In the first reading of the Easter Vigil liturgy, we read the story of how God’s life-giving love is revealed through the mystery of creation. Pope Francis, building on the insights of Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, observes that the
sexual difference is present in many forms of life, in the long ladder of living things. But only in man and woman does it bear within it the image and likeness of God … This tells us that not only is man taken by himself the image of God, that not only woman taken by herself is the image of God, but also man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between man and woman is … for communion and procreation, always in the image and likeness of God (April 15, 2015).
Of course, none of this means that God is sexual. The mystery of love and generation in the Trinity is infinitely beyond that of human love and generation. Nonetheless, God created us as male and female and called us to communion as the original and fundamental revelation of his own mystery in the created world. This is what Saint John Paul II meant when he described marriage as the “primordial sacrament”: it is the original, fundamental sign of the divine mystery in the world.
What is that mystery? Here’s the whole Bible in five words: God wants to marry us. And he wanted that mystery to be so plain to us, so obvious to us, that he stamped an image of it right in our bodies by making as male and female and calling the two to be fruitful and multiply in “one flesh.”
Christopher West is a lecturer, best-selling writer and author of multiple audio and video programs which have made him the world’s most recognized teacher of St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” He is founder and president of The Cor Project, a global membership and outreach organization. His latest book is Theology of the Body at the Movies, which can be downloaded for free at www.corproject.com/movies.