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 Post subject: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:17 pm 
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The phrase “total self-gift” gets used often in describing the martial act, especially in our age of theology of the body/personalism. I have seen this phrase criticized because one should not make themselves a “total self-gift” to other, but to God alone. Your neighbor, or in this case your spouse, is loved to lesser degree. To give oneself “totally” would exclude any other.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:45 pm 
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I think several distinctions are in order.

First, how is it that we give ourselves to God? Scripture is clear that if we say we love God but hate the brethren, then we lie about loving God. And true religion, of course, is to serve, especially those who need it the most. So I would say we love God or give ourselves to Him precisely insofar as we give ourselves to others. Christ is, of course, the best example of that. He gave Himself completely up for us, and in doing so, gave Himself totally over to God.

Second, the question seems to want to presume some sort of division of time or resources insofar as it requires a limited amount of myself to give. And in one sense, that is perfectly true. But taken that way, to give ourselves totally to God would mean that we have no time or resources left for anyone at all, not even our families, and that strikes me as obviously not true and not what God wants. So there must be a sense in which we give ourselves to others that doesn't have to do with time or resources.

Third, specifically with reference to the marital act, I would posit that giving ourselves "totally" doesn't refer to every aspect of ourselves (i.e., our finances, our bodies, our emotions, our time, etc.), but rather has to do with the act itself--that we deny nothing of ourselves in the act to the other. So if a man wears a condom or a woman is taking a pill (to contraceptive ends), then you really are denying an essential part of yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:09 pm 
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I do not think giving ourselves to others equates to fully giving ourselves to God. If I spend all my time in charitable works, but never give God due worship to Him via prayer and the Holy Sacrifice, then I will be damned.

Your second point is true. Hence, we should drop the language of “total self-gift” because it is horribly inaccurate.

To your third point: it appears that some of those who use this phrase go beyond the martial act and encompass the whole person.

If it was worded something like, “the spouse gives himself to His wife without any reservation in both the martial act and in living out the sacramental marriage, etc…” would be less problematic and more accurate. Or maybe, “the husband should be dedicated to his wife all marriage duties through in a full and total way…” This would confine it to what his responsibilities are in a marriage. Giving the whole person in their totality to the other excludes any other. And if this is merely up to interpretation, then why not simply make the phrase more accurate?

I really find all of this as simply a result of phenomenology meeting Catholicism and degrading theological language.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:04 am 
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"Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things."

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:47 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
"Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things."


Bible interpretation starting with "Well actually" starting in 3....2....1... ::):


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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:01 pm 
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Now that I think about it, perhaps I need to go to the potential source of all of this; Wojtylism, as found in JPII's earlier works on marriage.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:29 am 
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Is there any real confusion here, or just the muddying of the waters by those who want to complicate the obvious?

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:46 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
Is there any real confusion here, or just the muddying of the waters by those who want to complicate the obvious?


This is not about confusion so much, at least for the us in this forum. Rather this is an analysis of theological language, which has been muddied and imprecise since the revolutions of the 20th century. In this thread, it’s entirely known what the context of the statement means. What I am trying to point out/get input is that such terms do not appear to have proper precision.

What should be accomplished in Catholic theology and in documents of the Church is precision and clarity. The result of good theology are distinctions, terms, and definitions that mean something very specifically, instead of ambiguous and flowery language.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:08 pm 
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I see nothing ambiguous nor "flowery" here.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:25 pm 
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If a person is supposed to give themselves “totally,” both physical and personally, then this would exclude God. So, instead of praying at night before bed, I should give my wife a massage. Instead of going to Mass on Sunday, I should take my wife out to breakfast. Instead of educating my children, I should spend time with my wife.

If I put God first, as I should, then that is not giving to my wife in a total fashion both physically and personally.

Instead, "total self-gift" it is just something that sounds nice and romantic, but looking at it theologically (i.e. with reality in relation to God), it is not possible.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:02 pm 
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How would you refute the following:
Quote:
If a wife is supposed to be subject to their husbands in all things as the church is subject to Christ, both physical and personally, then this would exclude God.... "Being subject to man as though to God" is just something that sounds nice and romantic, but looking at it theologically, it is not possible.

