facts in his answer to the Sadducees.

First, by saying that "in the resurrection they neither marry [as men on earth do] nor are given in marriage [as women on earth are]," he indicates that in the risen life our bodies will still be male or female. The transformed life that God has prepared for us from all eternity is still a human life. Because we are body persons, our gender is a permanent dimension of our being, even in heaven.

At the same time, Jesus teaches us that in the future life maleness and femaleness will be different than on earth. Our sexual difference will no longer be connected with sexual union and procreation, but instead we will be "like angels,". This does not mean we will become disembodied spirits, but that we will have a heavenly and eternal existence like the angels, who have no need to reproduce. The nuptial meaning of the body will then be revealed "as the virginal meaning of being of male and female."

Our bodies will become the expression of a nuptial union with God himself that will infinitely transcend the earthly one flesh union of husband and wife. In this heavenly marriage, the deepest meaning of the body will be fulfilled, as each person becomes a total gift of self in perfect communion with God and one another. Each person will be made, immeasurably happy by union with the divine Bridegroom, yet this joy will increase as it is shared in the communion of saints.

St Paul develops Jesus' teaching, based on Paul's own encounter with the risen Lord. Paul teaches us that our bodies will not only be restored to life but totally renewed. No longer will there be any sickness, pain or physical disintegration. The opposition between spirit and body with which we constantly struggle will end. The body will be spiritualized; that is, it will be permeated by and in perfect harmony with the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 15: 42-44)

Mk 12: 24-25, "For when they rise from the dead, but take neither wife nor husband, but are like angels in heaven."

Mt 22:30: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage. In the resurrection, the sacrament will give way to the divine reality.

TOB 69.4 "Marriage and procreation do not definitively determine the original and fundamental meaning of being ... a body, male and female. Marriage and procreation only give concrete reality to that meaning in the dimensions of history."

The Beatific Vision - 1 Cor 13:12, CCC 460, 2 Pt 1:4

In the resurrection, we will fully participate in the divine nature as redeemed human persons.  What God is by nature (divine), we will become by a sheer gift of grace.

"Spiritualization means not only that the spirit will dominate the body, but that it will fully permeate the body. The Resurrection will consist in the perfect participation of all that is physical in man in what is spiritual in him."

"The words of the  Gospels testify that the state of man in the other world will not only be a state of perfect spiritualization, but also of fundamental divinization of his humanity. Participation in divine nature, participation in the interior life of God himself, will then reach its peak, so that the life of the human spirit will arrive at such fullness which previously had been absolutely inaccessible to it.

This will therefore be the fruit of grace, that is, of the communication of God in his very divinity, not only to man's soul, but to his whole psychosomatic subjectivity [person, body and soul]. TOB 67.3

CCC 460: 'The Word became flesh to make us partakers of the divine nature' ... 'For the Son of God became man so that we might become God'"

1 Cor 13:12. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face".

The beatific vision was foreshadowed (dimly, of course) right from the beginning in the union of man and woman. In the beatific vision, God will give himself totally to man, and we will respond with the total gift of ourselves to him.

TOB 67:5. In the resurrection, we discover in a [heavenly] perspective - the same 'spousal' meaning of the body... in the encounter with the mystery of the living God... face to face"

CCC 1642: In the joys of their love [God gives spouses] here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb"

CCC 1821: The Church "longs to be united with Christ, her bridegroom, in the glory of heaven" where she "will rejoice one day with {her} Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.

In heaven we will see God face to face and become like him (1 Jn 3:2). The Fathers of the Church call this deification, when we  share in the inner life of the Trinity (2 Pt 1:4) It does not mean the disappearance of our own personal identity but rather its fullest realization. What a vision of God's love for us, we will be the joyful recipients of the personal gift of the Triune God in the very depths of our being. This is what we were created for.

Although this glory is yet to come, even now, by the work of the Holy Spirit, we can experience the first fruits of glorified humanity. The whole purpose of our life on earth is to learn to love and be loved as God loves and so prepare to share in his life forever. With each decision we make to become a gift of self rather than to grasp for use and possession, we become more like Christ and live out more fully the nuptial meaning of the body.

