I have spoken in great depth about the innate beauty and meaning of the human body—the body of man and the body of woman—and about the profound “word” of love and intimacy that this body speaks. This has been true throughout this entire book, but in particular in the latter sections of Part II and all of Part III, in which I have spoken deeply and yet with immense reverence about the God-designed meaning of the sexual embrace between husband and wife, and about how this is lived with transparency in marriage, as well as how it is super-fulfilled in a mysterious and yet even more transparent way in the life of virginity. I have spoken of how the marital embrace seals and incarnates the mutual self-giving of man and woman—a self-giving that is inherently personal and virginal, and precisely thus is fully spousal, and which seeks also to be incarnate within the body, or rather, to take the body fully up into itself.
Indeed, this has been an essential dimension of the whole movement that these reflections have been seeking to facilitate: the coming together of body and spirit, which have been fractured by sin, into a harmony and unity of self-giving once again, a self-giving rooted in the realm of the spirit, in the attunement of persons to one another on the level of the heart, and yet taking up the whole of concrete, bodily existence, woven together as a single fabric with the inner life of the spirit. And yet this harmony of body and spirit is oriented towards, not a merely isolated perfection, but rather towards the fullness of loving relationship, in the nakedness of reciprocal self-giving bathed in the reverence of sheltering and affirming love. But, indeed, we must go even further: this reciprocal self-giving—in body and spirit—between man and woman can only be healed and restored to its true integrity and beauty by being permeated with the sanctifying and transfiguring presence of the Holy Trinity.
And in this movement by which God is invited into the very heart of human love, true intimacy is made possible anew, a true, total, and lasting intimacy between man and woman, who are restored by redeeming grace to the purity of love that was lost because of the fall of Adam and Eve. Yes, and this “incarnation” of God’s presence—of the very self-giving and intimacy of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—within the self-giving of human persons who love one another in the sight of God, also leads to a “transfiguration,” a lifting up of human love to take its place, and to find its consummation, in the very heart of God. For this, after all, is where man and woman—where all persons in the whole of creation—have been meant to rest and dance and play eternally: within the innermost life and love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We have seen, therefore, how the body cries out to be integrated with the spirit, and how both cry out to make contact with another person in intimate love, in the joy of intimacy in total mutual belonging. And yet even more deeply, even more centrally, we have seen how human persons themselves ceaselessly cry out to find their definitive home in the shelter of the Trinity’s embrace. Yet in our world we find ourselves—wounded as we are by sin and yet still beautiful in the eyes of God, hurt by so many things and yet redeemed by Christ—we find ourselves at the heart of this movement of interchange. We find ourselves at the heart of this movement of incarnation and transfiguration. We stand at the place where God ceaselessly seeks to pour out his presence into human life and love, into the rich relationships of human persons in every aspect of their life, even into the very nature of their bodies designed to manifest and make visible this living reality of love. And yet we stand also at the place where humanity, fractured and divided because of sin, in being touched by this descending and outpouring grace of the Trinity present in Christ, is healed and transfigured, lifted up from slavery to the fallen flesh and to concupiscence, and is drawn ever deeper into the innermost heart of the divine life.
Here, and here alone, in the sheltering embrace of the Trinity, in their ceaseless dance of reverence and tenderness and affirming love, do we find our hearts and our bodies restored to their true integrity; here we find our whole being dilating on a living contact with the fullness of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth—with the Love that is the Origin and Consummation of all things. Yes, here we encounter one another—beloved children of a single Father, each of us drawn into a spousal relationship with the Bridegroom Christ—and we are united in an intimacy that in its fullness, transparency, and indissolubility, is only possible within the very intimacy of God. For here all human relationships are lifted up, healed, and restored within the very embrace of the Trinity. Here the whole of creation is made new, made transparent, in its every fiber, to the very life and love of the divine Persons.
This is the consummation that awaits us at the end of time, and which, through the powers of Redemption flowing from the opened Heart of Christ and that of his Virgin Bride and Mother, we can already live in anticipation—as a real sharing-already—even in the shadows and imperfections of this life. In this consummation there will occur the final transfiguration of our very bodies, in which body and spirit will be harmonized fully once again, and the two will exist in perfect unity with one another. Then the spirit will be manifest perfectly in and through the body, without any division between them, and both will be utterly open in loving relationship before God and every person. We will be utterly integrated within ourselves through being utterly open to receive love and to give it, at the very heart of a concrete and incarnate existence permeated by the intimacy and love of the Trinity.
Yes, here is the consummation that awaits us, a consummation that is not sexual but virginal, not rooted in nature but rather rooted in the very heart of God. After all, marital and sexual love in this world is but an “image,” a sign and sacrament, of a Reality greater than itself. It is a “distillation” of the great Mystery that alone gives it meaning, even while shining its light into its interior essence. Yes, and on the other hand, the “image” of marital love impels our hearts beyond themselves—and even beyond one another, while never leaving one another behind—into the direct and unmediated embrace of God. Here, in God alone, is the consummation that is a virginal intercourse of reciprocal self-giving in which “I” and “you” live in one another in a deep mutual indwelling, in a true intersubjectivity by which two persons come to live in a single “we” of most blessed intimacy—in a living participation in the intimacy of the “I” and “You” and “We” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For it is only here, only here in the realm that surpasses sexuality as we now know it—in the virginal realm of complete permeation by the virginal intimacy of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—that the very meaning of our complementarity as man and woman will find its full flourishing and consummation. Yes, and it will find its fulfillment, not first of all in the relationship of human persons with one another, but in the primal relationship of each person with God himself, in the innermost virginal core of our being created for him alone. For only he, after all, can fulfill the boundless aspirations and longings of our hearts, which he fashioned for himself.
He wants to be our true Spouse, our everlasting Joy, our All… He is the One who takes up all the fibers of our being and weaves them together within his own love. He is the One who fulfills every desire, who consummates every hope, who takes up into the perfect and everlasting intimacy of his own sheltering embrace all that we are, and cradles us here unceasingly as he tenderly kisses us with the sweetness of his virginal love. And through this kiss of love, we inhale the undying breath of his Spirit, we are permeated by the eternal respiration of divine love. Through this embrace of definitive consummation, we welcome the very gift of his being into us, and let this awesome gift, touching us in our innermost being, unseal our reciprocal surrender back to him. Yes, and in this mutual self-giving, in this love and vulnerable self-donation, we are made one. We are made one in love and mutual belonging. We are made one with the Three who have created us to participate eternally in the innermost mystery of their own life of intimacy and joy.
And here we forever rejoice. Here we forever rejoice, cradled in the heart of the embrace of the Father and the Son, in the very space where the breath of their Spirit passes through us, vibrating our whole being with delight, within the eternal dance of the Trinity’s perfect love and everlasting intimacy.