“Only the nakedness that turns the woman into an ‘object’ for the man, or vice versa, is a source of shame” (TOB 19:1).
Original nakedness was so beautiful because Adam and Eve could truly look at each other and see each other as a whole person. Through looking at each other in their nakedness, they could see the spousal meaning of the body.
The phrase spousal meaning of the body has two major truths which must be understood in order to understand original nakedness:
- Both man and woman are created for their own sake, or with intrinsic value and dignity. This person is someone rather than something.
- Both man and woman are made for self gift.
Both of these truths are confirmed through original nakedness. Adam saw in Eve her innate dignity given by God. He saw that she was meant to be a gift and vice versa. When they looked at each other, they did not just see with their eyes, but rather they looked with their souls (hearts). In fact, it is primarily an experience of the heart.
The fact that this is an experience of the heart is very profound. Fr. Walter Schu says, “What takes place within our hearts reveals the fundamental truths of who we are” (Holy desire pg. 4). Because Adam and Eve looked at each other as with their hearts, they showed that they would not let lust get in the way of their love.
In the same way, we always have the choice to either allow love or lust into our relationships with the opposite sex.
It is important to know that because of the Fall we can never fully go back to our Original State. While we have left that behind, we can still experience the spousal meaning of the body and original nakedness here on this earth if we allow the grace of God into our hearts.
John Climacus, in the Ladder of Divine Ascent, wrote, “Someone, I was told, at the sight of a very beautiful body, felt impelled to glorify the creator.” This can even happen with the naked body. Think about it for a second. God would not allow for sex to be the primary means of reproduction and of love between spouses if they were not capable of looking at each other in the way Adam and Eve did.
We are capable of that look. Of course it can be very difficult, especially with an addiction to pornography and it may take some time to allow Christ to purify your gaze, but it will be so worth it if you let him into the depths of your heart. He will give you the grace to experience what Adam and Eve did in the beginning-a pure unadulterated look of love.
© Tommy Shultz, 2017
I do not claim any rights to the photo used.
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