Six years ago I embarked on the adventure of writing a Theology of the Body curriculum that could be taught during all four years of high school. At the time, I naively thought it could be completed within a year or two.
After spending six months researching and preparing to write, the lesson creation began. At times the project felt like the task that would never end. It’s one thing to imagine incorporating the fruit of St. John Paul II’s pontificate into eight semesters of high school religion classes, and quite another to do the research and face the challenge of writer’s block.
On July 25, I submitted my 64th and final lesson for editing. Ending on that particular day wasn’t in the plan, but it was an especially fitting time to conclude the writing of Called to be More. Many people are aware that July 25, 2018 was the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Bl. Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. In many ways, Theology of the Body was given by St. John Paul II to provide an anthropological foundation for the encyclical.
More personally, July 25, 2002 was the day in which I stood along a fence in Toronto, Canada, awaiting the arrival of St. John Paul II for his final World Youth Day. When he drove past in the popemobile, he was only a few feet away, and he looked right at me. I have long attributed the experience of seeing him and hearing him in person that week, especially at the closing papal Mass, with the call to share the fruit of his life and pontificate through the written and spoken word for the last 16 years.
Completing the writing of Called to be More on the anniversary of the day I stood only feet away from St. John Paul II was a powerful confirmation to me that God has been present during this project all along and will continue to be as the seeds are planted in the hearts of young men and women learning about who they are created to be.
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