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Sharing the Joy of Theology of the Body

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by Rebekah Davidson

Feeling called to start a Theology of the Body magazine for several years, Ann Gundlach was reluctant to move forward because she lacked a theology degree. Her spiritual director helped her recognize the call’s consistency and encouraged Gundlach to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

“This is definitely me saying ‘Yes’ to something the Holy Spirit has put on my heart,” said Gundlach. “God has opened door after door to get me where I am at. It definitely has been an exercise in trust.” Based out of Cincinnati, Gundlach first started a nonprofit publishing group then launched Embodied Magazine in 2021. “Theological reviewers” verify that information shared in Embodied follows the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, who taught the Theology of the Body concept. She hopes that Embodied introduces people to this topic and leads them into more in-depth works on it.

“It’s hard to explain to somebody what Theology of the Body is,” said Gundlach. “Embodied Magazine is telling the stories of people living out Theology of the Body. There’s a giving and receiving in the Holy Trinity. When we choose to love, that’s the giving [and] someone is receiving it. There is grace, fruit and blessings that come from that. Theology of the Body is really how we make God visible in the world by how we live out our lives in our bodies.”

“Theology of the Body is for everyone,” said Gundlach. “We’re striving to have something in every [Embodied] issue for everybody. Theology of the Body lets us live out our faith well, no matter our station in life.’”

“[Theology of the Body] has helped me understand the same scriptures I’ve heard my whole life,” said Gundlach. “All of a sudden, everything from Genesis to Revelation makes sense as a whole. It’s the story of ourselves, our creation and salvation. It starts with the marriage of Adam and Eve, and ends with the marriage in Heaven, of Christ and His Church.”

For 35 years, Gundlach worked for the Couple to Couple League, which teaches natural family planning. She first encountered Theology of the
Body here. Many couples attended classes to fulfill the Church’s marriage preparation requirement, but they often had many questions about what they heard, so to create a better understanding of the subject, course materials became rooted in Theology of the Body.

“Theology of the Body is about complete self-gift,” said Gundlach. “When you put contraception in there, it is no longer a complete self-gift. You’re holding back your fertility [and] a part of yourself.” For a modern-day example of Theology of the Body, Gundlach described how St. Teresa of Calcutta saw Christ in the poor, rather than turning away from them.

“God designed us,” said Gundlach. “God knows what we need… as humans to be happy. Whenever we act in goodness and in love, we are reflecting God, Who is love.”

Those interested can subscribe to Embodied Magazine at www.embodiedmag.org by clicking “subscribe.” The promo code “TELEGRAPH” discounts the printed edition 20%.

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