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"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:55 pm 
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Alexandros wrote:
If a person is supposed to give themselves “totally,” both physical and personally, then this would exclude God. So, instead of praying at night before bed, I should give my wife a massage. Instead of going to Mass on Sunday, I should take my wife out to breakfast. Instead of educating my children, I should spend time with my wife.

If I put God first, as I should, then that is not giving to my wife in a total fashion both physically and personally.

Instead, "total self-gift" it is just something that sounds nice and romantic, but looking at it theologically (i.e. with reality in relation to God), it is not possible.



This is nonsense, no one would interpret the teaching of the Church to give yourself so exclusively to another so as to the exclusion of God, save for an idiot, and we don't need to cater to such folks...Seriously, giving yourself "totally" to your spouse simply means to not withhold something selfishly for yourself, context is the key here, just like w/the interpretation of scripture.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:11 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
How would you refute the following:
Quote:
If a wife is supposed to be subject to their husbands in all things as the church is subject to Christ, both physical and personally, then this would exclude God.... "Being subject to man as though to God" is just something that sounds nice and romantic, but looking at it theologically, it is not possible.



This makes no sense as two sentence previous St. Paul explains that wives should obey God. Please explain how one can give himself totally to his wife physically and personally.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:22 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
Alexandros wrote:
If a person is supposed to give themselves “totally,” both physical and personally, then this would exclude God. So, instead of praying at night before bed, I should give my wife a massage. Instead of going to Mass on Sunday, I should take my wife out to breakfast. Instead of educating my children, I should spend time with my wife.

If I put God first, as I should, then that is not giving to my wife in a total fashion both physically and personally.

Instead, "total self-gift" it is just something that sounds nice and romantic, but looking at it theologically (i.e. with reality in relation to God), it is not possible.



This is nonsense, no one would interpret the teaching of the Church to give yourself so exclusively to another so as to the exclusion of God, save for an idiot, and we don't need to cater to such folks...


Once again, I am not talking about anyone getting confused. I am talking about a certain phrase, which is a part of the bigger picture. I am honing in on the phrase in to better understand it. Again: I am not arguing someone is confused. I am not arguing that this phrase alone is causing issues. I am focusing on this phrase because it is a part of a bigger theological structure of language and presentation, which as a whole is problematic.


Quote:
Seriously, giving yourself "totally" to your spouse simply means to not withhold something selfishly for yourself, context is the key here, just like w/the interpretation of scripture.


So "total" does not mean "total?" It is one thing to not withhold, it is an entirely different thing to give totally. One can only give themselves totally to God as He is the only being that can incorporate a person totally into Himself. I cannot do this with my wife. So, my point all along: drop the word "total."

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:26 pm 
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Good luck on your quest...

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:41 am 
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Sabbath wrote:
Good luck on your quest...

Thread winner.

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 am 
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Alexandros wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
How would you refute the following:
Quote:
If a wife is supposed to be subject to their husbands in all things as the church is subject to Christ, both physical and personally, then this would exclude God.... "Being subject to man as though to God" is just something that sounds nice and romantic, but looking at it theologically, it is not possible.



This makes no sense as two sentence previous St. Paul explains that wives should obey God. Please explain how one can give himself totally to his wife physically and personally.

Have you tried reading the phrase in a way that it is strongly tied to the context?

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"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:58 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Have you tried reading the phrase in a way that it is strongly tied to the context?



Yes, of course. And “total” should be dropped. There is no need for it, and it makes no sense.

Several points here:

First, consider the religious life and the married life. Religious life is objectively superior. Why? Because the religious has consecrated themselves to God. In the married life, if one can give totally to spouse and by extension God, then the religious life would not be objectively superior. Hence, in married life, one cannot possibly be a “total self-gift.”

Second, the Scripture is clear where we must love God with our whole heart and being, and then our neighbor as ourselves. We love others as ourselves, because God is our primary object of love, because we cannot love ourselves more than God.

