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Age-old questions explored through ‘Living in 3-D’

Posted By August 8, 2013 | 1:03 pm | Lead Story #2
8-9 Boland picWEB

By Jessica Valera
CFP Correspondent

What does it mean to be human and how do we live it out?
This is the subject that Blessed John Paul II addressed in his series of teachings on theology of the body, according to Deacon James M. Boland, of St. Bernadette’s Parish in Northborough, who held a special presentation on the topic Tuesday afternoon at Immaculate Conception Church attended by abut a dozen people. Deacon Boland was recently ordained a transitional deacon in preparation for the priesthood and is serving his summer seminarian assignment at Immaculate Conception.
“It shows us that there is a call to communion with our creator and a call to communion with one another,” he said “That call to communion exists that he may fill us with his grace and his peace.”
Calling it “Living in 3-D,” Deacon Boland used a simple method of three D’s  to explain the basics of the teachings: Desire, Design, and Destiny.
He acknowledged the longings of the heart that humans have, and that there is a “universal ache” within.
“The question, when it comes to this, is: Can it be filled? Can it be satisfied?” he said.
He explained that although things such as music, art, and movies draw people to “interior movement,” they are not long-lasting. But, he said that there was something more fulfilling.
“The point is that we want to look toward that difference, and what fills our hearts as opposed to what leaves us and moves right on,” he said. “We try and fill our hearts with things of the world. But, try as we might, as we look at the world, no matter who it is, we can’t seem to fill it entirely.”
This desire can be described using the ancient word “eros,” which means “a longing for what is good, true, and beautiful,” according to Deacon Boland.
“The yearning of our heart often points us toward the reality of incompleteness in our lives, and this is where our creation as male and female have something to offer us,” he said. “The need for union resides in body as well as heart.”
He discussed the second “D,” design, and how it foreshadows what is to come. He noted that God is the creator, and he designed the world with purpose, and that humans are given free will to bring about goodness in the world. But, according to Deacon Boland, this freedom is split into two categories, known as absolute freedom and true freedom.
“With absolute freedom we can chose whatever we want, and this is what the world looks at as freedom,” he said. But for true freedom “we have the freedom to live in that ability to chose what is true, good, and beautiful. We don’t have to battle with that because our hearts are already corresponding to what is true, good, and beautiful.”
He then acknowledged that “we have desire in our hearts for another, the desire for something more. And that comes with God in a primary way, but also in a secondary way in the creation of our bodies as male and female, that we are also meant for one another.”
The sacraments of the Church are a “sign of heavenly reality” and give a “glimpse of the reality of what will come in heaven,” Deacon Boland said.
“The reason the Church makes such a big deal about marriage is because in this way, the union of man and woman bringing about a third personified person in love, is a direct image of the holy trinity,” he said. “Blessed John Paul II says ‘The body, and only the body, is capable of making visible that which is invisible, the spiritual, and the divine.’”
The third and final ‘D’ that Deacon Boland discussed was destiny, which he said means that “we are to follow Christ.”
“Christ’s Passion has to be that primary way that we follow,” he said. “That means entering into that relationship with him in prayer, that means going through that invitation he brings us to allow us to be healed.”
He emphasized the healing and transformations that God provides through the sacraments of confession, receiving the Eucharist, and eucharistic adoration. These things, he said, help “draw hearts away from things that are not of God,” but should also be recognized as a life-long work in process.
“It’s going to be a battle, but God wants to draw us closer to himself,” he said. “He wants that personal relationship with us, that is the destiny that we are called to.”
He closed his presentation by explaining the differences between the marriage and the priestly and religious vocations, noting that approximately 414,000 priests and religious serve about 1.2 billion Catholics.
“Marriage is the normative vocation, and that is the normative vocation because it shows that Trinitarian unity that we are ultimately called to,” he said. “But why does a priest go that route? In essence … he begins to enter into that heavenly reality here on earth his entire life, in entering into it here and now.”
Ultimately, he said that priests and religious and married couples witness to each other in their respective vocations.
“The religious vocation is a witness to married people that yes, what you have is very beautiful, but recognize that the fulfillment comes in the greater heavenly reality to come and married people witness to the religious that this is the reality that you are looking toward,” he said. “We look toward this ultimate communion with God because this is our destiny.”