Communion of saints - 1 Cor 12:20, Rev 19, Eph 1:23, CCC 1045,

This eschatological (future state) communion of persons will be a completely new experience, yet it will not be alienated in any way from the original and historical dimension of the procreative meaning of the body and sex. The perennial meaning of the human body will be revealed in an eshcatological splendor when men and women rediscover in their glorified bodies the perfect freedom of the gift. in turn, this freedom will nourish each of the communions that will make up the great community of the communion of saints.

The saints are our models in this process of deification.

Observe how completely they yielded to God's gift of himself and how radically they responded in a reciprocal gift of self to God, whether in the vocation of marriage or of celibacy. As we follow their example, we too, begin to move across the threshold and into the reality of eternal life  - although not fully, until we enter into glory.

CCC 1045 "For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation. ... Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, 'the Holy City of God', the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."
TOB 68.4. We should think of the reality of the 'other world' in the categories of the rediscovery of a new, perfect subjectivity of each person [fulfilment of original solitude] and at the same time of the rediscovery of a new, perfect intersubjectivity of all."


St Paul says our perishable bodies will be raised imperishable. In the resurrection, the dust to which we have returned will be re-quickened by a new fullness of the breath of God, which is the Holy Spirit.


Blessed John Paul II delved into what  the resurrected, glorified state will look like and what role our masculinity and femininity will play in the life to come, especially since procreation will not be part of it.  Our bodies were not only created to be in union with another human person, but also to share in spiritual union with God, which is the ultimate goal of human existence. In this way, the nuptial (spousal or conjugal) meaning of the body is fulfilled in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. In heaven we will be in communion with all of the saints, and all of us together will participate in communion of Persons in the Holy Trinity. "Marriage belongs exclusively to this age. In the resurrection they [marriage and procreation] lose, so to speak, their raison d'etre (reason for existence). According to Christ's words, the resurrection means not only, the re-establishment of human life in its integrity by means of the union of the body with the soul, but also a completely new state of human life itself, human bodies, recovered and at the same time renewed in the resurrection, will keep their masculine or feminine peculiarity. The sense of being a male or a female in the body will be understood in that age in a different way from what it had been from the  beginning"

"In that condition, man, male and female, finds at the same time the fullness of personal donation and of the communion of persons, thanks to the glorification of his entire being [body & soul], in the eternal union with God.


Jesus appeals to the resurrection, thereby revealing a completely new dimension of the mystery of man.

Christ's response to the Sadducees presents a profound development of the truth about man.


"The original and fundamental significance of being a body, as well as being, by reason of the body, male and female that is precisely that nuptial significance is united with the fact that man is created as a person and called to life in communio personarum. Marriage and procreation in itself do not determine definitively the original and fundamental meaning of being a body or of being, as a body, male and female.  Marriage and procreation give a concrete reality to that meaning in the dimensions of history. In other words, earthly marriage is not man's end, but only preparation for the heavenly marriage yet to come.. The nuptial meaning of the body in the resurrection to the future life will correspond perfectly both to the fact that man, as male-female, is a person created in the "image and likeness of God," and to the fact that this image is realized in the communion of persons.


Questions for reflection:


1.             What type of  body will we have after the resurrection of the body? Why is this so?

2.         Are we aware of this truth that we recite in the Creed every Sunday? "I believe in the resurrection of    the body and life everlasting". ( Apostles Creed).

3.         How will our participation in the Communion of Saints be different in heaven, than what we       experience here on earth?

4.         Reflect on why and what is preventing you from experiencing a close relationship with Jesus here on      earth.

5.         What do we understand by the nuptial meaning of the body? Is this only for married people?

6.         Discuss how saints are models of deification?

7.         How was the beatific vision foreshadowed right from the beginning in the union of man and woman?






References :          'Man and Woman He Created them' - John Paul II, , Theology of the Body explained- Christopher West,

                               Men and Women are from Eden - Mary Healy, Catechism of Catholic Church, Lumen Gentium