St. Paul states that a married man’s heart is divided between God and his spouse. Pope Pius XII states:

Quote:
From our Lord's words referred to above, it has already been implied that this complete renunciation of marriage frees men from its grave duties and obligations. Writing by divine inspiration, the Apostle of the Gentiles proposes the reason for this freedom in these words: "And I would have you to be without solicitude. . . But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided."[36] Here however it must be noted that the Apostle is not reproving men because they are concerned about their wives, nor does he reprehend wives because they seek to please their husbands; rather is he asserting clearly that their hearts are divided between love of God and love of their spouse, and beset by gnawing cares, and so by reason of the duties of their married state they can hardly be free to contemplate the divine.


http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/e ... nitas.html


Hence, if a man can be divided (not in a bad sense), then he cannot give himself “totally” to his spouse.


Finally, in the context of receiving the gift - how am I supposed to receive my wife’s physical and personal self in total? How? That is not possible, because I am not God. I cannot take possession of my spouse in her totality, rather, I can only take possession of her under my limited capabilities. However, since God has total supreme authority and dominion, only he can take possession of someone (as receiving a gift) in “total.”

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:32 pm 
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I get what you are saying, but since there is no confusion on this issue, why is it so important to change it?

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 Post subject: Re: "Total Self-Gift"
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
I get what you are saying, but since there is no confusion on this issue, why is it so important to change it?


It a part of the larger picture, a key component in muddying of the waters.


Here some possible items:

Concupiscence is generally not considered as well as the desire for the other in the martial act, even if not sinful. There is probably a lot of couples who are under concupiscence, or rather, they have not yet overcome this. If there is a total self-gift then where does physical desire or even the provocation of the lower passion fall into this? It does not seem feasible to be a “total self-gift” if there is a component of physical desire; e.g. the husband, while wishing pleasure for his wife, in the context of being open to life, simultaneously desires to obtain pleasure of the act as well. This is not a total self-gift as there is always an element of desire. Part of the secondary purpose of marriage (or sometimes the tetrarchy purpose) is the relief of concupiscence. Unless there is some kind of evidence that the majority of couples in a sacramental marriage never have a wish for sexual pleasure for themselves, I am not sure how “total self-gift” makes much sense. Result: there is less talk about the relief of concupiscence as a proper end of marriage.


Further, it can sometimes be derived from recent documents that the primary goal of the family is procreation, albeit its sometimes ambiguous. This truth of this has deteriorated over the course of the last half century, this is due in part to the mudding of waters, but I would also say due to the over personalization of the conjugal act. The “total self-gift” is paralleled with Christ’s total-self-sacrifice on the cross. The couple, therefore, in giving themselves “total” in a personal and physical sense are told they achieve a level of love and intimacy that reflects sacrificial agape love to its highest decree, e.g. the loss of life. This point is pushed rather hard, and the wonderful effects of the primary end, procreation, are unintentionally moved to the backburner.


Conjugal love then becomes the all-encompassing reason for marriage. And within this all-encompassing reason procreation is deemed to be “fundamental,” “the crown,” or “the fruit.” Whereas, in Catholic teaching, procreation is primary and conjugal love and mutual help of the spouse is secondary and is subject to procreation, i.e. conjugal love serves procreation. Present day books, talks, lectures, articles, etc. on marriage appear to be about man and women, joined together, self-gift etc. Procreation, the primary end, is relegated to a status of lesser importance, equal value, or the most important aspect in serving conjugal love as being it's main fruit. Everything is now built about a foundation of total self-gift of conjugal love. From there, everything else is linked to it, including procreation. This is upside down. Marriage should be built upon the foundation of procreation, where conjugal loves serves procreation as subordinate to it.


There is also the error of “mutual submission” between husband and wife. Total self-gift would entail the entire personal and physical aspects of the person. Hence, the argument for the mutual submission of husband and wife, since they give themselves to each other in total. This is false, as the wife is submissive to the husband and the husband has authority over his wife. Total self-gift would entail the husband submitting to the wife also – but that is not possible because of the natural order. Hence, this may be why several key figures who promote “total self-gift” also hold to the error of “mutual submission.”

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